Since January, I've been doing Epic Recs with Becca of I'm Lost in Books. (She read and reviewed Cinder by Marissa Meyer at my suggestion.) Here is my teensy bit late review for February.
Title: The Madman's Daughter (The Madman's Daughter #1)
Author: Megan Shepherd
Narrator: Lucy Rayner
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Acquired Via: Personal Collection
Release Date: January 29, 2013
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.
The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd is a difficult book for me to review. It's one that was not a bad book, just not something that swept me off of my feet. I think this may be a problem that I have sometimes with reimaginings that are infused with quite a bit of romance. And, truth be told, I don't have a lot of luck with YA horror. That being said, The Madman's Daughter is a reworked classic that stands well on its own.
Starting on a positive note, Juliet Moreau is a YA heroine that I can definitely respect. After being "orphaned" previous to the events in The Madman's Daughter, she found a job to keep her off the streets and out of brothels. Any lady who can make it (even barely) on their own in 19-20th(ish) century London is impressive in my book. I loved how she would not take no for an answer when she set her mind to something, even though most of it was folly. Juliet did get annoying when the love triangle surfaced (yes, there is one of those), but I'll make allowances for her because women tended to be a little silly when it came to love in her time period.
I love old school sci-fi and horror, and I enjoyed the very dark novel that The Madman's Daughter is based on, The Island of Doctor Moreau. There are parallels between the two novels, but The Madman's Daughter is its own book. The Island of Doctor Moreau focuses more on the horrors that the narrator, Prendick, faces on the island. The Madman's Daughter has some of that horror, but is more of a love triangle needing to be sorted against a dark backdrop, making it more appealing and accessible to young readers than its predecessor.
The problem that I had with The Madman's Daughter is what I said before - the romance. It takes away from the tension that is created by the horrors of the island and what Juliet's father has been doing. I found it hard to care whether or not Juliet, Montgomery or Edward survives the island when their focus is more on each other. By the time the plot thickened and there were twists to the triangle, I really didn't care what they did.
Though The Madman's Daughter wasn't my favorite, it's still a book with merit that I know a lot of readers will enjoy. I may not finish this series of Shepherd's, but I will be following her future work with interest.
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Fishpond
Anywho, if you're interested in participating in Epic Recs, you can sign up for it HERE. If you participate, let me know in the comments - I'd love to check out your recs!