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[Book Review] - The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

Title: The Madman's Daughter
   Series: Megan Shepherd
   Series: #1 - The Madman's Daughter
   Format: Hardback
   Release Date: January 29th, 2013
   My Rating: 3.5 out of 5.0

     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.

My Review:

     The Madman's Daughter was a book that not only surprised me, but left me with goosebumps on my arms. It's a retelling of The Island of Dr. Moreau, while I haven't actually read the classic, this retold it from Moreau's daughter's perspective. I wonder of the classic was as haunting as this one, may have to find a copy and read it just to find out.

     Juliet is the daughter of Dr. Moreau, whose unconventional experiments on animals caused a slight stirring. In the midst of the scandal he left, leaving Juliet and her mother with pretty much nothing. Juliet primarily a servant/maid as a laboratory or school of sorts in London, and we can tell that she's afraid of men and what they may do to her alone. That in itself and the number of passes on her that makes just the environment creepy.

     After a slight run in with some boys and their test subject, a Rat, she finds that her father's practices are still being conducted. However, she believes he is dead. Yet as she's trying to get away from the boys and make sense of what happened, she runs into an old friend, Montgomery. Just speaking with him, she finds out that her father is alive and continuing his experiments in the pacific.

     The rest of the story takes place on the island with her father, who is a complete jackass. He believes he's some full blown royal and Montgomery is still the same servant like before in London. I loved his character the most, mainly because he is hard to not hate. He's so demented and twisted, that I found that his idiocy and frankly the air of superiority around him. That was the one flaw I found with him; he was completely moronic or oblivious to his creations at times. His impending doom was building and he frankly just choose to ignore it over and over.

     Juliet and Montgomery's romance isn't all that entertaining. Montgomery is torn between being Dr. Moreau's servant and obeying him and how he feels for Juliet. I found it kind of hard to believe his relationship and his intentions with Juliet. If you loved someone, deeply or not, I tend to believe you would follow him/her more so than someone who is your "superior." Juliet seems to slowly fall for him over time, I don't think it's deeply, but in the end she's completely attached to him.

     The environment of the pacific is great. With the storms and the creations of Dr. Moreau, there is a sense that the world is moving and alive. The world is so dark and morbid, and how Megan Shepherd creates a world that will give you goosebumps over and over. The creatures were unique adaptations, and frankly I love how Shepherd gave enough detail to let you envision your own creation. There was enough detail you knew what pieces went were, but nothing over the top.

     Overall the ending to the book was what kept me going, I wanted to know more, I wanted to see what happened to the characters. Yea there were times, looking back, that may have been a bit slow, but you never feel that in the book. It's a great page turner, I just didn't see that pizzaz to bump it higher than what it got. Trust me, I want to, but when I am looking at other books that have gotten my higher ratings, it's just not there, sorry. However, that doesn't mean I think it's a solid book, it just lacked that wow factor. Either way, I suggest anyone who likes dark morbid stories, this would be for you.
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