Review: The Madman’s Daughter (The Madman’s Daughter #1) - Megan Shepherd

Release Date: January 29th 2013
Published By: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 432
Goodreads: Add it to your reading list

Rating: 4 out of 5


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.

Review: Abandoned by her father (believed to be dead) when she was just 10 years old, and suffering the death of her mother at the age of 16 - Juliet is left to fend for herself. She works as a maid cleaning a medical surgery just to make ends meet. After her boss tries to have his way with her, she flees, and runs into a boy she knew when she was younger - Montgomery. He tells her that in fact, not only is her father still alive, but he has been working for him this entire time. Not taking no for an answer, Juliet tells Montgomery she is going with him, on the island that her father is living on and working from.

Juliet is the daughter of Dr Henri Moreau - the disgraced doctor/scientist was forced to flee London due to outrage over his vivisection experiments. All these years Juliet thought he was dead - she goes to confront her father as she has no place else to go. On the ship to the island, a shipwrecked passenger is saved - Edward. And so forms the love triangle.

Juliet soon finds the island holds secrets and horrors that she could never have imagined. Her father is more deranged and crazy than she thought possible, and his scientific experiments are causing a mutiny, killing off people one by one.

I loved the historic element to this book. It was hard to put a time on when the story actually takes place because it’s almost as though the setting is otherworldly, with it being set on an island off Australia and all, but we know it’s not set in current time because there are expectations of Juliet to be a lady, there are servants in London, and talk of arranged marriages. Also, not to mention that Juliet wasn’t permitted to learn science, so she had to learn behind her fathers back.

I adored the gothic/horror aspects of the book. Dr Moreau is the true epitome of what makes a mad scientist. I felt horrified during the vivisection scenes of the book and disgusted when I found out exactly what he was doing with the animals and humans. He is clearly insane, and his creations end up being simply put, dangerous.

This story isn’t as overloaded with romance as I thought it was going to be from the outset, and I liked that it wasn’t too in-your-face as it would have distracted from the main horror themes of this book. I did however like the initial to and fro-ing between Juliet and Montgomery against Juliet and Edward. I was Team Montgomery all the way!

Don’t let this book fool you, it packs the old one-two twist. Three quarters of the way through the book and bam, you’re hit with the first twist - which honestly I didn’t see coming, but I appreciated the story telling in the first part of the book that made it all work so beautifully. And then, just when you think you’re in the clear… BAM… the big twist at the end. And there goes my heart. What are you doing to us Megan Shepard?!

This is such a fantastically written book. It is written in such a way that makes the story so rich and full that you become a part of the world Juliet lives in. I am highly anticipating the next book(s) in this series. Definitely one not to miss!


What do you think?

  • Oh, it’s set just off Australia? THIS I DIDN’T KNOW!
    I remember the first time I read the synopsis I was thinking ‘Huh. Sounds like The Island of Doctor Moreau .’
    Yes. Well :P

    Oh, you have me intrigued. I didn’t know it was going to be a series, but that, with a love triangle you liked, and gothiclicious creepiness? SOLD! :D

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