The Madman's Daughter
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
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.
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 cliché 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!