Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Madness Is In The Blood

Expected Publication: January 29th, 2013
The Madman's Daughter (The Madman's Daughter # 1)
By: Megan Shepherd
Balzer + Bray
ISBN-13: 9780062128027

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.


     Juliet Moreau is just trying to survive, working as a maid among lecherous old men in the University she cleans for a living.  At sixteen, she still remembers the charmed life she shared with her Mother and Father, before the latter (a famous scientist and professor) was accused of heinous crimes and destroyed by scandal.  Forced to flee London, Juliet has always assumed that her Father, the infamous Dr. Moreau was dead.  Otherwise why hadn't he come to save her and her Mother?  But when she discovers that her Father has been living on a remote island, Juliet accompanies his assistant (their former servant boy) Montgomery back, to ascertain for herself whether or not the accusations were true.  With her Mother dead, she has no other family left and wants to believe in his innocence.  Did her Father practice the illegal vivisection, the dissection of live animals?  Or was he doing something far more horrific and with longer-lasting consequences.  With the help of castaway Edward, she is determined to figure out whether her Father is innocent once and for all.  Juliet is also torn between the passion she has for Montgomery and her interest in Edward.  But when the natives' restless natures explode, will any of them live long enough to escape?  
     This book was truly astounding.  My only complaint being that yet again, there is a FREAKING LOVE TRIANGLE!!!   So sick of them that I could scream.  Although, the ending definitely resolved the situation fairly quickly.  The moral issues in this book are ones that still make themselves relevant to me, a reader almost 150 years after the original story by H.G. Wells was written.  Juliet is a truly likable, feisty heroine.  I identified with her quest to believe in her Father's innocence and the mixed feelings/confusion she had about the origins of the natives on the island.  Dr. Moreau was completely insane - brilliant in an entirely twisted way.  The truth about Juliet's disease and injections made me completely revolted, but I still loved her.  That says something great for Shepherd's writing.  The dilemma of Montgomery was so epically drawn and still completely true to the split loyalties of someone doing something they know is wrong - but doing it out of compassion and love.  Overall, the shocking ending to the book, including the conclusion to the mysterious identity of a 'creature' slaughtering villagers and who escapes the island, had me gripped and practically howling in frustration.  In certain ways I am happy that this is going to be a series after the strong feelings it invoked in me, but I am also very hesitant to believe that another book would be as good as this one.  Highly recommended for readers who like a little science-fiction/horror fix, with a dash of classic literature thrown in.  A proclivity to Gothic romance can't hurt either.

VERDICT:  4.90/5  Stars

*I received this book as part of Around the World ARC Tours, run by the lovely Princess Bookie. No favors or money were exchanged for this review. It will be available for purchase on January 29th, 2013.*

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