Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd

sophiebaker's review against another edition

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*This review originally appeared on my blog She Dreams in Fiction.

About a year ago, my book club decided to read The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd. I had my reservations - as it promised to be quite creepy and likely to make me have nightmares - but I put those reservations aside and dove in. Boy am I glad I did! The Madman's Daughter is one of my top favorite books of 2013. Needless to say, when I had the opportunity to review the sequel, I jumped at the chance. I can't tell you how happy I am that Her Dark Curiosity is just as deliciously dark and captivating as the previous book. Since this is a review for a sequel, I will warn that there may be spoilers for the first book.

The second installment of Juliet's story finds our heroine back in London, the ward of an old colleague of her father's, Professor von Stein. When she first arrived in London, she was sick and practically wild from all that she had to deal with on her father's island. She still feels betrayed by Montgomery, remorse over Edward's death and guilt over her father's murder, which makes the kindly Professor kind of the perfect guardian for her. I really loved how Megan Shepherd didn't hide how difficult a time Juliet was having, even with the new and safe lifestyle she has now. Juliet still suffers greatly from the illness brought on by the surgery/experiments her father did to her when she was a child. She's determined to find a cure once and for all, so she's rented a little apartment in a fairly seedy neighborhood to conduct experiments, without having to alert the Professor or "polite society" of what she's up to.

Conflict comes for our girl when she hears about a murderer running rampant through the streets of London. The authorities, led by Scotland Yard's Detective Newcastle, believe it might be the work of a mass murderer; but only Juliet sees that the victims might not be so random. For those who have read the first book, you're sure to recognize the distinct type of wound the killer leaves on the victim. As the reader, I knew full well who the murderer was, but I still loved being able to see all the clues and bits come together to solve this mystery. It was incredibly exciting - and nerve-wracking - to go along with Juliet as she picks up clues and tries to discover the true identity of the murder, whilst trying to avoid him as well. I really enjoyed getting to see more of her friend, Lucy, as she tries to help Juliet solve another mystery that pops up as well. (Man! It's so hard trying not to be spoilery!)

One of the more brilliant parts of this novel was how the author utilized the story of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in multiple ways. First, you have the dual personalities of the murderer, known as the Wolf of Whitechapel. That one, I believe, is quite obvious as a type of Jekyll and Hyde scenario. The more genius usage of this story, however, comes by showing the two conflicting sides of Juliet. She's battling with her primal, wild, animal side against her logical, sweet, human side. It was so heartbreaking to see the inner struggle that Juliet faces, now that she's fully aware of that second side to herself. I can't even imagine what it must be like to have those two conflicting personalities trying to become the dominant one. What a headache! But boy, what a great storytelling tool.

Just like in The Madman's Daughter, Megan Shepherd's beautiful writing style and storytelling skills make this novel shine. The woman sure knows how to turn a phrase and she paints such a vivid picture, you feel as though you're right in middle of the story watching it all unfold. Though I enjoyed the writing quite a lot, I did find that some spots dragged on a little more that seemed necessary. I was also confused and totally thrown off by one certain action of Juliet's (I'm sure you'll know what I'm talking about when you read it), but overall I really felt like her character was real. I just really like Juliet! She's pretty kick butt, even with all the horrors of the past and present threatening to drown her. I was able to predict one of the major twists, but I still loved getting to watch Juliet discover it for herself. With new and intriguing characters to help populate this macabre world, along with old familiar faces, Her Dark Curiosity is a solid sequel in a thrilling series.

So, The Madman's Daughter showed us a different side of The Island of Dr. Moreau. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was the very fitting inspiration for Her Dark Curiosity. I simply can't wait to see what madness the author delivers in the third and final installment, which is inspired by... Frankenstein! Bring it on, Megan Shepherd. Bring it on.

boiledegg's review

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dark mysterious tense


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The full review can be found at The Book Bratz!

When I finished The Madman's Daughter I had no doubt that I was going to love Her Dark Curiosity as well, and I did. But the story was a bit slower then The Madman's Daughter. All considering though Megan Shepherd still left me biting my nails in suspense, avoiding sleep to know what would happen next.

In Her Dark Curiosity Juliet is back in London, trying to rebuild her life after the events on her Father's island, and loosing Montgomery. But since her return Juliet has only been getting sicker, and in order to keep her body from shutting down and rejecting all the foreign organs and tissues she must find a new cure. Soon London is being plagued by a serial killer, whose victims are being killed the same way as the the islanders from The Madman's Daughter. Now Edward is back and desperate for Juliet's help, his Beast side is winning, slowly taking over Edward and Juliet is determined to save herself and Edward before they run out of time.

I am going to blame Juliet's characterization in Her Dark Curiosity on what had happened in The Madman's Daughter, that she is traumatized, hurt, betrayed and heart broken. Otherwise Juliet made making bad decisions and trusting the wrong people a new habit of her's. I am hoping she becomes stronger by the end of this book, because in The Madman's Daughter I had described her as an awesome kick ass herione and this one I feel like she just lacked in that department.

I did how ever like to see her struggling with that dark side of her, the side that is curious about experimentation and in her father's work. (Though she will not admit that) It left me curious in what she was going to do next because she didn't exactly seem stable at times.

This love triangle is going to kill me. I am praying it some how gets resolved in A Cold Legacy because if not I may pull my hair out. I do not like Edward. I don't trust him, he has given Juliet no reason to trust him, yet she is still attracted to him and his Beast side. (I think?) Though she repeatedly tells Edward how much she still loves Montgomery, she still sleeps with him. (I wasn't very happy about that.) So I wasn't a fan of the romance in this book until Montgomery's return. Then I was frustrated again because there is literally no trust between them and it always results in them fighting.

I think if it wasn't for the love triangle being as frustrating as it is I would have gave Her Dark Curiosity five starts instead of four stars. The ending how ever has me itching to start A Cold Legacy.

worst_tragedy's review against another edition

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adventurous dark emotional mysterious sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


libraryladys's review

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Soo.....I liked the first book pretty well. I actually appreciated the surprise ending which, from reading other reviews, was a source of frustration for others.
When this book begins, Juliet Moreau is back in the big city and has been accepted again into society. Life is looking up until Edward Prince finds his way into her social circles. He needs her help to tame The Monster (his murderous side that has been mutilating bodies around London).
Here are the reasons I just had to stop listening:
Shepherd repeats things over and over....I get it, Juliet, you have guilt for your role in your father's murder....and whenever you are with Edward you are "with a muderer" and Edward must find a way to control The Monster. Those phrases probably appear multiple times on each page of the book. Instead of painting a scene or tone, Shepherd bashes you over the head with the information.

lyndsiamanda's review

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Loved the Jekyll and Hyde theme and that the author is using my favorite books from childhood to make this one character Juliet somehow involved with all of them. Tomorrow I'm starting the finale of this series A Cold Legacy that's based around Frankenstein. But now it's going on 2am and I have work tomorrow, I was so into this book that I simply couldn't stop reading it took me two days! I hope the last book lives up to the hype of the first two because I'll be all sad if it doesn't! :)

sherylv's review

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Given to me by Thivyan as a birthday gift.
I loved it, although I was confused considering I read this before #1.
But I really really enjoyed this one. Loved everything about it, the storytelling, the characters. It was haunting (in a good way)

Still have not been able to pick up the first book. However I think I have the 3rd one tucked away somewhere I do not remember.

justlily's review

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Curse of the 2nd novel. Why can no one write a decent second novel? I'm bored out of my skull so.. DNF. I five starred the first book so I'm super disappointed.