The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

halynah's review

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A perfect example of Gothic novel and definitely a far more interesting retelling, than the original The Island of Dr. Moreau .
Can't say that I'm happy with the ending unless there is a sequel telling us about Juliet's fate. I feel sorry for Edward - maybe she would be a good influence on him given a chance. There were plenty of great secondary characters, my favourite - Jaguar.
The novel is creepy and not for the sensitive reader (though I deem myself sensitive and still I've read it). All in all - either you like this book, or it's just not for you, so I'm sure there will be both stellar and condemning reviews. Still, highly recommended.

exlibrisphoebe's review

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brianne_k's review

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It was pretty good, but Juliet flipflopping between the two love interests reallllly bugged me. I know the tagline on the front of the book says "even in the darkest of places, even love is deadly" but I was not expecting it to be like it was.
however, I will continue on with this trilogy.

ambeesbookishpages's review

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The full review can be found at The Book Bratz!

What an ending! The Madman's Daughter is a thrilling story of romance, horror, and science fiction woven together in a perfect combination, keeping you on your toes the entire time!

Juliet Moreau lived a life of privilege until her father's scandal came to light. Though never proven Dr. Moreau was labeled a "Madman" for the gruesome experiments he was accused of. But when Juliet learns that he is alive, and experimenting on an uncharted island, she must go and see if these accusations are true. Though Juliet was never expecting what she stumbled upon.

The Madman's Daughter is a very strange read. Very good, but strange. I almost classify it as creepy, because it is. The mere thought that these things could be possible have my skin crawling. Dr. Moreau is a genius, I won't lie. The man figured out out to Vivisect animals together, and create a human like creature that can walk, talk, and complete basic human needs. That is totally insane, right? But at the same time the man is completely insane.

I liked the characters for the most part. Especially Dr. Moreau's creations. Megan could have went in many different ways in writing the Beasts but she chose a more realistic way. The Beasts weren't perfect, all of them had some form of deformity to them. Of the Beasts, Balthazar is my favorite, I easily forget that he is a dog/bear hybrid, but more like an over sized child.

I enjoyed Juliet's character, though she did frustrate me with her choices sometimes. I can see her growing into an awesome herione in the future novels of this trilogy. I wasn't a huge fan of Edward, actually I didn't like him at all. He was a character that I constantly questioned his motives and waited for something to happen with. Montgomery, I loved him. Flawed, and imperfect with a huge heart. Totally swoon worthy.

The one aspect of this book I was disappointed about was the love triangle. At certain points in the novel you would think she was choosing one guy but then she was go and choose the other. In my own opinion, I like her and Montgomery, they have a history and understand each other. Juliet and Edward just didn't have those fireworks.

All in all I really enjoyed The Madman's Daughter. It was an enjoyable read that left me with goose bumps.

RATING: ★★★★★

lohhre's review against another edition

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Overall it was enjoyable. Some parts were pretty predictable and the love triangle was kinda annoying but besides that it kept me engaged.

bookwrm129's review

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I wanted to cry at the ending. How could he do such a thing?

lemonbun's review

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This book started off really strong. In the beginning chapters it's already kind of gory and dark. Though as the book went on, the pacing seemed a little off. I expected more of the morally wrong experiments. Instead it ended being a lot of time on a boat, hanging around an island, running around a jungle and being stuck in a completely uninspiring love triangle. I hate love triangles and it was terrible here since the setting and plot just didn't call for it. It pitched Juliet in a bad light since in some few instances she's shown as a strong and dark character, claiming herself to be logical, but then she'll go and spend 80% of her brain power on these boys who don't really have anything to offer.
When I picked up the book the plot sounded so great and unique, I was excited. I think what sort of derailed some of that hype was learning that this is a retelling. The exciting parts about the book aren't original ideas, and everything in-between (bar the first couple of chapters) feels like filler. If anything this makes me want to read the original story.
The good things about this book is that when there is action it is written well. The stakes feel high. Unfortunately though, in the middle there will be random pining over Edward/Montgomery, which takes away from the moment. The father is an interesting character but imo could have been either more mad (he really didn't feel that insane) or should have juggled the line between morally right and wrong. Juliet also, had her times to shine but it could've gone further, especially if the love triangle was at least dialled down. It felt like she had a lot of untapped potential. I felt the ending and beginning was strong, and some spots in-between. I read this for Halloween and did wish it was more gruesome or at least creepier. The chapters that were gruesome and creepy really played off well so clearly the author could successfully write that type of thing, so it's just a shame there wasn't more of it!

arkascha's review

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Did not finish. Having read the original I had a sense for what this book likely was about. However, using this much (very descriptive) animal torture to bring across the point about something that is obvious from the beginning makes me wonder about the intentions of the author. As for the overall plot and MCs, there are many not-so-favorable reviews that have already expressed well all that is wrong with this novel, so no need for me to go on a repeat-bash.

mollywetta's review

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This and other reviews on my blog, wrapped up in books

I think horror is going to be big in 2013, which is fine by me. I'm all for dark and creepy. The Madman's Daughter definitely delivers on both counts. Especially because I had overlooked/forgotten that the particular madness of Juliet's father was EXPERIMENTING ON ANIMALS SO THAT THEY RESEMBLE, SPEAK, AND BEHAVE AS HUMANS. I was kind of glad I didn't realize that when I began the novel. All the signs pointing to it were there, but I still had that "oh, god, oh can't be that because it's just too gross and not possible and ew, ew, ew..." feeling throughout the book, which is pretty much the point of horror, is it not? (Sorry if I ruined it for you, but hey, it's right there in the synopsis).

The world that Shepherd has created is atmospheric. It's got the Victorian Gothic vibe going from the beginning. I grew up reading Edgar Allan Poe, and this gave me the same thought-provoking shudders as his creepier short stories.

Juliet Moreau is a conflicted heroine from the beginning. She's doing what she has to in order to survive after rumors about her father's medical experiments forces him to flee (she thinks he's dead) and her mother dies from illness. She finds a job as a maid at the medical hospital where her father used to work, cleaning up the bloody operating rooms. It was great to meet a spunky heroine who wasn't at all interested in ball gowns or parties.

A disturbing incident at the college prompts her to think her father might still be alive, but when she seeks him out, she find her childhood companion and former servant, Montgomery, instead. He's back loading up with supplies to take back to the island. Though he is reluctant, they set out on a voyage to an island to meet her father after another incident at the college ensures Juliet will no longer be able to work there (both inciting incidents at the college, the one that leads Juliet to Montgomery and the one that point of no return that prompts her to beg Montgomery to take her with him, were problematic for me, but other reviews rave about the beginning of the book, so maybe it was just a personal problem of taste and believability).

While sailing, they rescue a castaway, Edward. This is where my main complaint with the story began. Juliet had immediately developed feelings for him, often admiring his broad, strong shoulders. Then, nearly immediately, she starts to think about Edward as well. Through the rest of the novel, she's constantly vacillating between the two. I don't always have a problem with competing love interests, and the set up here had potential. While the wild man vs. civilized gentleman dichotomy is nothing new, the particulars here, especially when I think about how the ending inverted these stereotypes and consider the reasons Juliet's father had in pushing her toward Edward and away from Montgomery, I kind of liked the idea of a love triangle with this sort of tension. It was more the nature of Juliet's mooning over them that I thought was a little over the top. I mean, she's on a JUNGLE ISLAND with her MAD FATHER and lots of other CREEPY HAPPENINGS. Kissing would not be at the front of my thoughts if I was dealing with all of Juliet's troubles. I do think that people can develop affectionate for one another even under the most dire circumstances—for instance, Finnikin and Evanjalin or Froi and Quintana in The Lumatere Chronicles—but here, the first person treatment of Juliet's "spinning" head detracted from the core of the story—the gore! While Juliet's fixation on romance did grate on me at times, I still enjoyed her as a character. Her curiosity and dark nature make her stand out from other YA heroines.

While the novel is more suspenseful than action-packed, there were several darkly creepy scenes that kept me up late and had me fearful of nightmares. This is not a novel for the faint of heart (particularly if you are a hardcore animal rights activist—I'm vegetarian, and I was kind of squicked out at a couple of parts). Had it not been for the killer ending, unexpected and heartbreaking and utterly awesome, I might not have recommended this book so highly, but readers who can overlook the dueling love interests will enjoy it. The concept is as relevant today as it was when The Island of Dr. Moreau was originally published. What role does morality play in the search for scientific discoveries? What are the limits, if any? What is at the core of human nature, and can it be fabricated? As far-fetched as the events in the novel are, with genetic engineering and organ transplants, they don't seem completely impossible. This is a novel that makes you think as well as cringe.

This is the first in a trilogy, though I hope it will take the route of His Fair Assassin (Grace Mercy) by Robin LaFevers and Lunar Chronicles (Cinder) by Marissa Meyer and feature interlocking stories in a common world rather than continue to follow Juliet's story. I'm a big fan of series taking this form, and from the brief blurb for the sequel to The Madman's Daughter, it appears as if it will be a retelling of Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. I feel like Juliet has had enough adventures, and while I enjoyed Megan Shepherd's writing, I don't think I'd pick up the sequel if it still features Juliet as a main character.

Note: I received a copy from the publisher for review.

asiyahrana's review

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dark hopeful medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated