Sunday, May 12, 2013

4 stars: The Madman's Daughter (The Madman's Daughter series, #1) by Megan Shepherd

"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."


Published January 29th 2013 by Balzer + Bray

This book is equal parts Animal Farm (instead of totalitarianism, this was imperialism) and Heart of Darkness, with a hint of Flowers for Algernon. Those books were required reading for me in school, so that should tell you something about this book; it's not junk food for the brain. I honestly wouldn't even consider it YA.

I need to have a whole separate paragraph to explain that last sentence. Yes, it is about a teenager, but not all books about teens fit into the YA genre. It seems to me that in order to give this series a built in audience (YA romance readers), romance was added to the story. There was even a love triangle. Dear readers, I LOVE love triangles. I didn't love this one. In fact, I didn't feel that romance was appropriate in this story. Murder was happening all around Juliet, and her own life was at stake. Plus, she had learned how horrible her father really was, and she needed to deal with that, all while trying to survive. Juliet, there is a time and a place for a rifle and a gun, and this situation required a rifle. Sweetie, the guns can wait several months. This post is intentionally missing the "love story" tag, because no one should read this one for the romance. I couldn't find myself rooting for either guy, and I pretty much booed whenever there was a romantic thought in Juliet's head.

The Madman's Daughter was incredibly well-written (character development, world-building, and so on). Shepherd took Juliet on one hell of a journey--literally; she was on a boat for weeks to get to a far-away location, where nothing was anything like home. While she developed some closure, I wouldn't say that she experienced personal growth. Since this is part of a series, it's possible that we'll see a change later. There was a very incredible twist near the end of the book that I did not see coming. It takes a good writer to pull that off!

While this book was well-written, it just was not for me. It took me over a month to read, and I was sure I would never finish it... but I forced myself. This is a book I could see read in English classes in the future, which is why I can't rate it too low, since it has a message (in my opinion anyway) and good writing. 

Warning: contains lots of detailed scenes with syringes and gore (I had to skim through some parts because of it).
 

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