08 diciembre 2018

Review: The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls

"An unprecedented Gothic mythology."
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Although I've been a Plague Rat since I discovered his music for the first time, I had not been able to read Emilie Autumn until this year, when she released the fourth edition of The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls, her semi-autobiographical dark fantasy novel and drama with strong doses of sarcasm and reflections on mental health. To say that I am in love is little.
The novel in question presents us to Emilie Autumn herself, who is admitted to a psychiatric asylum after a suicide attempt, although the treatments and personnel she finds there only alter her already unstable nerves. Ironically, she establishes a strange connection with Emily, a Victorian-era girl who is forced into a much more sinister asylum, more like a massive torture chamber than a resting place.
The protagonists of The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls will try to survive the treatments to which they are subjected by their abusive doctors, each from their own era and with their own weapons: The contemporary with her diary and red crayon, and the Victorian with spoons and a legion of rats. The surprising thing's not only the twisted fantasy that surrounds everything, but the painful dose of reality contained in the pages of story.
Emilie Autumn created a whole macabre universe around this tragic episode in her life, but which, ironically, offers a hopeful message to all readers. The reflections that both girls make go hand in hand with the plot, add texture and body, although without forgetting the details that make this a unique novel, much more if we talk about the fourth edition.

"This time, is more than a book"
This time, The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls is more than a book. Its creator has devised a treasure hunt which clues are in the novel itself, and the digital edition offers readers the possibility to listen to both well-known songs, Autumn classics, and new ones, composed for the same book. As if that were not enough, the story's being adapted to a musical, following which Behind the Musical appears, the singer's most recent album, not to mention a film also based on the book, both projects in charge, naturally, of Emilie Autumn.
One would wonder if there really is enough material to explore in so many formats, and the truth is that, after reading the novel, the answer is a resounding yes. The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls has become a precious jewel for those who know it, an unprecedented Gothic mythology and whose characters remain breathing with readers.
I do have to say that I would have liked to discover more about the infamous Doctor Stockill and his past, it is the only detail that remains to be revealed in the novel even though it's highly feminist and the focus falls on Emilie, Emily and the patients of their respective asylums. However, I'm a confessed addict to the art of Emilie Autumn, so this might not be the most objective of the reviews (no shit, Sherlock.)
The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls is definitely one of my favorite readings, and I cannot wait to buy a physical copy of this new fourth edition and one of the emblematic previous editions, in which there's no single blank page. Come on, it only takes watching the photos on the internet to realize it is a work of art. W19H loves you, Emilie W14A!

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