Review: The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd

ImageTitle: The Madman’s Daughter
Author: Megan Shepherd
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: January 29, 2013
Pages: 432
Genre: Young Adult, Gothic, Historical Fiction
Series: The Madman’s Daughter #1
Source: Library
Rating: 5/5
Summary (from Goodreads):

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.

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My Thoughts . . .

The Madman’s Daughter is a delightfully creepy novel, filled with twists and turns that will render you speechless. There is never a dull moment as you blaze through the pages as if the book is on fire.

The story begins in late nineteenth century London. Juliet’s father, Henri Moreau, a once acclaimed surgeon, flees London to a remote island when rumors spread of his alleged gruesome experiments–leaving his wife and daughter, Juliet, a poor reputation. Their once glamorous life vanishes and is replaced with many hardships. After Juliet’s mother dies, Juliet is left to fend for herself. She becomes a maid in the university where her father used to work, and tries to sustain herself. One thing leads to another and before Juliet knows it, she is on a ship with Montgomery, her family’s previous servant and they travel to an island–where her father is alive. Juliet at first is determined to find out if the rumors are true but in the end, traveling to the island was a mistake.

Megan Shepherd crafted this story beautifully–with vivid imagery, well-developed characters, and a storyline that will leave you breathless. I started this novel with high expectations and I must say, they were delivered. The storyline is filled with many events, one after the other, that ensures a rapid pace, only crescendoing as more startling information is unraveled. The bottom line: your mind will explode. Especially in the end, I was not expecting that.

My favorite characters were Henri Moreau, the arrogant, overconfident madman. His experiments were intriguing and I could not believe he accomplished what he did given the time period–he truly was a mad genius. I loved his character solely because of his ill-mind–what can I say, I love mad people. Juliet. Juliet is the perfect protagonist. Her story was heart wrenching and when I discovered the truth behind her medical history, it left me dazed. Although a strong female character, she experiences difficulty containing her own madness because of her father’s blood coursing through her veins. What I admire about Juliet is how she challenged social norms when on the island. Since she is far away from London and the watchful and judgmental eyes of its inhabitants, Juliet began to care less and less about what people would think of her because of her actions. It truly reveals how absurd social norms can be as Juliet broke the expectations of a young woman. I was not very fond of Montgomery in the beginning, but as the story progressed, I started to like him more and more . . . until what happened in the end. Once the family servant, he became Juliet’s father’s assistant, helping him perform his experiments. It became clear that on the island, Montgomery was no longer the young boy Juliet knew from her childhood. On the island, Montgomery was described by Juliet as wild, from the way he dressed to his ability to survive the island’s harsh conditions. He knew his way around the island, it became his home. Then there’s Edward. Edward, Edward, Edward. Edward was the castaway found floating in a dinghy, struggling to stay alive during Juliet and Montgomery’s voyage. They rescued him and then brought him to the island so he could continue to recover. Edward has a mysterious past, which makes him alluring. He claims to have run away from his father in London, but near the end, the starling truth is revealed. Honestly, Edward’s character was the most frightening of all once the truth was uncovered.

Favorite Quotes . . .

“As a surgeon, blood had been his medium like ink to a writer. Our fortune had been built on blood, the acrid odor infused into the very bricks of our house, the clothes that we wore. To me, blood smelled like home.”

“He’d never said the accusations were untrue. Just unfair.” 

“‘We aren’t in London anymore. Who’s going to gossip?’ I hissed. ‘The birds?'”

Overall . . .

The Madman’s Daughter is a book I will never forget–it will haunt me forever. With romance, creepy experiments, and a madman, The Madman’s Daughter is a must read. There are many surprises that will leave you speechless and an ending that will leave you wanting more. Megan Shepherd’s debut novel is hauntingly delightful, and will creep you out. I cannot wait for the second book in the trilogy, Her Dark Curiosity. I am dying to find out what happens with Juliet and the island and its inhabitants that I’m sure will haunt her for the rest of her life. I regret not reading this book sooner, so if you have not done so already, pick up a copy today. You need to read this book.

Already read the book? Leave me a comment below with your thoughts on it, I would love to know what you think of it. And if you have not read it, I hope you will change that shortly.



6 thoughts on “Review: The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd

  1. Pingback: Her Dark Curiosity | Bibliophilia: A Love Story

  2. I don’t know why it took me so long to stop by your blog, but here I am now! *waves*

    I have been wanting to read this for what seems like forever, and your review made me even more motivated to do so. I love creepiness, and the vivid imagery you mention must bring out all the eerie details so well. I need to read this book ASAP, and we should talk about it when I do!

  3. Pingback: Top Ten Tuesday: Get Out of Your Comfort Zone | The Observant Girl Book Reviews

  4. Pingback: The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd | Lit Up Review

  5. Pingback: Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson | Lit Up Review

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