Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Madman's Daughter (The Madman's Daughter #1) by Megan Shepherd

The Madman's Daughter (The Madman's Daughter, #1)

Publishing Details

Release Date: January 29th, 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: Historical Fiction/Science Fiction
Age Group: Young Adult 
Rating: 2 Stars


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. (Goodreads)


The Madman’s Daughter was basically a sappy, formulaic YA love triangle sloppily disguised as a gothic thriller. Of course, it had some shining moments: Shepherd opens the novel with an intriguing look into a gritty 19th Century London, complete with beautiful Victorian language and an interesting peek into society of the time era. (Don’t flash those ankles, ladies.) Early on in the story, the main character, sixteen year old Juliet Moreau, witnesses a vivisection, which, gross, is a dissection of an animal while it’s still living. (The gore in this book didn’t have much of an effect on me-I think I’ve been reading too much Ken Follett- but if you have a weak stomach, you might want to prepare yourself before jumping into this book.) This vivisection, Juliet knows, is clearly a remnant of her father’s work, who was London’s best surgeon until he was banished years ago for participating in scandalous experiments. Before this point, Juliet wasn’t sure if her father was still alive, but after following his trail, she ends up on a ship with her childhood crush, Montgomery, (appropriately muscular, tan, and swoon worthy) on her way to an island off the coast of Australia, where her not-dead father has taken up shop with Montgomery as his assistant. 

After this, the “OMG, Montgomery is totes attractive, but this castaway Edward shows up, and besides the fact that I know next to nothing about him, he is just sooo freaking hot,” love fest kind of turned me off. If the blood and guts didn’t kill you, this might. It’s not that I have a hatred for love triangles (Peeta and Gale in The Hunger Games was fine) but this was so contrived and silly it was just embarrassing. Montgomery and Edward both had zilch personality, and after reading more than a fair share of pages over how Juliet just couldn’t decide who she was more attracted to, I was beginning to wonder if Montgomery and Edward had lost their brains as well for “falling in love” with someone who was so unequivocally boring. 

The plot pretty much went overboard at this point in time as well. The biggest problem was that the synopsis of the book covered ideas in the story in a few split seconds in what it took Juliet maybe half the book to figure out. And once she did figure it out, the scientific explanations for her father’s work was too oversimplified for a novel based on a classic sci-fi. 

The thing I might hate the most, however, were the characters. Juliet’s daddy was too purely evil/mad scientist for me. Juliet’s own personality dilemmas were interesting at first, but the constant complaints of her “animal nature” without any further development about it got kind of annoying. What was especially irritating was the fact that Shepherd had built up such a strong-willed and independent heroine in the first few chapters of the book, but once the love interests came into view, Juliet became a simpering girl who stayed at home while everyone else went into the jungle for an adventure. At one point in the book Juliet gets jealous of a thirteen year old girl named Alice who seems to have a thing for Montgomery, and spends a few paragraphs having a seething internal dialogue about this really pathetic insecurity. Juliet spends way too much time worrying over her love life, and way too little time exploring the moral and scientific implications of her father’s work. 

Want a cheesy chick lit with uber hot guys and steamy romance(s)? Go for The Madman’s Daughter, sure thing. If you’re looking for something a little deeper, this book is not it. 


Eveline V

I was curious about this book, since I loved the original Island of Dr. Moreau, but this indeed sounds pretty boring. Pity, why do YA authors always have to add irritating love triangles to their books?

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