Thursday, February 28, 2013

Review: The Madman's Daughter

The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd
Release: January 29, 2013
Source: e-ARC from publisher 

In the darkest places, even love is deadly.

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.

The Madman's Daughter was one of my most anticipated reads of 2013. I love books with historical settings, I love gothic novels, and I love books that are a little on the dark sides. This delivered on those aspects, most definitely. It's an adaptation of "The Island of Dr. Moreau", and follows the story of Juliet Moreau. Her mother has died, her father has left and been condemned as a madman. In a series of events, though, Juliet discovers her father's location and travels to the remote island where he is practicing his science. What and how he does his work is best left a mystery, but I will say that is extremely creepy. And disturbing. As Juliet uncovers the depths of her father's madness, she begins to question her own sanity and the value of life.

As far as characters go, I found Juliet to be admirable and strong-willed. She refuses to be looked down upon, even as she questions her own sanity. She is fierce, determined, and just a very well developed character. It's probably best to say that, yes, this book as a love triangle although it's rather...complicated as the story reaches the end. This romantic aspect, though, hurt the story more than it did help. Juliet falls for her lifelong friend, Montgomery, and a man they take on the ship as they're traveling to her father's remote island. His name is Edward. No Joke, there's "romance" going on like one day after they met. Not okay in my book. I can understand her attraction/sentimentality towards Montgomery. He brings up old memories and a time when life was good. But both of them have changed, and it's not believable for her to so suddenly fall for him too.

The pacing and writing were great, though. By the time I hit the halfway mark, things were definitely on a roll. One thing after another was revealed, which left my head spinning. I admire Shepherd for throwing in some twists and turns I didn't expect. Especially the ending! I really wanted to throw my kindle by the end, because it just...GAH. Can you sense my frustration?

Despite the issues I had with the romance, I was still able to read and enjoy this book. I'm hoping the following installments will help make the romance more believable, and I hope that they'll be just as twisty/thrilling as the first.


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