Review: The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd


The Madman's Daughter
Megan Shepherd
Series: The Madman's Daughter, #1
Released: January 29th, 2013
Publisher: Balzer and Bray
Rating: 3.5 stars
Fright Scale: 4 out of 10
Reviewed by: Mel

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Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid and trying to forget 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's alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she's determined to find out if the accusations were true.

Accompanied by her father's handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward, Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the secret of her father's new life: he experiments on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. 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 Doctor 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.

Add some science, romance, grotesque, deformed animals and an abandoned Victorian gothic setting in the historical era and there you have, The Madman's Daughter. This book cannot be described as fun, weaved heavily with mystery and horrific writing, this book should be more described as like the title suggests madness. Pure madness.

Ever since her mother died and her father, a once loved scientist was also pronounced to be dead, Juliet's life has been nothing but eventful. As a maid, with no one to turn to, she tries not to think about the one thing that made her life turn upside down. Yet when one small clue of her father being still alive appears in front of her, she immediately takes up the chance--instead of finding her father, she is once again face to face with Montgomery, her father's assistant from when he was still in London. Soon enough, she discovers that her father is actually alive, hidden on a remote island far away from London. And with Montgomery by her side, they set sea on their journey. The more time she spends on the island, the more truths she discovers and the more she realises that she should have never come.

Juliet Moreau, daughter of the madman scientist was the main character. She started off as a solid, capable character who wasn't the slightest bit lady-like. Yet as the story deepened, she began to lose her strong charisma and became marginally irritating and boring. This wasn't a huge issue but I couldn't help but feel my impressions towards Juliet slip lower and lower as the story grew to the end. However this is not to say that she didn't lose her spunk and skepsism, even towards her father. I loved her cautiousness and her thoughtful actions, while not too slow but not too impulsive--also, her layers of depth and secrets about her past are nothing less than compelling and fascinating.

What really nullified my enjoyment of The Madman's Daughter was the romance. We have a muted angst going on with the addition of a love triangle (yeah... laaaame.) There is Montgomery, the gentleman that Juliet has known for most of her life and the castaway, Edward who was saved by Juliet and Montgomery when they were sailing along on the ship to the island where Juliet’s father had taken asylum to hide--which mind you, held a distinct, creepy atmosphere. Anywho, I was incredibly astonished to come across such a clichĂ© romance in a promising, thriller-ly novel. Sure, a romance can be here, but it doesn't have to be so overpowered and stereotyped. It makes no sense, if Juliet has finally become independent, after dropping her position as a maid, it doesn't mean she needs to have two guys all insanely into her. For a novel I could have given 5 stars, it was lowered due to this main factor.

Due to the ineffective romance plot, life on the island isn't quite as consistently eventful. There are details that I wished could have been used effort elsewhere, instead of some monotonous jungle walks. The plot came in a little too late--there isn't much of a distinct one, more like an ongoing background mystery--and by the time the plot had more focus, the book ended. Also on a cliff-hanger (!!) but luckily I'm starting the sequel sometime very soon. Another small niggle was the fact that this was a historian set novel. I actually felt that this genre label was wasted in this book. There are only a few pieces of dialogue that actually felt like it was said in the historical era, so it bugged me to remind myself that this was set in the more ancient times. It was seriously off-putting to read a piece of dialogue and have 'hitherto' inserted randomly--it did not go with any other elements.

The Madman's Daughter was disappointing in the romance and plot-- therefore meaning the book became a little monotonous at times but I still appreciated Megan Shepherd's idea, writing and main character. I can't wait for Her Dark Curiosity!

17 comments :

  1. I agree about the romance, that definitely took away some stars. This book didn't need that fuss, because it was creepy and interesting enough on itself. I still can't wait to try the next book, yet, because of that cliff-hanger. Horrible :p!

    Mel@thedailyprophecy.

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    1. Ugh, yes horrid cliffhanger. I jsut finished Her Dark Curiosity and it's really meh. This one was much better IMO.

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  2. Fabulous review Melanie :) I haven't read this series yet but it sucks to see that the love triangle and angst ruined this book to some extent. At least there was a good idea and main character, I think I'll connect with Juliet easily, even if she became less defined as the story went on, clear minded and un-ladylike characters are the best :D

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    1. Thank you! The romance is the main turn off but if you don't mind love triangles that much then it's worth a go. tell me how it goes!

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  3. OMG why is there a romance and love triangle here?! I was fully intrigued when you talked about the plot and the character but yeah. I love creepy books though, so we'll see if I pick this up. Great review, Mel!

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

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    1. It sucks, I hope the romance is way better in the last book, the first two instalments are quite off-putting

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  4. I'm hoping to get to this one really soon! I'm hoping that I like it! Sounds like the writing is creepy, which always wins me over!

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    1. that was certainly not what won me over *shudders* creepy books make me want to hide in a hole. gladly, this wasn't too bad

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  5. I've seen too many gushing reviews of this novel and thought I must really be a weirdo for barely making it through the first chapter. The opening with the lecherous boss, the nick-of-time rescue, and unrealistically loyal friend just rubbed me the wrong way, and I'm not a fan of retellings to begin with. I'm delighted someone else didn't buy the more lame aspects of the book either. You did a great job of keeping this well-written review fair and balanced. Thanks! :-)

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    1. Thank you! The start did feel rather too coincidental however the writing and main character were likable enough to cover up the slight flaws

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  6. Hi Melanie! I've read good and not-so-good reviews on this one. Thank you for the great honest review!

    Precious @ Fragments of Life

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  7. I'm so interested in this series because it has such a good premises, but the love triangle and disintegration of the MC have kept me back from picking this up. Anyway, thanks for the honest review, Mel - I don't think this one is for me!

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    1. Yeah, if love triangles bug the crap out of you then you may want to hold back. I dislike them but they don't irritate me too much

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  8. Hmm, this doesn't sound like something for me. I'm not the biggest fan of love triangles -- and when they're done wrong they just ruin a book for me. And the romance sounds not so good here. Thanks for the great review, Melanie!

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    1. The romance is way worse in the sequel- Her Dark Curiosity. I just finished it and I was so fed up with every aspect of it

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  9. "We have a muted angst going on with the addition of a love triangle..."

    Ugh. No no no. It sounds very interesting, but I am just too far behind to really dip back into the old trope.

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