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.
What We Thought:
m: The Madman’s Daughter is one of my favorite novels. I am typically not one to gravitate toward a thriller/horror book and I wasn’t to sure on whether or not I wanted to read this novel specifically because I wasn’t really interested in books that had that creepy kind of story line. I actually won my copy of the book during Tea Time with Epic Reads (Wednesdays @ 3:45pm on UStream). I thought that since I had the book I might as well read it, I do believe that Lyli read the book before I had so I knew that I could at least talk to someone about the book after I had read it. I was very hesitant when I first started the book because I wasn’t sure where it was going to go and there were a couple times when I thought about putting the book down but I just couldn’t. Megan Shepherd’s writing style just kept me intrigued and after a couple of chapters I just couldn’t put it down. I started really loving the story line (no matter how terrifying it was) and Megan’s writing style created a balance between the stereotypical horror story and a poetic kind of horror story. I think that’s what made the novel one of my favorites.
l: I’m like Masie in the way that this isn’t my typical read. I don’t read hardly any paranormal books, or anything remotely horror-centric. I’m not the type of person that enjoys being scared. (: I think the thing that intrigued me the most when I heard about this book was the fact that it was a retelling of a classic novel, but not in the typical way. This story takes a character from H.G. Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau and tells the story from her perspective. As it implies in the title, Juliet – the protagonist – is Dr. Moreau’s daughter. The story centers around her trying to unravel the mystery that is her father, and coming to terms with the fact that she shares the same blood. I felt really guilty reading this without reading the original classic first, but I didn’t know when I would finally get around to it and decided to go ahead with TMD. The beginning of this story had me kind of iffy. It seemed kind of dark for my taste, but – like Masie – I was interested enough in the story to keep reading, and I’m glad I did. The story was heart-poundingly intense, and honestly kind of stressed me out. There were some aspects that had a little too much “horror” for my taste, but I enjoyed the gothic, a la Jane Eyre, side of it. I don’t like horror per say, but I do like gothic, especially in British literature. Like so many of those, this story was beautifully told. I think Masie put it perfectly in saying that it balanced the horror with the poetic. It had a subtle beauty to it that really is a credit to Megan Shepherd’s writing.
m: This novel is definitely one I would recommend for you to read, unless your somewhat squeamish then I would suggest that this is not a novel for you. I also suggest you don’t read this book at night, as you might not have a peaceful night sleep afterwards (unless this kind of stuff doesn’t phase you, then have it!) This book will definitely draw you in, though it may take you a couple of chapters to get into it. The novel is also one that you are going to want to read in more than one sitting; there are lots of details and it is a pretty long book – 419 pages. You also might want to keep in mind that this book is a part of a trilogy and the next book, Her Dark Curiosity, follows along through the life of Juliet but is a retelling of Frankenstein. HDC is going to be released into bookstores on/around January 28th, 2014.
l: I’m not going to lie: I was creeped out reading certain parts of this book. Despite this, I really ended up enjoying it. It’s definitely not the type of book I want to be reading all the time, just because it’s kind of dark and depressing. I usually lean toward, well, happier books. (; This is one of those books that someone who doesn’t usually like the genre might enjoy. I’m nerdishly excited because the two sequels – while still direct sequels, continuing where TMD left off – are based off of the classics Frankenstein and The Mysterious Case of Dr. Jeckl and Mr. Hyde. I read both in my British literature class a few years back, so I’m excited to see how the rest of the story plays out!
RATING: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars
NOTE: On a writing/storytelling standpoint, we would give this book five stars. We ended up taking off a half of a point just based on the creepiness factor that wasn’t suited to our personal taste. 🙂