Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

The Madman's Daughter
Author Megan Shepherd
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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.
Review: Inspired by H.G. Well's classic, The Island of Dr. Moreau, Shepherd weaves a Gothic tale worthy of literary stardom. Loyal to the Victorian Gothic horror, The Madman's Daughter begins in London and leads to an uncharted, remote island where experiments in the interest of science border on the insane. However, all advancement comes at a price and despite the horrific nature, some vital knowledge is gained for the benefit of humanity. The gruesome violations will make you wince and squirm, as the tension builds at a sometimes maddening pace. Some scenes are slow and drawn out as if guided by the precision of a surgeon's blade, which adds dark tension similar to Goethe. You'll wish you could look away, but can't, you must see the vivisection, your curiosity will force you to witness what is happening in the medical school basement or island blood house. The pacing of the prose is systemically executed to push and pull the story in a violent wave towards the inevitable outcome. However, there is a bit of a twist that makes the final pages exhilarating. For those who appreciate and love the classic structure of literature, this will be a journey worth taking. It starts in one place and sails towards another world. I use the term journey, because this is not necessarily a quick read, but unravels into chaos and madness, much like a true Gothic horror should. The love triangle also stays true to Victorian tradition and remains fairly chaste--no bodice ripping affairs occur, but the depth of love is satisfied with hope of more to come.  
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*ARC provided by Baltzer & Bray courtesy of Amazon Vine

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  1. This sounds awesome... I am adding this to my TBr shelf for sure!

  2. There's a chance you are qualified to receive a $1,000 Amazon Gift Card.