Genre: Young Adult, Gothic Thriller/Retelling
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Hit the shelves on: January 29, 2013
Find on Barnes & Noble
Summary (from Goodreads)
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.
How’d it get on my shelf?
I added this as my February read for the 2013 Monthly Key Word Reading Challenge.
I was drawn in by the title and cover, and after reading the synopsis this book immediately made it to my list of must reads. I’m also a fan of most retellings I’ve always been a little bit drawn to Gothic thrillers like Frankenstein and The Most Dangerous Game (there weren’t a lot of books I studied in school I didn’t like). It’s been a long time since I’ve read or seen the movie The Island of Dr. Moreau which made this book even more intriguing.
I actually had a hard time rating this one. I was torn between 3.5 and 4 stars…. there were some things I loved and some things I was irritated by. Overall I ran through the story quickly and it held my interest the whole time so I decided to round up to a 4. So here are some of the things I was drawn in by vs. some of the things I wished were different….
What I loved:
- The Victorian setting. I just really love fiction written in that era.
- The darkness and madness surrounding the different characters (especially the Doctor). Does genius automatically mean being crazy?
- The love triangle (I’m a romantic sucker *shrugs* I can’t help it). Montgomery, Edward, Montgomery, Edward…. hmmmm….
- Juliet’s curiosity about the darker aspects of science (and of her own thoughts). She didn’t just get sucked into being exactly what women were supposed to be and think like during that time.
- The way the Island itself was described, it seemed like a living thing itself.
- “The island had its claim on me. I tore at the thorns with my bare hands, feeling stings of pain but not caring. The island wasn’t going to make me its prisoner” – pg. 141
- The added family element which twists the original version of the story. The idea of the mad doctor having a family… it gave some insight into who he was before, and how he became what he did.
- The scientific aspect and the idea of how quickly a line can be drawn between scientific discovery and things that just shouldn’t be messed with. It reminded me of Frankenstein a bit.
- Juliet’s determination to survive any situation.
What I didn’t:
- Juliet’s refusal to admit things to herself; sometimes I felt more like she was just refusing to see things that were in front of her face rather than just being naive
- I wished there would have been a little more insight into some of the creatures (especially Jaguar)
- The hold Juliet let her father have on her after all the things he’d done (even after she admits it to herself)
- I was able to predict a lot of what was going to happen
- There were times when I really like Juliet, and then there were times I hated her… I understand she had a right to be confused about her feelings about a lot of things, but damn did she have to admit something blatantly one second and then ignore the next?
- I wish that there was a little more action happening while they were on the island… it’s not that it was missing completely, there just wasn’t as much as I think there could have been.
Overall I really liked the twist on H.G. Well’s story… I would recommend it to anyone who likes Gothic thrillers and retellings. I was impressed with Megan Shepherd’s writing style, and am excited that it’s supposed to be a trilogy (cliffhangers drive me crazy!)… also the second book is (according to Goodreads) supposed to be based on The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde (which I love).