Review: The Dollhouse Asylum by Mary Gray

October 21, 2013 2 - 2.5 Stars, Bad Love Triangle, Cults, Horrible Heroines, Mary Gray 9 ★★

The Dollhouse Asylum by Mary Gray
on October 22, 2013
Genres: Dystopia, YA
Pages: 296
Format: ARC
Source: ARC
A virus that had once been contained has returned, and soon no place will be left untouched by its destruction. But when Cheyenne wakes up in Elysian Fields--a subdivision cut off from the world and its monster-creating virus--she is thrilled to have a chance at survival.

At first, Elysian Fields,with its beautiful houses and manicured lawns, is perfect. Teo Richardson, the older man who stole Cheyenne's heart, built it so they could be together. But when Teo tells Cheyenne there are tests that she and seven other couples must pass to be worthy of salvation, Cheyenne begins to question the perfection of his world.

The people they were before are gone. Cheyenne is now "Persephone," and each couple has been re-named to reflect the most tragic romances ever told. Everyone is fighting to pass the test, to remain in Elysian Fields. Teo dresses them up, tells them when to move and how to act, and in order to pass the test, they must play along.

If they play it right, then they'll be safe.

But if they play it wrong, they'll die.
My Take:
The Dollhouse Asylum features one of the worst love triangles imaginable: a girl who is spineless, insipid, and subservient; a guy who is a murderous, raving lunatic; and another guy who is only notable because he is the lunatic’s brother.  If those were my only choices, I might hope for the disease called the Living Rot, to take me instead.The events of The Dollhouse Asylum are so out there that I kept waiting for Cheyenne, the protagonist, to wake up and declare it all a mere nightmare.  Instead, Cheyenne mostly sits back and waits for kisses from her absolutely insane and absolutely abominable boyfriend, Teo, while madness swirls around her.The Living Rot is a (fantastically-named) disease that had supposedly been eradicated.  When it returns, Teo brings Cheyenne and fourteen other people to a disease-free community called Elysian Fields.  He tells them that he has a vaccine, but to obtain it, the residents must impersonate famous couples – some fictional, some real.  If they portray these couple accurately, they will be rewarded with the vaccine.  If not, they will be killed.  I’ll pause here while you try to absorb this, because I’m still not sure I understand…
……….OK, I’m back.  Of course, the first question is, why did these people tolerate Teo’s madness?  Even after he murdered several of them, the survivors still obeyed his orders.  This wasn’t a situation where they were born into a cult and indoctrinated into its bizarre ways.  Instead, they were plucked out of their normal lives and told, “Make me believe you’re Romeo and Juliet, or you die.”  It was never adequately explained how Teo was able to wield such power over them, and that was one of the biggest failings of the book.

The other major failing was the love triangle between Cheyenne, Teo, and Marcus, Teo’s brother.  I think Teo was supposed to be a sexy, dangerous type, a la The Darkling, but he was simply abhorrent.  He reveals his madness very early on, but Cheyenne continues to swoon over him.  She’s convinced he’s merely misguided, even after he murders several people and threatens her own life.  Her stupidity made it impossible for me to have an ounce of sympathy for her.  As for Teo, what exactly was it that drew him to Cheyenne?  Perhaps he was attracted to her gullibility, but this is another aspect of the story that didn’t make any sense.  The third side of this twisted love triangle is Teo’s brother, Marcus.  He’s as dim-witted as Cheyenne, but at least he wasn’t trying to murder her; I suppose that’s a point in his favor.

I’ll leave you with this quote from Cheyenne: “Am I really one of those girls who needs to have a boy?”  If you have to ask yourself that as you continue to happily make out with a guy after watching him murder people, the answer might be, “YES.”

Note – I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review posted at Goodreads.


9 Responses to “Review: The Dollhouse Asylum by Mary Gray”

  1. Christie, the Undead Reader

    I originally wanted to read this since the cover was gorgeous and the synopsis sounded really interesting. Now that you mentioned that “worst love triangle imaginable”, I might steer clear of this one. I’m not a fan of the stupid heroine + the dark hero. I’m surprised you still gave this book 2 stars, LOL.

    Christie @ Read by the Undead

  2. Richa Parande

    I was looking forward to this one since the cover and synopsis intrigued me, but now I’m thinking not so much 😛
    From your review, I can already tell that nothing really appeals to me. I think I may pass on this one. Thanks for the honest review!

    Richa @ City of Books

  3. simonet hodges

    I really wanted to read this but by how you described it I would be really pissed at this book. I hate “spineless” characters. Thanks for the review.

  4. Michelle

    Yeee this sounds nuts!! When I first read the synopsis I was really confused… A virus and then a paradise with a psycho… And the girl likes the psycho??? I thought maybe it was so insane that it would end up being good. I can see that is not the case. That line about being one of those girls sealed it for me 🙁

  5. Kim

    Wow, wow, wow … that last bit about happily making out with a guy after her murdered people? Yikes. This sounds fantastical in a way I might be able to grasp. Great review, Stephanie

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