Monday, January 14, 2013

Review: The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd

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The Madman’s Daughter
Megan Shepherd
Series: The Madman’s Daughter #1
Publication date: January 29th 2013
by Balzer + Bray

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.

*A copy was provided by Harper Collins for review purposes*
Well… The Madman’s Daughter is clearly its own kind of disturbing! It’s cruel and grisly–I kind of loved it! If you enjoy bizarre “mad doctor” stories, if you enjoy Gothic novels in general, then this book is for you!

As a big fan of Gothic novels, I can tell you that they are much more than just a book. They stand out. Being able to write a good Gothic novel is an art in of itself. The biggest part of what makes them great is the rich atmosphere that they exude. If an author is able to create a story that sends shivers down your spine, thrusting you into every sinister nook and cranny of its setting, then that author will have my heart, and Megan did just that! It’s the first thing I noticed when I started The Madman’s Daughter, and it’s what I loved the most about it. I could vividly picture this dark, eerie world filled with secrets that you just know are bound to both disturb and astound you. A mad scientist with crazy ideas and a whole island isolated from the rest of the world to create experiments… It’s a good sign that you’re going to get a lot of bat-shit craziness! You have been warned!

The dark vibe in conjunction with a driven protagonist gives us the perfect combination for such a story. It would have been very unsatisfying had she been a damsel in distress; this story needed someone just like Juliet. Someone determined and intelligent. Someone who suspects that she, also, inherited a little madness from her father. Not batting an eye when you cut off the head of a (live) rabbit is a good sign of such a fact. But when she decides to go after the truth, she shows fearlessness and tenacity. Seeing her stand up to her father is exhilarating! I adored her character. I will admit I was not a huge fan of the romance, however. We do have a love triangle which I think was not especially necessary, but did amount to something at the end, at least. Neither boys were anything special to me, they never got into my heart as far as love interests. They were great characters though and I enjoyed the part they played in the story. Likewise, every side character in the book is wonderful and… unusual. They’re either a scientific experiment or a little off in the head. Balthazar is my personal favorite. We meet him fairly early on and his disfigurement is only one part of his charm. What was the most disturbing for me, was how far my imagination would go when I started to think of these creatures. It’s all kinds of messed up. I freaked myself out time after time! Get ready to meet some strange individuals!

Going hand in hand with a great Gothic novel is the underlying mystery throughout the book. How far has the doctor gone? What is his big plan? What exactly are they so afraid of on the island? I was both amazed and terrified by this madness that surrounds not only the doctor, but the whole island and their inhabitants. I wasn’t even disappointed when I caught on to the bigger twists before I was meant to. Although one of them is the kind of obvious that makes me think we were supposed to know. Regardless, the highly secretive and cryptic atmosphere is maintained all through to the end.

With rich writing that propels you into this gloomy, unnerving island, separated from civilization without chance of escape, The Madman’s Daughter is going to be a hit amongst those who love eerie Gothic thrillers with a side of grotesque!

4 Hot Espressos

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.
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39 Responses to “Review: The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd”

  1. Jennifer Messerschmidt

    I’m totally into the whole mad scientist/doctor plot so I’ve been looking forward to this. Dark and disturbing horror is my kind of thing. It’s just realistic disturbing that I don’t like. I’m kind of weird that way. This sounds awesome. Love the creepy and mysterious vibe. Even though we are suppose to know I like to be kept kind of guessing. Although I’m always disappointed by unnecessary love triangles I am still excited to read this.

  2. Amy

    Ohh I am totally excited to get to this one now!! Eileen was a doll and sent her copy to me since I didn’t want to get it from Edelweiss and not have a chance to get to it in time. This one sounds fab! Awesome review love!!

  3. Jenni @ Alluring Reads

    This sounds really good! I was talking to Christina this morning about how I may be giving historical another go here soon and this may just fit into that category. I love the mystery of it all! And I really enjoyed Yovanoff’s writing in PV (which felt pretty gothic-esque to me) Any way, love that there is a great mystery here. I liked the movie The Island of Dr, Moreau so I am curious to see how it plays out here!

  4. Christina

    I knew you’d like this. You love creepy books. And gothic books. And CREEPY, GOTHIC books. Are there non-creepy gothic books? *ponders*

    The love triangle was the biggest drawback for everyone. If only they’d done that a bit differently, this would be getting close to fives across the board, rather than fours. I agree about the twist at the end making a real difference, though.

    Ha, I’m pretty sure Blythe loves Balthazar too!

  5. Sam

    Ooh you and I had similar thoughts with this one. I loved the atmosphere Shepherd created in this, especially at the island. I’m really looking forward to seeing what she does with next book now – particularly after the killer ending! Great review, Giselle. Love the new look around here, by the way!

  6. Ems

    I’ve just gotten into the creepy gothic novels with Kenneth Oppel’s Frankenstein series. It’s made me more anxious to keep up with the genre and REALLY anxious to read this one. Great review!

  7. Molli @ Once Upon a Prologue

    I’m reading this now, and hope to finish it today so I can pull my favorite quotes for my tour stop. I agree with you – Juliet is no damsel, thank GOODNESS. I’m also not sold on the love triangle so far, though I do like one boy over the other. Fabulous review, Giselle. I love all your thoughts on the Gothic novel!

  8. Kaina

    Just reading your review makes me want to pick it up :D It sounds crazy interesting, I don’t really think I’ve ever read a Gothic novel but I may just have to pick this one up. Great review! :)

  9. Alexa Y.

    A friend just lent me this one and I am so, so excited to dig in. It sounds creepy and mysterious and all sorts of intriguing – and your review has made me even more excited! I hope it’s just as good as I’m expecting it to be :)

  10. Blythe Harris

    I’m glad you enjoyed this one as much as I enjoyed it, Giselle! And I agree about the overall batshit craziness of the entire novel – I LOVED IT! And I loved Juliet, too. Her spunk – for lack of better word – was absolutely awesome, and I loved how snarky she was, and I ESPECIALLY love how she stood up to her asshole of a father. And YAY! Balthazar was my favorite too. He’s so freaking adorable! Awesome review, Giselle! Again, I’m so glad you liked this one, too!

  11. Candace

    Yeah I don’t think this one is for me. I like Gothic but this sounds like something that would just be too disturbing for me. So glad you enjoyed it though! Your review just convinced me that I was right in thinking that its probably not one I could handle.

  12. Audris

    Wow, I am really excited for this one now! Creepy vibe, great writing, strange island, those all add up to my type of book. I can’t wait to pick it up now. Great review!

  13. Katie @ BlookGirl

    I’ve been SO intrigued by and curious of this book and am happy to see that you enjoyed it overall. I haven’t read a good Gothic novel in a looong time, and it sounds like The Madman’s Daughter fits the bill.

    This was a great review, Giselle, and certainly makes me want to give it a read, sooner rather than later! Thanks for sharing your thoughts :-) <3

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