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Tuesday, February 5, 2013
The Madman's Daughter (The Madman's Daughter, #1)
Megan Shepherd
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: January 29, 2013
Source: Publisher
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
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.

It's been a long time since I've read something this gorgeous. I haven't read the book it's originally based on, mostly because in general I am not much of a classics girl. Even so, it only took me a few pages to fall in love with this story. A dark and gothic tale, it stole my heart. I had a few issues with it, but I'm not sure there's anything that could keep me from loving it. It was most certainly a heavy read. And oh, god, was it addicting. I literally picked this book up and didn't set it down even once until I turned to the last page.

Juliet starts off a maid, working to eke out a living. It's not the life she wanted, but she had no choice with her father believed dead and her mother passed away. She makes the best of it because she has to. At the same time, when she sees her chance to leave, to find out the truth about her father, she jumps at the chance. She's a brave girl, and there's something innately mysterious about her. She has an inner darkness that terrifies her and that she's never explored, but a part of her revels in that darkness and loves it.

Montgomery is the kind of guy that makes my heart beat just a bit faster. He can be sweet and protective, but there's still a bit of a darker side to him. He's always a bit disheveled, at home at the island where Juliet's father lives. He's not the perfect society man. He seems very calm and collected a lot of the time, but he has a temper that flares when he gets angry. He obviously cares deeply about Juliet, but that might not be enough.
If Montgomery is the type of guy who makes my heart speed up a bit, Edward is the type of guy who makes it race. No matter how much I love Montgomery, he can't hold a candle to how much I love Edward. Edward looks like a perfect gentleman on the outside. Sweet, kind, caring. Loves to read. But inside, he's a bit wilder. Primal, even. There's mysteries to him that aren't fully revealed for a while. He's a castaway, the sole survivor of a shipwreck, rescued by the crew that takes Juliet and Montgomery to the island. I just don't even have a sufficient vocabulary to describe how much I love Edward. I really don't. But I do so adore him. He's ridiculously charming. And god, that darkness is sexy.

I love gothic stories. That's not a secret. The dark romance in them always gets me, and I love mysteries and suspense and secrets. They're always gorgeous even when they're not perfect, and they never fail to mess with my heart. The Madman's Daughter, gorgeous, aching story that it was, was no exception.

Juliet doesn't live a very exceptional life in the beginning, not until she realizes that her father might be alive. Then she picks up and is determined to go to him and uncover the mysteries of her past. This is where the gothic part of the tale truly begins, as Juliet is forced to face her own inner darkness and realize that much of her father is in her.

It's definitely a thrilling tale. There's mystery and danger, and it's impossible to know what's going to happen next. Some things were almost laughably predictable, but there was always enough going on that I still couldn't figure everything out. I loved the little hints we get, the teasings that tell us that not everything is the was we think it is. And so much about this book surprised me. There were some things that seemed completely out of left field but then they ended up making sense.

It's a gorgeous, brill story. There's very little not to love about it. It's addicting and impossible to put down, but that's some of the best stuff about it. Everything about this book is never enough in the best way. It's like I've been living in a desert my entire life and I've suddenly been plunged in water. Lame metaphor, but yeah. That's how I feel.

This book was unbelievably good. I actually don't read that much historical fiction in general, and though I love gothic tales there actually aren't all that many of them in YA. This one was absolutely amazing, though, and totally makes up for everything. It gripped me from the very beginning and held me long after I turned the last page. It is, in a word, absolutely beautiful.

The romance would have to be my main problem with this novel. While Juliet has unique and dynamic relationships with each boy, the romance turned out to be a gigantic focus of the novel and a lot of the time threatened to overtake the rest of the plot. She spends forever trying to decide who she wants to be with and just when it seems like she's finally made a decision she starts to second-guess herself and change her mind. Needless to say, it got awfully annoying. While I love both Montgomery and Edward (although Edward MUCH more) I really just wanted her to make up her mind and choose Edward. But anyway. The romance overall was done nicely and it's detailed and not instalovey, but it still needed to not be so prominent.

Megan has absolutely beautiful writing. Sometimes Juliet's voice comes off as a bit immature and a bit childish, but I think that's acceptable. I also would have wanted a bit more description. What we do get is lovely, but it doesn't quite go into the level of detail that I wanted. I love the way the characters were described, however. It's like you can really picture them as people. It's also very, very flowy. Everything bleeds together just enough to tie it together but not so much that it's confusing. The pacing is also excellent.

WOW. Just…wow. This is definitely one of the bravest, most unique endings I've ever read. It definitely took a lot of guts. It was a gigantic twist, completely and totally unexpected, but utterly perfect. It also happened to be a major cliffhanger. It left me breathless and dying and aching and basically feeling all these random things. It was a gorgeous, heartbreaking ending that left me in tears. But again, it was perfect.

The Madman's Daughter is easily the best of the books I've read so far this year. The characters were memorable and the plot was incredible. This was an absolutely gorgeous gothic tale that grabs you by the neck and seriously just doesn't let go. Ever. I will most definitely be continuing this series, and am currently dying as I wait for the next book. I would recommend this to pretty much everyone in the universe, including aliens. If you love the gothic romance in particular, be sure to pick this one up!


*****FINAL RATING:  4.55 RED ROSES*****
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  1. Ooohhohohohohohhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't even know what to say! I want to read this RIGHT NOW!! The library has about 7 copies ordered, and I'm in the first bunch of people to get it, so hopefully it'll come in SOON so I can finally READ IT! ;)

    Lovely review, darling!!
    Sierra @ Yearning to Read

  2. thanks for the great review! I'm dying to read this book now :)

  3. I'd read this just for the unique ending. Very helpful review thank you.


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