Review: The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd
The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd
January 29, 2013
Balzer + Bray
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 is cleverly written and well-executed debut that is sure to stand out in the YA genre. While it is one of the most intelligently written teen book out there, as an animal lover I had a hard time reading to the ending. I knew going in that there were experiments being done on animals, I just didn’t realize how gruesome and graphic they would be. If you can get past that and look to the core of the novel, it is phenomenal and well-worth the long journey to the end. I wanted to just plain adore THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER so much, but my sensitive heart will only allow me to say that I liked it.
Juliet is one of those main character’s who needs some serious redemption in my eyes. She came off as a very cold-hearted girl, but I can definitely see why she turned out that way. With an insane father like hers, it’s a wonder she even has a bit of kindness in her. Juliet knows that her thoughts about some things are wrong and is very bothered by the fact that her father is a very bad man who does terrible things to animals and basically plays god. Thank goodness for the addition of characters who helped soften her character up and made her much more relatable.
There is a love triangle in THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER, which may turn a few readers off. However, I will say that it is a very well-executed one! Montgomery and Edward each have traits in them that make them desirable and I honestly had no idea who Juliet would choose for most of the novel. It is the twist in the end that really adds to the plot and makes the love triangle much more intriguing. Shepherd certainly knows how to write a heart-pounding story!
Shepherd’s words in THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER are simply magical. It is what got me past the gorier parts of the book that made me cringe. I could practically see myself on the island right alongside Juliet and the inhabitants. It is beautiful yet horrifying when it turns to the parts in which the animals come in.
I’m one of those people who is more likely to cry when an animal dies in a movie than an actual person so this book was particularly difficult for me to manage to the end. I knew from the synopsis that there would be some things that I probably would not be able to stomach, I just didn’t realize just how horrible they would be. Now, I’m not quite sure this book would be just as remarkable without some things in there that I didn’t like, yet I can’t help it from holding me as a reader back from completely falling in love with everything about the book.
With that being said, I am sure THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER will be a hit among YA readers. Just be prepared for the more graphic side of the story.