Saturday, February 7, 2015

Tea Time: The Madman's Daughter

**Warning: Spoilers May Abound**

The Madman's Daughter (The Madman's Daughter #1), Megan Shepherd 

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.(source:goodreads)

Narrative-This book is told from the first-person POV of Juliet Moreau, a sixteen-year-old girl who fell from the grace of upper society when her father was rumored to be an unethical madman, fled from London, and left her and her mother penniless.

Let me just say: what a voice. For starters, the book takes place in nineteenth-century (I think) England (and then an island, but let me just say England for reasons). As I read, Juliet's voice sounded so gosh-dang proper that I found myself sitting up straighter just so I wouldn't look like an imbecile in my own home. In the middle of trying to stay alive and solve who her father is, she's worried about her ankles showing. Her ankles. But considering the way women were expected to dress during this time, it was a detail that made Juliet feel so much more real to me, along with many other details and vocabularies that were used.

Another thing I absolutely adored was the way in which Juliet spoke of some of her own less-than-ladylike actions. I even highlighted some. My favorite (as she's slitting someone's wrist): "And, my God, as wicked and wrong as it was, I enjoyed it" (p. 44). Such a simple line, yet the emotion it conveyed in the heat of the moment was absolutely impeccable.

Plot-This is one of those books that was a mystery to me going in; I had absolutely no idea what to expect beyond the implications on the back cover (and even then, I'd only skimmed it roughly before impulsively buying it).

The darker tones of this novel fascinated me, and the biggest question that I absolutely adored that the one challenging the notion of "monster" as we know it. The girl who can do horrific things without flinching, the man who turns beasts into men, and the monster that's prowling the island: who's the true horror? It's not quite as black and white as you'd think, which made this a fascinating read.

The one aspect of this book that almost turned me off was the love triangle: I mean, I can handle love triangles if it's done well, but what I hate the most is when it turns into a testosterone-fueled match between the boys (or estrogen-fueled between girls), because it makes me lose a lot of respect (personal thoughts, though). So what I actually enjoyed was how...I guess how underplayed it was? There was definitely the sparks between Juliet and Edward, and Juliet and Montgomery. There was jealousy between both boys, as well, but there wasn't a lot of upfront competition between the boys. Therefore: well-played, Shepherd.

The pacing was a bit slow for me in parts, but ultimately it's a bit of a harrowing read: a clever background of scandal and hardship for Juliet, the wish of a little girl to see her father again, and then the horror of that shining, hopeful image of him being a good man being torn to pieces before her eyes. It was emotional, and it was absolutely lovely.

Characters-I've kind of already mentioned this, but Juliet is absolutely wonderful. She's a lady with dark tendencies and a troubled past, and her efforts to fit in to where she's landed in society clash with her efforts to not be anyone's doormat. Her deepest and darkest question: can she be a lady like her mother, or is she doomed to be a monster like her father? Who's blood runs thickest through her veins? trying to grapple with the question of her identity, plus figure out a way to make it off her father's island alive, makes Juliet a force to be reckoned with, and I couldn't get enough of her.

Montgomery and Edward. Both boys are well-thought-out mysteries, and I couldn't stand the fact that I knew that something was off about the both of them, yet I couldn't figure them out. Montgomery I had some guesses that turned out to be right, but freaking Edward. They were both excellently written, including their love for Juliet in that it didn't feel creepy or overwritten (okay, occasionally Edward got me, but it ultimately felt natural, and not like the author was trying to force it at all. It legitimately felt like Edward's character to be so intense). Normally when it comes to two boys fighting over the affections of a girl, it's easy for me to say, "Obviously [insert boy here] is the right choice." And, yet, I couldn't do it. very well written and thought out.

Dr. Moreau. Oh my goodness, he's such a twisted man. Mad-scientist, anyone? He was absolutely horrid without going overboard; his insanity had already spread to his mind, so it was obvious that he felt like his plans and actions were perfectly logical, even in the face of Juliet's arguments. While not someone I'd like to meet in person, he was a joy to read, even if he was crazy.

Like I've already said: I had no clue what to expect when I went into this book. To put it simply, though: it blew me away. Definitely recommend to basically everyone.

Final Answer:  4.33 / 5

Tweet It:

Intense characters + dark and riveting plot. THE MADMAN'S DAUGHTER @megan_shepherd. Read the review via @Rae_Slater (Click to Tweet)

A maid, a madman, and a monster. @Rae_Slater reviews THE MADMAN'S DAUGHTER @megan_shepherd, and has good things to say (Click to Tweet)

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