Publisher: Baltzer + Brey
Series: The Madman’s Daughter #1
Edition: Hardcover, 432 pages
Genre: Young Adult Horror
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository*
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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.
The Madman’s Daughter offered me something I don’t quite see often in YA lit and that’s a gothic style. Having never read The Island of Dr. Moreau, though now I definitely want to, I eagerly jumped into this one hoping to find something new.
I really enjoyed Megan Shepard’s writing style. It’s dark, gritty, and moody; you can tell this is a gothic style novel within the first page and really loved the over dark and dank nature of the tale. I also loved the details and descriptions which Shepard beautiful carves with each word. It does have a bit of slow start and build up towards the beginning but once on the island it becomes really addictive. I’ve heard several people say that it’s not that different from the original and perhaps they are right, if so I’m glad I got to this one first. There were times when the cloudy creepy nature of this book amped up that I almost didn’t want to know the answers.
Juliet is an interesting MC because while there is plenty of opportunity for her to be a typical Mary-Sue caught in the middle of something terrible she isn’t. She reacts to it, she fights back, she enjoys it and she hates it. Gothic novels tend to play with the fringes of sanity and this is no different, causing most of the characters to question if they’ve stepped over the blurry line. There is a sort of love triangle…which to be more specific it’s a love isosceles. Two sides of this triangle are very much the same but there is that one off feeling option that never quite settles right. I don’t know if the romances were quite successful but they were necessary in terms of plot.
No character is perfect in this, as event the best of the island dwellers keeps terrible secrets. Juliet’s father was incredibly horrible. He could barely manage to act the part of a father and the things he was guilty of when he was away from her are just horrific.
I’d definitely say that The Madman’s Daughter is a promising start for a gothic series. Despite the slow beginning and the kind of frustrating final page, I’m really looking forward to continuing this series.