Title: The Madman’s Daughter
Author: Megan Shepherd
Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Horror
Series: The Madman’s Daughter Trilogy (Book 1)
Publication Date: January 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover, 432 Pages
ISBN-10: 0062128027 (HarperTeen)
ISBN-13: 978-0062128027 (HarperTeen)
Reviewed by: Kayla
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.
Quick & Dirty: A disturbing and gruesome story of experiments and love.
Opening Sentence: The basement hallways in King’s College of Medical Research were dark, even in the daytime.
Juliet Moreau has a hard enough time getting by with a meager job and empty apartment. Now something is stirring within her…something dark, something causing her to have violent outbursts at random times. Her mother died trying to provide for Juliet when she was younger. Her father disappeared after accusations spread about heinous experiments in their basement. But Juliet, now sixteen, is starting to hear rumors of a doctor staying in England…but instead of a doctor she finds her old friend (and crush) Montgomery staying in a tavern downtown. But there’s something odd about the servant he keeps with him. Could her father be behind this? Could he have taken Montgomery with him instead of his daughter?
Dark, creepy and sinister, The Madman’s Daughter is the first horror story I’ve ever read. It had the works: evil geniuses, a good guy caught in the past and a heroine with something to prove. The setting was mysterious and filled with secrets–hidden creatures and odd islanders are tangled in a web of experiments all pointing to Juliet’s father. I loved the intricate plot and complex characters. As my first horror read, this book has set high standards for others to come.
Juliet has had a rough life. She was born into aristocracy but ended up almost on the streets. Now she works as a maid at medical university–but not everyone ignores her. One of the professors takes an intense liking to her, but when he makes his move, Juliet isn’t one to go down without a fight. Even if the consequences might send her running from the police. The inner conflict within Juliet was really well-developed, and I could imagine her two personalities colliding with her human morals. And as a human, she sometimes gives in to a darker side. It’s this darker side that is the catalyst for the entire story. Shepherd does an excellent job in telling Juliet’s story. She’s not afraid to get down to the nitty-gritty. Plus, the two love interests in the book are definitely worthy of a swoon.
Montgomery was a servant when Juliet was still rich. They became best friends (and Juliet had a cute crush on him), and he helped her father with his work. But when the accusations surfaced about her father’s work, Montgomery disappeared with her father. Now back in England, Montgomery is still under her father’s influence. Juliet questions his morals and reminds him of the normal life he could have, but there’s still that small part of him that enjoys her father’s cruel work (I won’t tell you what it is – that would ruin the whole beginning!) Shepherd also did an excellent job in creating this delicate character. His development through the entire book was heart breaking and even more complex than Juliet. His odd fascination and knowledge with what is right conflict in every choice he makes – right up until the end.
Honestly, I could have done without the love triangle. It was unnecessary, and I thought it took away from the main story arc. Not that Edward wasn’t boring or flat – he was just another, more exaggerated example of the bad that could happen on the island.
Overall, I thought this was a great book. It’ll take you on a whirlwind ride and might test your mind – but it’s well worth it.
“Let me go!” I cried. But he was powerfully built, and it didn’t take him long to pin my wrists in the shackles of his hands.
“Juliet! Stop this!” he said.
I froze at the gruff sound of my name. The young man let me go and I whirled on him. His face was deeply tanned, odd during the London weather. Loose blond hair fell to his broad shoulders. My lungs seized up.
I knew him. I’d have known him anywhere, despite the years.
The Madman’s Daughter Trilogy:
FTC Advisory: Harper Teen provided me with a copy of The Madman’s Daughter. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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