Thursday, January 24, 2013

Review: The Madman's Daughter (The Madman's Daughter, #1)

The Madman's Daughter (The Madman's Daughter, #1)Author: Megan Shepherd
Series: The Madman's Daughter, #1
Relase date: January 29th 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Hardcover, 432 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository

Every girl wants to believe the best of her father, doesn’t she? I barely remember mine, but no one could convince me he was anything other than perfect. Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau, once a proper young lady and now no more than a servant, is desperate to learn the truth of her father, the man who abandoned her and her mother and left them to starve. When her father’s former servant and now assistant Montgomery shows up in London, Juliet talks him into taking her to her father, on a remote island full of monsters and peril. While on their way, they rescue a castaway, a young and dangerously attractive gentleman, and he ends up joining them on the island. Juliet is torn between the two men, but more than that, she struggles with her feelings towards her father. Is Dr. Moreau the monster everyone believes him to be? Or is he just a misunderstood scientist, like many brilliant minds before him?

Having read The Island of Dr. Moreau ages ago, I had a pretty clear idea of what to expect from this book, but I didn’t know how far Megan Shepherd would take it, and let me tell you, she took it pretty far. The Madman’s Daughter has more than its fair share of grotesque creatures, doctor Moreau’s almost-people with scales, antlers and everything in between. Some are more intelligent, some barely a step above their true form, but all of them are deformed in one way or another. What the good doctor lacks in compassion, he makes up for in sheer brilliance – no sane person would want to go anywhere near his crazy factory, but one can’t deny that the results are pure genius.

A painful bellow tore through the night. I kicked the sheets off, swear pouring down my neck. Was it the sheepdog? I didn’t know any creature that could make such an ungodly sound. As the screams dragged on, haunting my every breath, my mind started to wander to darker and darker places. Wondering what could cause an animal to scream like that.

Juliet father, apparently clueless to the situation he’d left her in, expects her to be the lady she was raised to be while he was still a London doctor and a respected member of the society. This I found to be the utterly unbelievable, more unbelievable than the creatures he was creating. That he would not know, I can believe. That he wouldn’t want to know, I’d even expect. But that Juliet wouldn’t lash out and tell him instead of subjecting herself over and over again to his condescending sermons, I simply refuse to accept. Here is the culprit, the man who abandoned her, left her to the mercy of others, essentially forced her mother to prostitute herself and then killed her, all to chase wild experiments and create abominations on a god forsaken island. Above all, I don’t see how or why Montgomery wouldn’t explain to him the condition in which he found Juliet when he arrived to London. It makes no sense to me.

Whatever it was – his new discovery – it had consumed him enough to abandon everything else in his life. It was more important than his reputation, his wife, even his daughter.

Which brings me to Montgomery and his weird case of Stockholm syndrome. He was Dr. Moreau’s servant and the only one the doctor didn’t abandon, but as nice as that sounds, he’s the one who got the short end of the stick. Forced to help Moreau with his crazy experiments, he grew up surrounded by monsters, with not a human in sight. Since he never knew anything but the life he had with the crazy scientist, his almost blind obedience to Dr. Moreau was certainly understandable, but it made him a very lousy love interest. For the life of me I couldn’t understand why Juliet would be attracted to him. Yes, at first there were the childhood memories, that link of two children who suffered through a trauma together, but as the story progressed and Montgomery continued being the doctor’s punching bag, a servant in all but name, that initial draw should have faded, leaving nothing but a clear image of a man with no backbone behind. However, Juliet continued to find excuses and endless justifications for Montgomery, and although they were mostly true, they should have invoked pity, and not passion.

Edward the castaway was a different story altogether. Juliet was equal parts uneasy around him and attracted to him. Yes, he was intriguing, but she sensed something was not quite right with him. And yet, unlike Montgomery, he was a proper gentleman, and therefore fitting for Juliet, which got him a full support from her father.

The big plot twist towards the end wasn’t completely unexpected, but I still liked the way it was handled. It increased my overall enjoyment (and my rating) and made me more excited about the second book, despite the fairly disappointing ending. Megan Shepherd has a talent for writing horror, which makes me especially glad that we’ll see two more books in this series. I just wish she’d stay away from tropes altogether, and far, far away from love triangles.


  1. I liked the gothic feel of this one and the connections to the original book but I found myself kind of wishing this wasn't a series. It actually made a good standalone!

  2. I have this in my tbr pile, I won it from epic. I had no idea this was book one..GRRR! The twists and turns while slightly predictable have me intrigued. While you didn't flip over this, I am glad you enjoyed it. Awesome review!

  3. I liked this one more than you did Maja, but I completely agree with you on Juliet. I loved how strong she was in every area but with regard to her father, and I just wanted to scream at her to let him have it whenever he berated her for not being a lady. I was all OPEN YOUR MOUTH AND TELL HIM WHAT HIS THOUGHTLESSNESS AND SELFISHNESS BROUGHT YOU. *takes deep breaths* I could understand Montgomery's position, so his inability to defy Dr. Moreau for most of the story made sense to me, but I get your frustration:) Lovely review as always my friend!

  4. You have an excellent point regarding Juliet continuing to take the verbal abuse rather than speak up and let him know exactly how she was living and the conditions she was forced into in order to survive. I think I recall a section where she thought about this and wasn't she ashamed for what she was doing in London? Which again, I don't understand since it was never her fault to begin with.
    She definitely does need to stay away from love triangles but I figure that's too much to ask. Great review though, Maja. :)

  5. I can't wait to read this one. I plan on reading it along with the original novel for my classics double challenge this year. I did not expect this to be a series (I know it's a YA and therefore should've been a given). Despite some of your issues, I'm really curious about it. I've read somewhere that many movie production houses have been fighting over the book's rights. Great review as always, Maja!

  6. You know, for whatever this book never really appealed to me, even though it does sound interesting. I have read your review and Bonnie's and neither one of your are blown away by this one. I just don't think it is for me, even though I would like the horror aspects. Thanks for being honest!

  7. Oh I want to read this one. I haven't read Dr. Moreau, but I've seen some of the movies made after the book. I know I'd want to throw the book b/c of her father and how he treats her, but I still think there is enough there to make me want to read it. Yep, need to pick this one up. May library book it.

  8. This is currently making eyes at me from my TBR pile and after reading your review, I'm even more excited to start it! While it wasn't a total knock out, I'm glad you enjoyed it overall. I love a good horror novel, and I haven't really connected with too many YA horror novels lately, so I'm excited to read this. Great review!

  9. I feel like this is one of those books I'd really enjoy but then write a snarky review of because of the love triangle, kind of like my experience with Crewel, which is why I definitely don't intend to pick this one up. I especially love that you brought up so many illogical fallacies but were still able to enjoy this, so if the sequel is any better, this is a series I just may return to sometime. Wonderful review as always, Maja! :)

  10. Honestly I love the sound of it. It seems different and unusual. At least for me. Only the love triangle! Dammit. But still I really hope I'll somehow get over it. Thank you again! Wonderful review! :)

  11. Oh I think quite a few authors could do with staying away from love triangles, if not most. I wasn't fond of that aspect here... which isn't suprising. But anyway, I'm pleased to see you mostly enjoyed this! I really liked it too, despite a few issues, and definitely look forward to the next book. Especially after that evil ending... Great review, lovely!

  12. Even though I tend to have a love/hate relationships with love triangles, this actually sounds like the most exciting part of this book. I don't think this one would appeal to me. Thanks for your lovely, honest review Maja :)

  13. I've heard very mixed things about this book. It sounds like it's worth a read though and that it's one with quite a few monsters and creatures in it.

    I kept getting it mixed up with The Mad Scientist's Daughter at first, but this one seems like it actually focuses more on that kind of element that Clarke's did.

    great review! :)

  14. I like love triangles when done well... so glad to hear that those and the way ending was handled was a positive.

    Happy reading with <3, Brandi @ Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  15. The first time I saw this book, I didn't care too much for it, but now, I'd really like to read it. It sounds intriguing. It might not be the best book, and I may get annoyed by the love interests, but the concept just sounds very fascinating! Lovely review, Maja. I hope the sequel is better for you. :)

  16. I really want to read The Island of Dr. Moreau (and then The Madman's Daughter afterwards). I'm not a huge horror fan, but every once in a while I crave something different from the norm, and this book seems to fit that bill. I've read a lot about this love triangle, though, so I'm going to have to wait for a time when I'm not going to be super cynical and frustrated about the love triangle. I'm glad you were able to enjoy the novel overall, Maja, even if you didn't love all the tropes that were used.

  17. I didn't even know about this one. And I haven't read TIODM either but I want to read them both now. I don't like the idea of another love triangle though.

  18. I've been undecided on this one, but I'm happy that you enjoyed it for the most part! You really have me intrigued with the quote you used... and with Edward! Wonderful review :)

  19. Well, I have not heard much about this book. But it looks interesting, I have not heard anything about this "island" in any other books, but it sounds new and unique. Love the gruesome animals and creatures. Scaaaary!
    LOVE the idea and the cover but I ABSOLUTELY HATE LOVE TRIANGLES!
    LOVE your review, dear Maja
    Your reader,


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