Author: Megan Sheperd
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-fi, Mystery
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In the darkest places, even love is deadly.Review by Nara
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 basement hallways in King's College of Medical Research were dark, even in the daytime.
At night they were like a grave.
Woah, creeeeepy. From the very first lines of the Madman's Daughter (and blurb), it's pretty obvious that Sheperd is going to be building a morbid world full of grotesque experiments and bloodthirsty creatures. Juliet Moreau has been abandoned by her father, who is presumed to be dead, and left to fend for herself as a maid in the King's College of Medical Research. While tracking down rumours that her father is still alive, she encounters her childhood friend, and now father's assistant, Montgomery, and sets off with him to the island where her father is currently working.
Throughout the entire novel, you're kept on the edge of your seat as you wonder what exactly is happening on the island. Sheperd really understands how to build the underlying tension and suspense that is needed for a mystery novel such as this one. However, I did find that the supposedly scary scenes didn't build enough tension and were resolved too quickly. I would personally have liked to see more of the characters' emotions, as suspense is built, then BAM the monster's claw comes through the door, sort of thing. Although the book was undoubtedly creepy, because of this missing detail from such scenes, I wouldn't necessarily say that it was scary in the sense of the genre of horror.
The characters were quite well developed, and the romance was interesting enough. The love interests, evident from the blurb, were Edward and Montgomery. I found that the romance with Montgomery was much more realistic, whereas with Edward, there was instalove. This is probably why I honestly didn't really see Edward as a candidate, and hence the love triangle didn't really annoy me as much as it would have in another book. Juliet's father was seriously horrible, and it was obvious why he is the "madman" of the novel.
The ending was a cliffhanger (somewhat), although it also left me somewhat confused as to what sort of content the sequels would have. The events (except the romance *shakes fist*) were all sort of wrapped up in this novel, leaving me wondering what exactly will happen in consequent novels (perhaps the emergence of a new villain?).
Some quotations I found interesting:
I was cold, strange, and monstrous to those boys, just like my father. No one could love a monster.
(describing Edward) Not handsome in a classic way like Montgomery, but more subtle, deeper, as if his true handsomeness lay in the story behind those bruises and that crumpled photograph. Something to be discovered, slowly, if one was clever enough to decipher it.
I haven't read The Island of Dr Moreau before, and perhaps that would have influenced my opinion of this novel, but The Madman's Daughter was a masterful tale nonetheless, and I will certainly be reading the sequel when it is released.
Novels from Early 2013 of Similar Genre
1. Splintered by A.G. Howard
2. Hysteria by Megan Miranda
3. Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black