review; the madman’s daughter

Title: The Madman’s Daughter (The Madman’s Daughter #1)
Author: Megan Shepherd
Pub. Date: January 29, 2013
Source: Publisher (Thank you, Balzer + Bray!!)
Summary: 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.
Genre: YA, Gothic
Rating: star-half-64

Dead flesh and sharpened scalpels didn’t bother me. I was my father’s daughter, after all. My nightmares were made of darker things.

After a fairly lackluster start, I’m thrilled to say that 2013’s books are picking up very nicely. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (and again and again): I love retellings. I don’t know what it is about them, but I can’t get enough. Luckily for me, it seems the rest of the reading world feels the same way; retellings aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

The Madman’s Daughter is a new take on The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells. The original brought the subject of vivisection – dissection on a living animal – to the attention of the public, and this new tale expands on it flawlessly.

An older gentleman came by once a week like clockwork, and Mother would send me out for chocolate biscuits in the cafe downstairs. He wore strong cologne that masked a pungent, stale smell, but Mother never said anything about it. That’s how I knew he must be rich – no one ever says the rich stink.

Juliet Moreau is sixteen and one scolding away from living on the streets. Her childhood had been a lavish one: her father was the best surgeon in all of England until the scandal struck. Once Dr. Moreau left his family, Juliet’s mother sold everything she could – including her body – in order to keep up with their lifestyle.

Once death took Mrs. Moreau, Juliet had nowhere to go. Thankfully there was still one of her father’s friends who hadn’t turned his back on the family and found Juliet a job at the university. Scrubbing bloodstains was far from the life Juliet knew, but it was far better than the alternative.

It is a nighttime dare that changes Juliet’s life and spreads whispers through her mind that maybe, just maybe, her father might still be alive. England has nothing left for her, and with Montgomery – the former servant of the family – and Balthasar – a sweet, but horribly disfigured man – Juliet leaves the continent and sails to Australia in search of the truth.

Memories of my father flooded me. As a surgeon, blood had been his medium like ink to a writer. Our fortune had been built on blood, the acrid odor infused into the very bricks of our house, the clothes that we wore.

To me, blood smelled like home.

The Madman’s Daughter was everything I hoped and then some. It’s creepy and horrifying. Countless passages were so expertly written that I read them multiple times. There was one downfall to the story however: the love triangle.

I’ve been reading YA for quite some time, so love triangles aren’t new to me. That said, I’m still not a fan of the romance taking over the story. I wanted more monsters, not moments behind waterfalls!

The two love interests were like night and day. Montgomery grew up with Juliet and was the family’s servant. When Dr. Moreau disappeared, so did Montgomery. Now he’s back and Juliet’s childhood crush is back in full-force. Edward Prince is clearly of high society. He’s found stranded at sea and from the moment the two meet there’s a strange (yet undeniable) attraction.

Juliet bounces between the two and can’t figure out her feelings. One paragraph she’s thinking of one boy and in the next the other boy takes hold of her thoughts. Personally, I could have done without the romance.

The horrors that await Juliet on the island are unimaginable. Dr. Moreau had been experimenting with animals in an attempt to develop a creature that could walk, talk, and think like a human. Balthasar, one of the doctor’s creatures, was easily my favorite and toward the end I truly felt for him and his fate. Ajax is Balthasar’s polar opposite: while Balthasar is sweet and shy, Ajax is cold and calculating. He was the doctor’s greatest success. Until the day Ajax became too smart. Now that blood has been shed, the islanders’ animal senses are being awakened.

Maybe we weren’t wicked, but there was something stained, something torn, in the fabric of our beings.

The Madman’s Daughter is truly unforgettable. There was a twist at the end that I wasn’t expecting at all and I’m definitely excited to see how it’ll play out in the next book! This is one you definitely do not want to miss!

    The Madman’s Daughter series

  • The Madman’s Daughter
  • Untitled (2014)
  • Untitled (2015)

5 thoughts on “review; the madman’s daughter

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