Monday, February 9, 2015

The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd [Review]

The Madman's Daughter (The Madman's Daughter, #1)4 out of 5 Robots!

The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

Series: The Madman's Daughter #1
Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Thriller/Horror
Release: January 29, 2013
Hardcover:  420 Pages
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
My Copy: Publisher
Reviewer: Shannon

Book Summary:
Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father's gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.

Accompanied by her father's handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father's madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island's inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father's dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it's too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father's genius—and madness—in her own blood.

Inspired by H. G. Wells's classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman's Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we'll do anything to know and the truths we'll go to any lengths to protect.

(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Shannon's Thoughts:
This is another book that's been sitting on my TBR for far too long...especially considering I now also have the sequels in my possession.  Time to break the spine, if you will.  I haven't read The Island of Doctor Moreau, so I did what any respectable person does and looked it up on Wikipedia.  From what I can tell, Megan Shepherd does a good job of keeping the bulk of the original story and reworking it to fit her story.  And I really liked it - with the exception of one major part and one minor one.  Here is what worked and didn't work for me:

Here is what I liked:
**The writing!  I love it when I read a book and the tone of the book matches the era it is written in.  It really helps set time and place.  And I thought Shepherd did a great job with that.  

**I loved how creepy and disturbing it was (except for the big exception - see below).  There was a lot of tension and a sense of foreboding throughout.  The tension really held too through the story.  I was impressed with that.

**I also really liked Juliet as a protagonist.  She was a strong character, but also vulnerable at the same time.  She kept her own mind, but desperately wanted her father's love and approval.  It clouded her judgment sometimes, but she also had enough presence of mind to see her father for what he truly was.

**I also liked Montgomery and Edward quite a lot.  They were both complicated characters with dubious backgrounds.  But they both wanted to do right by Juliet and I appreciated that Shepherd didn't try to make either one into a perfect savior.

Here is what I didn't like:
**There were only two things that I disliked. One minor and one major.  The minor one was the love triangle.  I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either.  I think the story could have been done just as well with one of the guys just being a friend of Juliet's instead of a love interest.  But again, it didn't really bother me.  It was more like, was it necessary?  And it just seems so...expected.  Cliched.

**Now for the major part:  There are some very disturbing scenes involving animals.  This book is not for the faint at heart where animals are concerned.  Some of it is pretty cruel and creates pretty horrifying imagery.  I'm serious.  If you can't read a book involving animal cruelty, I would steer you away from this book.  The worst of it comes within the first couple chapters.  I'm not sure I'm fully recovered.  I almost DNF'd at that point.  To get through it I had to do the mental equivalent of sticking my fingers in my ears and going "la la la la" to get through it.  But, in defense of the author, I know the animal cruelty plays a large part in the original book and so it was necessary to show just how depraved Dr. Moreau and his work really was.  But again, not for the faint at heart.

Overall, I really liked the book and most of the elements.  It veered more towards horror than I expected and the animal bits were hard to take, but I still think it was an interesting retelling and one worth reading.  

*This review is dedicated to all the rabbits who gave their lives in The Madman's Daughter

Other Books in the Series:
1. The Madman's Daughter
2. Her Dark Curiosity
3. A Cold Legacy

Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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