Monday, January 26, 2015

A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd

A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd
Release Date - January 27, 2015
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 400 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received in exchange for an honest review**


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
After killing the men who tried to steal her father’s research, Juliet—along with Montgomery, Lucy, Balthazar, and a deathly ill Edward—has escaped to a remote estate on the Scottish moors. Owned by the enigmatic Elizabeth von Stein, the mansion is full of mysteries and unexplained oddities: dead bodies in the basement, secret passages, and fortune-tellers who seem to know Juliet’s secrets. Though it appears to be a safe haven, Juliet fears new dangers may be present within the manor’s own walls.

Then Juliet uncovers the truth about the manor’s long history of scientific experimentation—and her own intended role in it—forcing her to determine where the line falls between right and wrong, life and death, magic and science, and promises and secrets. And she must decide if she’ll follow her father’s dark footsteps or her mother’s tragic ones, or whether she’ll make her own.

With inspiration from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this breathless conclusion to the Madman’s Daughter trilogy is about the things we’ll sacrifice to save those we love—even our own humanity.
Megan Shepherd offers up a spine-tingling, and chilling close to her Madman's Daughter trilogy. A novel that asks how much fate dictates our choices and plays with the haunting notion that just because you can do something doesn't mean that you should.

The classic tale of Frankenstein is woven into Megan Shepherd's plot seamlessly. Her characters blend into the iconic roles perfectly without being out of character for what Megan has created. Megan's talent as a writer is her ability to create mood and atmosphere. Frankenstein naturally lends itself to this style of writing. The foggy moors, the creaks and bumps in the night, the apprehension and tension that builds are all captured within the pages of this story.

The nature vs nurture aspect of Frankenstein's story was already a huge theme in this trilogy and choosing to inspire the last novel off of Frankenstein was brilliant decision. Juliet has struggled from the beginning with becoming her father. She is convinced that her DNA makes it inevitable. She believes her 'creation' leaves her no choice but to follow in his footsteps. Ultimately her fate is revealed and offers up plenty of twists and surprises along the way. There is one particular reveal that I am unsure how I feel about. It feels like an easy way out based on the character, and story. I predict strong reactions to this reveal either way.

The idea that having the power to do something and the morality of doing it has also been a theme woven into all three novels. Doctor Moreau could create those creatures. Juliet could give into her darker impulses. In Frankenstein we know that Victor has power over life and death. A Cold Legacy examines the fallout of that ability, and the morality of doing it. It all comes back to choices. We all have choices, and what plagues every step of Juliet's journey is choices and which one she should make. It asks the reader to examine their own choices, at the same time asking how much outside forces factor into making those choices.

Juliet is a polarizing character for a lot of people. For me, every action, reaction, decision that she has or makes feels authentic to her character. Her actions and choices are not always what I would choose for myself. She is not perfect. She's haunted, and flawed. She slips and makes mistakes. The important thing is that she never acts out of character. She remains Juliet always, and that is the mark of an author who knows her characters.

The secondary characters, for me, were the heart of the story. Kind, gentle Balthazar who is the most humane out of everyone despite his monstrous beginnings. The compelling, dangerous, and fascinating Edward whose demons haunt him still. Lucy who is caring, and exudes an inner strength. Montgomery who is steadfast in his love for Juliet, but keeping secrets of his own. They all are engaging, and bring an extra element to the story. They allow you to form attachments as the main character is someone so polarizing. Balthazar, in particular, will win your heart by the end of this series (if he hasn't already).

A bittersweet, if fitting, ending to Juliet's journey allowed for closure that will satisfy fans of this trilogy. Megan Shepherd as adeptly paid homage to three different classic literary tales, while weaving in something entirely her own. 

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