Book Review: The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd

12291438Title and Author: The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd

Publisher: Balzer & Bray

Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Gothic, Mystery

Publication Date: January 29, 2013

Pages: 432 pages

Source: ARC tour

Kid-rating: Would my 13 year old boys like this? Probably not, probably too much kissing (and talking about kissing and about love and mushy stuff). They might like the horror bits, but I think it would probably move too slow for them. How about my 13 year old nieces? Hmmm. I think they might be a little too grossed out by the horror parts of this right now. Maybe in a few years.

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


(from GoodReads)
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.(

My review

There was a lot to love about this dark, creepy tale. As with other books that I’ve had on my “high-expectations” list, I was a little leery to start this one, but thankfully, the ice/fog day we had on Monday gave me the perfect opportunity to read this in one fell-swoop and it was a great read.

And by “great,” I mean very twisted and weird and scary. It’s no surprise that this is based on The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells, and I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that our main character’s father, Dr. Moreau, himself, is involved in some pretty horrifying science experiments involving animals and humans.

The choice to tell this story from the perspective of an imagined daughter (Juliet) who was abandoned by her father (and whose mother has since died), was an interesting one. She is very compelling, a young woman who is brighter and more capable than anyone will allow her to be. She does spend a little more time being dense than I would have liked, and not asking question sooner about some things that seemed to need questioning.

I was as surprised as she was, though, by the twists and turns her story takes.

The love triangle was a little overdone, in my opinion. That might just be me projecting, though, because I’m getting kind of tired of angsty love triangles. Books don’t always need triangles to hold my interest.

The cliffhanger-y ending of this didn’t bug me the way some of these 1st-book-in-a-trilogy tend to. Maybe because I actually figured out what was happening about 2 pages before Juilet did, which actually made the actual ending even more wrenching for me on her behalf.

This is a very excellent debut, and I will definitely be waiting for the rest of this story.

Also, I have to mention: I seriously hope all of the book covers are as gorgeous as this one. Love it. 🙂

(I read this as an ARC as part of an ARC tour. I will be mailing this book on to the next person in the tour just as soon as the weather allows me to actually leave my house. Also, the post office is now closed for the day).

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