Friday, 22 August 2014

Review: The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd
Publisher: Balzer + Bay
Publication Date: January 29th, 2013
Pages: 420
Series: The Madman's Daughter #1
Source: Purchased/Borrowed on audio
Rating: 5/5
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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.

Great success! I've finally read The Madman's Daughter. I've kept meaning to, but you know how it is, books you desperately want to read never get read. Until I was browsing my libraries audio downloads and saw that this was available, so perfect, onto my phone you go. And let me tell you guys, this is the best audio I've ever listened to. The narrator was bloody fantastic. Her emotions were perfect through Juliet's voice. And she easily conveyed the creepiness of the island. If you haven't read The Madman's Daughter(hell, even if you have) I highly, highly suggest getting it on audio. Megan Shepherd's story telling is amazing but I really think the audio book made it that much more better for me.

I've constantly stated that I'm a character driven reader, but The Madman's Daughter is one of those books where the characters kind of took a back seat for me. And that really surprised me. I've heard nothing but fantastic praise for this book, but in theory this book really isn't a Brittany book. I'm a massive pansy. Honestly, I scare so easily. I don't watch or read anything thats got that hint of a scare factor to it. The Madman's Daughter is a very dark and gothic novel. Shepherd doesn't hold back on the graphic descriptions. If even the word blood makes you queasy than I give you fair warning that there is more than blood and gore. Anyhow, why The Madman's Daughter surprised me and took me out of my normal comfort zone is because I was fully sucked into this gothic and gruesome horror story with strong characters but an even stronger story. You go on this journey with Juliet to a very mysterious and disturbing island where her supposed dead father resides. The island and its creatures are where I was riveted to the edge of my seat. There's something unknown and pretty much disgusting at every turn. What the hell is Juliet's father creating? Guys, this book is just brilliant.

Juliet is a sixteen year old orphan. Her family used to be apart of London's high society, until her brilliant surgeon father was shamed and cast out of London for practicing unspeakable surgeries. Thinking her father dead, her mother struggles to keep herself and Juliet feed. After her mother passes away Juliet starts to work at the local hospital as a maid. But Juliet has always been fascinated with the human body and medicine. She used to watch her father in his study and lab. She knows more about muscles, bones and organs than any of the university students studying to become doctors. One night Juliet's life really takes a different turn when she becomes witness to some university students doing some unnatural surgeries on a rabbit. Of course that distresses her, but even more so is the notes and diagram she finds them using; it's her fathers. How did they get it? She quickly steps in and stops the boys and that just turns her life upside down. She now has to run and run she does. Right into her families old house servants son, Montgomery. She hasn't seen him in years. She's in total shock but that shock just intensifies after he eventually divulges that her father is still alive and living on a private island. Juliet demands that Montgomery takes her with him. Montgomery is very hesitant but eventually agrees. After weeks at sea the ship comes across a boy, Edward, hanging by a thread of life in the water. After rescuing him and Juliet not being able to get much of a story from him, she decides she's become to fond of him to not bring him to the island with her. So this is where Juliet, Edward and Montgomery arrive at the Island of Doctor Moreau and Juliet starts to realize just how mad her father has become.

Juliet is a fantastic heroine. She's strong but also so unsure. She wants the love of her father after being so long without a parental figure. But the father she thought she remembers from her childhood is not what she gets. He is a horrible man. He has created unspeakable human like creatures and believes there is nothing wrong with the work he's doing. He is mad. Juliet is disgusted with his work but also a little bit fascinated and that makes her wonder just how mad she is. Juliet intrigued me. Her life is literally turned upside down. She arrives in this new world to find her father alive and has to navigate through her all over the place feelings and this island. Everything is anew and beyond reality that her unsure actions felt really on par with the story. These unnatural creatures are a phenomenon and on one hand they shouldn't be alive but on another they have a beating heart how can she think to destroy them? As a reader I was just as confused as Juliet is. I was discovering a new mystery with every turn of the page just like Juliet.
Juliet also has a heavy love triangle going on with Montgomery and Edward. Like Juliet, there wasn't a ship I was going down with over the other. Both guys very much interested me but I also knew they both had major secrets and that left me a little weary. Particularly Edward. His story just didn't make sense. Like I mentioned recently, love triangles are either a love a hate for me. There is no in between for me. And although I won't be adding Edward or Montgomery to my fictional boyfriend list(long list) I was fully invested in this triangle. It could have gone either way for Juliet and I really found the "outcome" a little jaw dropping.

The island is a character all of its own. Its mysteries is what kept me turning pages. What are these monsters? As maddening and hateful as Dr. Moreau is what he has created is brilliant and as a reader I needed to know more. The Madman's Daughter is a truly dark and gothic thriller. It takes you through late 19th century medical experiments that leave you feeling disturbed. I feel weird saying it but I thoroughly loved this book and may have found a new love for the horror genre. I need to get my hands on the rest of the series now. Even though The Madman's Daughter is technically a stand alone and gives you a complete story arc. The ending leaves you satisfied but needing more. And needing it right away.    

Happy reading!



  1. I so agree, I really enjoyed this book and the world building!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

  2. I have owned this book since Christmas, but for some reason I still haven't got to it. I had seen a few reviews but had never felt a huge urge to pick it up. Your review is really making me want to grab it off my shelf and get started on it NOW! I am so pleased I picked up the sequel as well, this seems like a series I am going to fall in love with.

  3. Great review! I've read this one and gave it a 3 star but the next book in the series really made me love it more. Hope you get to read it soon!