Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd
Release Date – January 29, 2013
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader
Pages -   432 pages
My Rating- 4.5/5
**Received from publisher for review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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.
This twist on the classic tale of Dr Moreau is dark, lushly descriptive, and chilling. It asks the question of  blood, and if the blood running in your veins can determine who you are. I was engrossed with the story, and it's characters immediately.

The entire novel is atmospheric. The lush, humid island filled with vegetation seems to come to life. The descriptions are so vivid that you can almost feel the humidity pressing on you, and sweat rolling down your own back. The novel is creepy and tension filled throughout. Megan Shepherd infuses the entire novel with a sense of foreboding.

This novel also includes one of the creepiest and stomach turning elements I have encountered in a long time - vivisection. The scene in which we are introduced to this incredibly gruesome technique is only a prelude to dark things to come, but sets the tone masterfully.

Juliet is drawn to the macabre. Operating, blood and experiments excite, rather than repel her. She lives in a constant fear that her father's madness runs through her veins and tries to prove to herself and others that she is nothing like him. I found myself drawn to her, and her inner struggle. She walks a fine line, and the tantalizing descent into perceived madness is always present.

Dr Moreau casts a larger than life presence in Juliet's life. The man we learn about seems charming, driven, and capable of anything in the name of science. His secrets reach all the way from the island to Juliet's life, turning her entire world upside down.

Balthazar, a fascinating character, intrigued me. I wanted to know more about him. His mannerisms, and nature make him startlingly human. His gentle and quiet manner made him easily more humane than some of the completely human characters.

The love triangle is written in such a way that presents each potential love interest with equal standing. It may not be unique, but each of them is engaging in their own right, each is holding back their own secrets, and both are darker than first appearances would indicate. I love that each choice leads to potential issues, and neither guy is what I could consider a "safe" choice. There is more going on with the characters than the romance, and it felt secondary to the plot rather than the main focus of the plot.

A novel that shows blood runs deep, what's inside us can terrify us the most, and some secrets can never stay hidden. A wonderfully written, tension filled read that has left me anticipating the sequel and where Megan Shepherd will take these characters next.


  1. I'm really excited to read this one, I love the gothic element and the way you make it sound so creepy! I'm a little uneasy about a love triangle but I will definitely still give this one a try!

  2. Great review!! I can't wait to get my hands on a copy for this one!


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