Friday, February 28, 2014

Reading Review - The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

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.

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My Rating - Four Stars

Today's review is of The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd. When I first picked this up, I had thought it was a historical fiction, which typically isn't among my favorite genres. However, I found out soon after that this book is actually a retelling- which many of you know I love. The Madman's Daughter is actually a retelling of The Island of Doctor Moreau, and this entire trilogy is retellings of the grim and creepy nature. In short, this is a series I should have known about long ago, and honestly a lot of my reactions throughout the first part of the book were astonishment, wonder, and 'Why didn't I pick this series up sooner?'. I've yet to read The Island myself, but I'd certainly like to after finishing this book.

The protagonist is Juliet Moreau, the daughter of the infamous doctor. She's struggling to survive in London in the aftermath of losing her parents and the enormous scandal her father left. Juliet is a really interesting character- as the story progresses she has an intense internal conflict. Juliet is a really interesting character to read about and journey alongside. She wasn't my favorite protagonist, as I felt she would become so mired in her thoughts and puzzlings that sometimes there would be more lengthy narration than interesting action furthering the plot. However, Juliet is generally an interesting and unique narrator with a moral dilemma and an internal conflict that drive her character throughout the novel.
The other characters added to the eerie and strange atmosphere of the island. Montgomery and Edward were always intriguing when they had a scene with Juliet. The doctor was an infuriating character, but definitely added a unique presence in the group. The characters interacted well, and scenes with multiple people in it were always interesting and engaging to read. However, the scenes when Juliet is alone and narrating her thoughts sometimes dragged on and slowed the pacing of the story. Since Juliet is unaware of any of the island's mysteries, following her along as she thinks about everything and doesn't come up with a conclusion wasn't as compelling as the rest of the novel. These instances slowed the plot down for me, although whenever other characters came into the scene there was a lot of mystery and suspense throughout.

I gave this book four out of five stars, and I ended up going to get the sequel shortly thereafter. In case you were curious, the sequel Her Dark Curiosity is said to be a retelling of Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. The third and final installment is going to be a Frankenstein retelling. I am really excited to continue on with this series, and read more of these eerie retellings!

Have you read any retellings like this? What did you think? 

From the paper world,


  1. I'm planning to read this series in October when I do Halloween/Horror books! Glad you likes it.

    PS... I nominated you for a Liebster Award

  2. I've bought this book and am definitely curious to read it as well as to see how the sequels are connecting while being different retellings...


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