The Madman's Daughter
by Megan Shepherd
Pages: 420 (paperback)
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: January 29th 2013
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.
"There's a darkness inside you. Don't deny it - you know it's true. You feel it. It's the animal in you, stirring, hungry for unnatural things."
The Madman's Daughter is insanely creepy and dark with flashes of pure genius running through it's pages. The book is based on H.G. Well's The Island of Dr. Moreau, which I have never read. If I'm honest, I'm glad that I went into this without knowing anything about Moreau as it enabled me to make my own discoveries about the characters. I got strong Frankenstein vibes when reading this book and it delves deeply into the whole meaning of creation. It is intense and descriptive and it transports you into the deadly and monstrous world that is, Moreau's playground.
The story is told from the point of view of the main protagonist, Juliet. It's her story as she flees London after an unfortunate incident with a certain professor with shameless grabby hands and her journey as she travels to an Island off the coast of Australia. The trip alone is dangerous and the crew aren't best pleased with a woman aboard. However, whatever Juliet faces on the ship is nothing to the mysteries and horrors that await her on the Island. But she has no where else to go and she needs to know. Is her father a genius or simply the madman London has claimed him to be?
"Years of my life had hinged on this one question: Why type of man was my father?"
A lot of authors struggle to keep the suspense throughout their books but that was not an issue with this one. It was fast paced with several different lingering mysteries throughout the story. I found that while Shepherd was unraveling one clue I was forgetting about anther, making the moments when everything came into focus all the more shocking. There wasn't a single point where I thought I knew where the book was going and it managed to keep me guessing right up until the very last page.
"This poor animal carved into a little boy by a madman."
The character's were brilliant. Throughout reading this I felt hatred towards the Dr. Pity for Edward and admiration towards Juliet. Okay, there were one or two moments where Juliet was a little slow off the mark but I supported the difficult decisions she made. Then there was Montgomery! Damn this boy broke my heart. His character, like all the others in this story go through so many trails that their morals are questionable. However, I don't care. Team Montgomery all the way!
Overall this book is just pure genius! It makes you question what it means to be human and what humanity really costs. I feel like there is so much more these character's have to offer and I can't wait to read the second book in the series. I just hope that it is as dark and captivating as this instalment because right now, Megan Shepherd has become one of my favourite authors!
"As a surgeon, blood had been his medium like ink to a writer."