Published: January 29, 2013
Balzer + Bray, hardcover, 432pgs
GoodReads Summary: 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.
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.
Why, yes. I did read this 400+ page book in about 4.5 hours, which would normally take me a day or so. To say that The Madman's Daughter was a wild ride would be the understatement of the day. I was hooked from page one and blasted my way through like my life depended on it.
Can we please pause to raise the roof for a snarky badass of a heroine? Because that is exactly what Juliet was and it was an absolute joy to read. I cackled with every wise ass comment, which is exactly what I love in my YA characters. If you're not here to stir the pot, then go home.
Yes, there's definitely a little bit of a love triangle, but surprise! I didn't know what was going to happen, and I love it when the choice is not obvious. I was Team Montgomery from early on, because he and Juliet have sort of a tender backstory. And because it's more of a challenge. After all, Montgomery is her crazy father's protege. Do you see where the struggle lies? I love my love stories with a dash of star-crossed.
Oddly enough, one of my favorite characters is Juliet's father. Oh, don't get me wrong. The guy is a madman. But the way that Shepherd brought him to life so vividly and frighteningly speaks volumes about her abilities as a writer. It's a god-given talent to be able to bring characters to life in such a way that the reader is deeply disturbed. And I am a masochist when it comes to books. If you can disturb me and make my face go white with fear/nausea/disgust, then you are my new favorite person.
The plot kept me guessing, and also disturbed the whole way through. THE WHOLE WAY. What the crap is wrong with people, for real?! All of Dr. Moreau's experimentation was horrifying and gripping and WHY, GOD, WHY?! The ending, for me, didn't quite sit well. I'd say because it was unbelievable, but hey, sci-fi books are supposed to be unbelievable. That being said, I will read on in this series. I have to know what happens next. So many questions to be answered!
(And The Madman's Daughter has been optioned for film, according to the back of the ARC? OH MAN. If this becomes a movie, I will squeal with delight.)