Review: The Madman's Daughter

The Madman's Daughter
Megan Sheperd
Series: The Madman's Daughter, #1
Release Date: January 29th, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Number of Pages: 432
Source: Edelweiss
Rating: 4 stars

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In the darkest places, even love is deadly.

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.
See, I have this really annoying problem (yes, it's a problem. Others may call it a skill, but trust me, when you have it, it's a problem) where, if I go into something knowing that there's a huge twist in the end, I will introspect every little detail that I normally would have overlooked had I not known there was a twist, leading to me pinning down the twist long before it is revealed, which also leads to my enjoyment in the mystery being lowered significantly. The huge twist in the movie Identity, which seemingly everybody was blind-sighted by? Guessed it in the first two minutes of the movie. Pretty much every single adult murder mystery, which inevitably ends in a twist ending? Pssh, easy; the baby's the rapist.

The Madman's Daughter, however, is quite the enigma. I'd gone into The Madman's Daughter knowing that there'd be a twist ending (and for those who have the same problem I have, I'm sorry, but you were bound to find out there's a twist eventually), and while I, in the end, got most of the twist pinned down, how I got to that twist was different than I get to most others. The case with most twist endings is that I come up with at most two theories, and at least one of them slightly resembles the twist at the end. But in the case of The Madman's Daughter, I went through multiple theories as to what the twist was, what the monster was, and the solution to most of the novel's mysteries. And then, when I discarded one theory and thought I'd never see it again, I only ended up bringing it back into play mere percentages later.

And even though I did see the major twist coming (mind you, however, only about ten percentages before it was revealed, which is pretty damn impressive for the book), the fact that I saw the twist coming didn't impact my enjoyment in the novel in the slightest, unlike most cases. Sheperd incorporated each and every twist into The Madman's Daughter with such finesse and cleverness that each twist was enchanting, and I was able to look over the fact that I had saw them coming and just turn the pages in awe as I had come to realization of how Sherperd had woven the twists into the story.

And speaking of the story, what a story it was! The Madman's Daughter opens with a bang, and ends with an even bigger bang, full of complete and utter brilliance at every corner. The middle, however, is where I feel the novel met its faults. While much of the middle section of The Madman's Daughter is filled with suspense, intrigue, and secrets, much of it is also filled with relationship angst, something I am definitely not a fan of. And while I wasn't completely sold on either of the romances in The Madman's Daughter, which is probably why reading about Juliet go on about either of the boys was a bore to me, I definitely appreciate and almost admire how Sherperd made the love triangle play out.

Juliet was an absolutely amazing character, and I found myself loving her very soon in the novel. She's smart, sassy, strong, and while she is a bit sidetracked by the boys at times, I found her to be an amazing heroine and protagonist to follow around, and her sparkling wit and how she dealt with the misogyny of her father was amazing. The character of Juliet's father, Doctor Henri Moreau, was also one that was well developed, and he was a character I found myself loving to hate. The two love interests of Juliet, however, like I had mentioned earlier, never really sparked much of a reaction from me, and my opinion on both of them are pretty lukewarm, but they, too, are met with a good deal of character development throughout the novel.

Chocked full of suspense, interesting and clever plot twists, creepy-crawlies, great side-characters, and truly disturbing and horrifying moments, The Madman's Daughter will surely appeal to any horror fans looking for a chilling read. I'm not entirely sure where the story could go from the ending of The Madman's Daughter forward, but either way, I thoroughly look forward to reading the next book in this trilogy and seeing what else Megan Sheperd has in store.


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