Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Review: The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

Title: The Madman's Daughter (The Madman's Daughter #1)
Author: Megan Shepherd
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication date: January 29th 2013
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

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.

(Image and summary taken from Goodreads.)


I actually hate myself a little bit because it took me way too long to pick this book up, even though I have heard so many great things about it; and now that I have finally read it, I can say that The Madman's Daughter is easily one of my favorite books of all time. My love for any book that can mess me up psychologically has never steered me wrong (all my favorites are mindf*ckers) and I am glad that I set my sights on this book. I have so many feels right now. So. Freaking. Many.

I have never really been the type to enjoy books that aren't set in the twentieth-century and onwards because historical themed novels or anything tend to get boring and I was pleasantly surprised to not have gotten bored in any part of The Madman's Daughter. I actually felt like the London setting already gave a hint for the darkness that would come next, like a foreshadowing of sorts. I was very impressed by the way Megan Shepherd set a slow but menacing pace to the book, like that feeling you get when you are being watched, you don't know who and where that person is but you just feel the discomfort and fear. That's what it was like reading The Madman's Daughter, I knew something sinister was going to happen and I readied myself for anything but what Megan Shepherd revealed was more than what I could possibly have expected. Mind = blown. Also, Megan Shepherd gives really good suspense. I found myself furiously flipping pages and drinking everything in because I felt that if I stopped, I would lose that momentum that was growing and growing, and I just couldn't stop. I couldn't put the book down!

Megan Shepherd has a lot of amazing words. The dialogues and especially Juliet's inner thoughts and reflections really got to me. There was darkness in her words and more than a touch of madness, but they were what made them so appealing and unique. I don't even want to know what frame of thought Megan Shepherd had to put herself into to create such an authentically distraught and slightly disturbed mind but I applaud her for it. She definitely has a talent of weaving words, sentences, and pages with not just meaning but also emotion and a rawness that not a lot of authors can put into their books. Her words gripped me with sharpened claws and did not let go. I can still feel the pressure and lingering madness that Megan Shepherd's writing left behind. And she will keep you guessing, you will not be able to see the plot twists she has in store for you, trust me. I was completely caught off guard.

For a girl who was raised as an upper class citizen, Juliet Moreau definitely had a wildness to her that I know the London society won't approve of. But lucky for her, between working as a maid after her family's fall from grace and moving to her father's mysterious island, the London society had no time to judge her for any indiscretions. And yay, because she didn't care what they thought anyway so, ha! I don't know if you can already tell but I really liked Juliet, not just as a character but a human being as well. That rebellious and fierce part of Juliet gave her a spark that most characters don't have. She wasn't flamboyant when it came to her snark unlike most protagonists, she was subtle and knew when to unleash all that wit. Each move from her was very calculated but also impulsive, Juliet was definitely a walking contradiction, and I say this in the best way possible. Her unpredictableness made her all the more exciting and made her (mis)adventures even more dangerous. There were times when I felt like Juliet wasn't afraid of anything... and the thing was, she wasn't. At least, not anything completely physical, of course. I think she was more afraid of the darkness that lived inside of her, that she inherited too much of her Father's madness to be normal. However, it was also her Father's blood that gave her her intelligence and curiosity so she didn't completely lose out. The internal battle going inside her mind was very clear, that urge to drive away all that tainted blood but no matter how much a we may fight ourselves, no one ever really wins, we just give up and accept it. Kind of like Juliet, that dark part of her also helped her even if she couldn't accept it. Oh and cue crazy plot twist somewhere in the book.

Normally, I'd totally be shaming a book for having a love triangle because books tend to get extra messy when they do and the characters end up becoming annoying but I was actually pretty okay with what happened in The Madman's Daughter. I wasn't a fan of the times when Juliet would get absorbed whether she liked Montgomery or Edward more and sometimes, the romance-y parts of the book didn't fit into the scenario that was happening but generally speaking, the depth of the romance scenes gave it extra points. The chemistry and bond between Montgomery, Juliet and Edward was very interesting. I found myself conflicted as to who I wanted her to be with but after a while, I was totally Team Montgomery. It was hard to pick not just because they were both great guys but because it was hard to trust anyone in the book, I was suspicious of both of them. (You'll find out why when you read the book.) For a YA novel, there was definitely a lot of steam but not too steamy, if you know what I mean. *wink wink, nudge nudge* Just enough to keep you interested and definitely begging for more of that. Both the M/J and the E/J pairings really worked and I loved the interactions between all of them but I am still 100% Team Montgomery even after everything that happened.

To make things simple: Juliet's Father is a rat bastard. That is all.

Okay, even though Juliet's Father totally creeped me out, his creations were very interesting. I was mystified at how Megan Shepherd was really able to put detail and character into Father's creatures. Just, wow. They were disturbingly captivating, it was hard to look away. Megan Shepherd's writing will do that to you, keep you spellbound. Among all the creations, I adored Balthazar the most. Throughout the whole book, I wanted to give him the biggest hug ever. Such a sweet fellow. No matter how evil or dark the act may be, sometimes the result will be the exact opposite. Balthazar was an example of that, he was hope.

Argh, I just completely loved this book. I cannot recommend The Madman's Daughter enough, everything just went so well together. From the haunting writing, to the exhilarating scenes, you will not be able to stop yourself from falling in love with Megan Shepherd's novel. Even though I already have the next two books on hand, I'm doing my best to prolong the series end. Seriously so. Dang. Good. I can't even right now.


1 comment:

  1. I felt the same way -- fell in love with the story. The ending was so unexpected, for me at least.