Release Date - January 28, 2014
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader
Pages - 368 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received in exchange for an honest review from the publisher**
Here is the Goodreads synopsis
To defeat the darkness, she must first embrace it.Darkness. Seduction. Madness. Her Dark Curiosity questions whether there is darkness in us all. It's an atmospheric read filled with engaging writing. It's one that offers a polarizing protagonist and plenty of romance.
Months have passed since Juliet Moreau returned to civilization after escaping her father's island—and the secrets she left behind. Now, back in London once more, she is rebuilding the life she once knew and trying to forget Dr. Moreau’s horrific legacy—though someone, or something, hasn’t forgotten her.
As people close to Juliet fall victim one by one to a murderer who leaves a macabre calling card of three clawlike slashes, Juliet fears one of her father’s creations may have also escaped the island. She is determined to find the killer before Scotland Yard does, though it means awakening sides of herself she had thought long banished, and facing loves from her past she never expected to see again.
As Juliet strives to stop a killer while searching for a serum to cure her own worsening illness, she finds herself once more in the midst of a world of scandal and danger. Her heart torn in two, past bubbling to the surface, life threatened by an obsessive killer—Juliet will be lucky to escape alive.
With inspiration from Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, this is a tantalizing mystery about the hidden natures of those we love and how far we’ll go to save them from themselves.
Megan Shepherd's imagery invoking writing is once again breathtakingly present. She captures the tone, mood, and feel easily. It's perhaps the strongest part of the novel, and showcases the writing talent Megan has. It manages to enthrall, and captive. The creepy, unsettled feeling of this particular London is only achieved because of Megan's atmospheric writing.
Juliet makes mistakes. Some of these mistakes are tied directly into her character growth, others felt like they were servicing a love triangle (which might be more of a love square) that didn't really need it. The flawed, conflicted, seduced by darkness Juliet that I was fascinated with in The Madman's Daughter is equally compelling here. She makes a mistakes, but admits it. She's the girl who regrets their actions just a little too late to take them back. She also very naive. When she should be questioning, and demanding answers, she's backing off and letting her judgement be clouded. The madness that plagued her thoughts continues to eat away at her, almost driving her mad by default.
The romance is a huge focus of this novel. It may even take over the novel in some places. This will either delight or frustrate depending on your opinion of triangles and romance driven novels. Juliet's affliction seems to be romance and it's ability to make her lose rational thought. She's a perfectly capable young woman when it comes to everything else, but once romance enters the picture she allows herself to be taken advantage of, and manipulated (see the not asking questions, demanding answers, etc above). I could look past this, but it's only the romance that turns her into this. I hope to see her character develop, and become a little more decisive in the last novel.
The nod to Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is much more quiet than I anticipated. Juliet's fear that perhaps she is turning into a monster, and the delicious question that perhaps we have a little darkness inside us, plays with the themes in a subtle, yet compelling way. Of course, the larger nod of someone turning from a mild mannered man into a beast is there, but it's the more quiet inspiration that haunted me as I turned the pages. These inspirations are done really well, and I feel that this inspiration was woven in even more beautifully than in the first novel.
The ending offers up some large hints as to what literary classic will be the inspiration for the last novel. The set up, and reveal has me optimistic that it'll be a compelling end to Juliet's story. The back half is much more action filled than the quieter, more introspective first half, and it will certainly catch reader's attention.
How you feel about Her Dark Curiosity will largely depend on how you felt about The Madman's Daughter. Megan Shepherd's writing captures the mood, and essence of a stalked London, along with a descent into madness. This certainly won't be a novel for everyone but I, however, relished in a character who is drawn to the darkness, makes mistakes, and questions everything about herself.