When the world is breaking all someone wants is safety. A virus that had once been contained has returned, and soon no place will be left untouched by its destruction. But when eighteen-year-old 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.
Don't let the word “Dollhouse” fool you into thinking this a fluffy girly book. It is a raw, mysterious, thriller and I loved every minute of it. While the world is attacked by a deadly virus, Cheyenne has been swept away into the safety of Elysian Fields; a place that her love interest, Teo, has built for them. She is there with seven other couples and immediately has to pass a test to prove her worthiness. She quickly realizes that this sanctuary isn’t a sanctuary after all, and it may prove to be more deadly than the virus they have been trying to avoid.
The teens are paired off and given new identities, all of whom are famous literary couples. They are given the task of throwing a party and acting out a famous scene as the couples. If they pass, they stay, if they fail they die. Teo is unpredictable, even a minor slip will end in a failure.
Gray does a fantastic job at world building, it’s clear, concise and very descriptive. Elysian Fields is both idealistic and terrifying at the same time. While there are a lot of sub-characters, she makes them all interesting and you’ll find yourself getting attached to them. I give Dollhouse Asylum 4.5 donuts out of 5 donuts.