The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

Release Date: January 29, 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Series: The Madman's Daughter, Book 1
Rated: YA 14+
Format: Paperback
Source: Borrowed
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository

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.

I'm honestly surprised at how much I enjoyed this one, particularly after reading some mixed reviews about it. The Madman's Daughter was very dark, and I love how much it's influenced by the gothic tradition– it is, after all, based on H.G. Well's The Island of Doctor Moreau. I had to learn a lot about the gothic tradition for a school paper (the extended essay fellow IB'ers!), and I felt that the book truly embodied so many of it's traits. I loved the blend of science and religion, and that it's a historical-fiction that plays up to the time period it's set in, making it all the more believable. It was an intriguing read, egging me on to finish it from the moment I started.

Juliet's character reminded me of Finley from The Girl in the Steel Corset. I thought that she was an interesting character, yet a little naive and conflicted. However, a great character in the end. I loved Montgomery! I preferred him over Edward for the most part. I thought that the love triangle was a little unnecessary and a tad bit rushed, but it definitely gets complicated, I can tell you that. There are so many twists in the plot that I didn't see coming. The names in the book are also really significant, and it all comes together in the end, where I found myself slapping myself on the forehead going, "of course!".
I really liked the supporting characters as well. Balthazar was so adorable, and so was Alice. Dr. Moreau was... different. Different meaning different from most in YA and that's what made him so intriguing. Hopefully, there's more secrets uncovered in the next book about his work.

As I mentioned before, this is a retelling of one of H.G. Wells' books. I'd never even heard of the book before (shockingly), and I'll be sure to check it out really soon. It sounds particularly interesting, and I'm wondering how a book about the same topics was received by the public back then, especially with what would be considered blasphemous and against religion as scientific discovery was growing. I thought the conflict between the two was very well portrayed in the book, and really stuck to the time it was set.

The Madman's Daughter was dark, suspenseful and insanely delicious. Megan Shepherd's debut has wowed me, creating an original premise that has me shocked, scared and begging for more. I'm looking forward to devouring the next book!

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