August 5, 2014
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When Dan and his friends meet Cal in Sanctum their impression of the privileged New Hampshire College student is less than stellar. But Cal wasn't always the cold, sarcastic guy he is now. In this digital original story preceding the events of Sanctum, we meet Cal when he is experiencing college like any other kid with a group of close friends and a dad who piles on the pressure. Only, when the pressure starts getting to him and Cal accepts an invitation to meet a selective group of students and alumni known only as the Scarlets, the course of Cal's life changes forever. And the price of joining the Scarlets might be higher than he can pay.
With plenty of twists, turns, and thrills, The Scarlets is an exhilarating installment in the Asylum series that can stand on its own for new readers or provide a missing piece of the puzzle for series fans.
I should preface this review by saying that several Goodreads reviews indicate that reading The Scarlets prior to reading Asylum Book 2, Sanctum will spoil you for Sanctum. I have not read Sanctum so I can't say for sure if that's true but it does seem likely.
Reading The Scarlets I couldn't tell how Cal, his life and the other characters fit in with the world of Asylum. (My Nook was weird and opened The Scarlets - on the epigraph page - when I'd clicked another title, so I hadn't yet read the synopsis.) It was set at the New Hampshire College where Dan and the other characters attended their summer program, but the characters themselves did not overlap with Asylum.
Cal is a character in Sanctum and The Scarlets gives us some of his background, letting us know how he became the way he is in Sanctum.
Ignoring any possible spoilers, The Scarlets is an enjoyable read. Cal is a character who you don't exactly like, yet he is still a sympathetic character. He makes a lot of not so great choices, but we see some of what drives him to those choices. His father's expectations and beliefs are more than Cal needs or wants and we see how Cal reacts.
While I do hate that some of Sanctum might be spoiled for me (I do hate when the series numbering of novellas indicates they're between the first and second books, but really should be read later), what transpired in The Scarlets has me intrigued and anxious to read Sanctum.
If you have read Sanctum, I would recommend The Scarlets, if you have not yet read it, wait to do so - unless you like spoilers!