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4.2 out of 5 stars24
4.2 out of 5 stars
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I was very interested in The Madman's Daughter as soon as it came through the post. Firstly, the cover is fascinating, with the drawing of the heart and the different shades of red used to hint at something perhaps a little darker inside. And the description on the back was very intriguing, as someone who has recently started branching out and trying other genres of books, I was really looking forward to reading this!

Juliet Moreau used to have a good life, her father, Doctor Moreau was very successful and so they had a comfortable life. However, a huge scandal appeared when Juliet's father was accused of horrific experiments, causing Doctor Moreau to disappear. He was believed to be dead, and although no one ever proved that these awful experiments had actually happened, Juliet was still haunted by the thought of them and how it ruined her life. After running into Montgomery James, a servant who used to work in their house before the scandal, Juliet discovers that her father is still alive and working on a remote tropical island. Together with Montgomery, Juliet makes her way to the island, with no idea of what will be waiting when she gets there...

Wow. I don't quite know how to describe it. The Madman's Daughter had me gripped, so much so that I found it hard to do or even think about anything else over the course of the few days that I read this. I will say now, it is very creepy, but it is creepy in a way that draws you in and has you turning the pages desperate to know what will be uncovered next and where the story will lead you!

Megan Shepherd's writing is truly fantastic. There are a few gruesome scenes in the novel, but Megan has a talent of writing it in such a way that it terrifies you and urges you to read on at the same time. The descriptions of the island and the settings were brilliant, Megan brought the novel to life and at times I genuinely felt as though I was on the island with Juliet, making discoveries with her and finding out the truth about her father. Juliet was very well written - She is a strong, intelligent and curious about the world around her. She is very believable and she really made the story for me.

I won't talk specifically about the plot line because I don't want to spoil it for anyone. There is a lot in The Madman's Daughter, and some of it is very shocking, so this book isn't for anyone wanting a light-hearted, easy and happy read. But for those of you who want a riskier story which will hold your attention, then try this one! There is a lot of tension, a few twists and turns, and romance laced into the chapters too! On many occasions the novel had my heart racing because it was so chilling.

The Madman's Daughter is dark, it is full of suspense, and it is a truly gripping story. I've heard that The Madman's Daughter is going to be a trilogy, so there are two more books to come, and personally, I am very interested to see where the story leads!
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on 13 August 2013
First off, let me say that any of us who think we come from a dysfunctional family will rethink that idea after reading this book. No one, NO ONE, has as many issues as the Moreau clan. I won't go into specific details of the book since other reviewers have done a great job at I don't want to give away any of the surprise twists of The Madman's Daughter. Suffice to say, that it is a captivating retelling of H.G. Wells' book, The Island of Doctor Moreau, but from his daughter's perspective. The story is "told" by the main female character, Juliet, a 16 year old destitute girl who is adventurous and clever...and yet struggles with all the uncertainty of her youth and predicament. The book is a great balance of romance and downright creepiness. Just my kind of book.

I was present at the book launch celebration for this book and got my signed copy of the new book there. My first evening with the book, I decided to read a chapter or two before bed. I was really tired the next day because I couldn't force myself to put it down and go to sleep until I was nearly halfway through. Didn't get much done the following day either because I kept sneaking back to the book to read another chapter or two. My only disappointment with its surprise cliffhanger ending is that I now have to wait a whole year to find out what happens.

The characters in the story are very well-developed. Some you'll find endearing and heartbreaking (oddly enough, some of the "monsters"). Others you'll find yourself actually despising and hoping they come to a painful end. There were moments in the book that made me cringe and sort of hurry through (particularly the animal cruelty). Some of the irony of the story is that many of the hideous, monstrous creations of Dr. Moreau seem to have more humanity than the humans in the book. The author, Megan Shepherd, is an excellent storyteller and weaves a horrifying, yet romantic, tale that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Paramount Pictures apparently agrees and has purchased the movie rights. The screenplay has already been written and actors are being considered.

But don't wait for the movie. I HIGHLY recommend you start with this book.
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on 7 February 2014
So I have very mixed feelings about this book. Very, very mixed feelings. I think I liked it? But I'm not sure. I'll go with yes for now, since I want to read the sequel.

My indecisiveness in part comes from Juliet, the main character. I don't know how I feel about her, but I will say this: she is a compelling narrator. It was her voice that kept me reading, rather than the plot.

I also didn't like how the love triangle was played out. I won't say much else so as not to spoil anything, but I really don't feel it was done well. It could have been, but the way it stands now, it feels unnecessary. Perhaps it's because this is the first book in the trilogy, I don't know.

Perhaps if the characters of the love interests had been developed better (looking at you, Montgomery) I would have found it more palatable.

As for the ancillary characters, they were for the most part well-drawn, especially Balthazar. Alice was a little too stereotypically innocent little girl, especially considering what happens to her in the book. Juliet's father was also less complex than he could have been, but I feel that was more a plot failing.

For the plot, if you know the story of The Island of Doctor Moreau, you know the basic plot of The Madman's Daughter. There were some nice twists added to make this it's own story though.

So for all that, I still don't know how I feel exactly, but I am looking forward to see how Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde plays out in Her Dark Curiosity.
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on 14 April 2013
I wasn't sure what to expect from The Madman's Daughter. I had heard a series of things describing it prior to reading, and generally it has been well received in the blogosphere, but it wasn't one that was all that high on my list considering I have 500+ other books to read. But I was lucky enough to receive a copy for review copy, and so The Madman's Daughter shot up in my TBR list.

Once again, I'm doing one of those lists, because I'm having a difficult time forming proper paragraphs.

Things I Liked:

- The mystery. I liked being kept on my toes throughout the book. I had my suspicions, and they settled in very early on, but I didn't trust anyone and I found myself questioning my theories.
- Creepy factor. Despite what everyone has been saying, I didn't find this to be all that creepy. However, it was disturbing. There were animal experiments involved, and vivisections. NOPE. No thank you. Juliet's father was the most disturbing thing about the novel. On the outside is a guy who can act normal, but what he truly is is a master manipulator. And he truly thought that he work was the right thing to do. It was awesome and it gave me shivers.
- The setting. The setting - for the most part - was a beautiful, tropical, isolated island complete with a jungle. I thought it was really well described, and it felt like I was there with Juliet as she explored. Or as she was being chased.
- The pacing. I think that Megan Sheperd did a great job with the pacing of this book. The beginning kicks off straight away, and the introductions are mingled in with the plot, which worked really well. From the moment Juliet sneaks into King's College to the very end, the pacing is quick and I was kept intrigued.
- Montgomery. I loved Montgomery! I can't go into much detail with him, but I will say that I thought he was a very well developed character. I desperately hope to see more of him in the sequel.

Things I Didn't Like:

- Juliet and her whalebone corset. Juliet is against animal experiments, vivisections - she understandably calls it butchering - and hurting animals, and yet she continues to wear these corsets whilst on a tropical island and away from civilisation. I just didn't get it. Why would you be so outspoken about the subject of butchering animals, and then wear a whalebone corset? Juliet spoke many a time about how she wasn't a lady, and didn't wish to be treated as one. It was clear to me that she didn't like the way society treated women, and so why wear the bloody corset all the way through the novel? And why complain about it constantly? This probably seems like a silly thing to get upset over, but it was annoying me throughout the whole novel.
- The romances. Will instalove just leave me alone? I don't think it's funny any more. There's also a love triangle, but I didn't mind it so much in this book compared with others. I thought that the triangle itself was well done. But the instalove was not. There was little development between Juliet and her love interests, especially since she had been separated from Montgomery for years. I needed more bonding, and more scenes of the two of them getting to know each other again.
- Diseases and things. The doctor says that the island - being isolated - is free of disease and infection. But surely, if there are traders sometimes stopping by, and animals being shipped from far off lands, and Montgomery going to and from London, there should be some diseases being brought back, no? I don't know if he was lying when it came to the disease thing, but it just didn't make sense. Again, this is a minor thing, but I wanted to mention it because I can't stop thinking about it. I know, I'm weird.

Overall I think that The Madman's Daughter is a great debut packed with thrilling scenes and a lot of mystery. It was a very good read for someone such as I, who loves being kept in the dark until the very end. Even if my theories were all correct. I'm not showing off, I promise.
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on 7 February 2013
When I first saw the cover and synopsis of The Madman's Daughter I had immediate book -lust. A pretty cover, Gothic historical fiction thriller based on a classic? Even with an obvious love triangle in the making, I was so excited about this book.

And maybe that excitement and build-up is partly to blame for me not loving The Madman's Daughter as much as I thought I would. Expectation can really be a killer.

The Madman's Daughter is certainly a dark, Gothic, historical fiction. Although I have't read The Island of Dr. Moreau myself, I have a basic knowledge of the plot, and my impression is that Megan Shephard used that plot and really didn't hold anything back. This is definitely not a book for the easily upset or rattled - it's confrontational and dark, bordering on horror.

Juliet is a bit of a lost soul and although shes tough, brave and academically clever, it doesn't seem that she's very street-smart which is quite odd for a sixteen-year-old-girl who has been fending for herself in London - some of the decisions she makes on the island, and signals that she misses did make her a little frustrating for me. I also didn't understand her attraction to both Montgomery and Edward - I really liked Montgomery with his loyalty and calmness, but I found Edward kind of irritating, almost to the point of insipidness.

I loved the atmosphere that Ms. Shephard created in The Madman's Daughter - from London, to the sea journey and finally to the creepiness of the island, the whole book just made me feel like I was right there in the story, and although the 'mystery' was exactly what I expected, it was definitely creepy enough to get my attention.

The plot itself is really quite chilling and definitely one of the positives, along with Ms. Shephard's writing which really reflects the time period and the feel of the story. The island isn't described in minute detail, but it's mysterious and varied enough to really build up the plot and tension. There's not much more I can say without really giving away huge chunks of the plot, but it definitely kept me interested, despite some of the uneven pacing which had me either unable to put it down or bored.

This review is pretty much as confused as I felt about this book. I loved the plot, the feel and the world-building but I was underwhelmed by the characters and the pacing. However, I'm interested to see where this series goes next - especially when I feel the need for incredibly atmospheric writing.
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on 28 January 2013
I have been looking forward to this book for a while now, I am a fan of gothic literature and like the darker side of fiction so I was pretty sure this was my kind of book, and for the most part I was not disappointed. It was far from perfect but I really enjoyed it and finished it in one evening.

I thought the storyline was strong; it was dark and at times quite chilling. It held my interest all the way through. I found some of it extremely exciting, this was a weird book because there were a couple of times where this book enraged me but there were other times were I thought it was outstanding.

The main issue is the characters, specifically Juliet. The boys are alright but Juliet was a different story all together. There were moments that I loved her, at first I thought she was amazing, she was brave and gutsy and not afraid to stand up for herself. Then she meets her estranged father and I wanted to strangle her. For some reason she turns into an idiot, she wants his love and acceptance but he has wronged her so much that I cannot understand why she would want anything to do with him, his actions caused her mother to sell herself and the same nearly happened to Juliet. Luckily she snapped out of that and for the most part I liked her again.

The romance was also a bit of an issue. I have no problems with love triangles, sometimes I quite like them, but this one was over played. You cannot go to pages without hearing about Juliet's `feelings' which change as often as the tides. It is a pity because it is the story that makes this book really good not the romance. I would have preferred the romance to compliment the story not be such a huge part of it.

Despite the issues I had, I still really, really enjoyed this. The writing was really good, there is a great twist at the end that was hard to see coming and one of the best cliff-hangers I have read in a while. I do recommend this book highly (it is one of the better 2013 releases I have read so far this year) and I cannot wait to sink my teeth into the next book in the series.
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on 5 January 2015
As most reviewers have already divulged the overall synopsis i won't repeat much. The story is about Juliet Moreau who leaves London with her childhood friend Montgomery in search of her father to the island that is inhabited by the creations of her father, in hopes of closure and reconciliation only to walk into an impending nightmare. On the way she and Montgomery pick up a castaway Edward. On arrival Juliet discovers that her father is no noble man she had assumed instead a mad man of science and that a series of murders on the island could only mean one of his creations have gone rogue.

Overall i found Juliets character intriguing and that her complex chemistry with Montgomery and added tension with Edward made it all the more harder to put this book down. The dark gothic theme of this book along with the twists and turns is cleverly well orchestrated which adds more merit to the appeal of this book. But the reasob I give it 4 stars is because of the pacing esp at the beginning which could have been improved. Highly recommend!
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on 3 May 2016
After Juliet's father is accused of horrendous crimes, Juliet is forced to make do with any job that will keep her off the streets. Working as a maid in the hospital, Juliet comes across something that may mean her father is still alive. Determined to find out if the accusations were true, Juliet hitches a ride with an old friend to an island filled with unnatural creatures and a dangerous murderer that leaves three claw marks as his calling card.

Wow this book had some creepy characters. I loved every minute of it. Seriously.

I'm a big fan of creepy reads - not necessarily horror but something that raises the hairs on the back of my neck. From the very first page, I could tell that this book would be a good one. The writing immediately had a feel of suspense and dark drama that was bound to creep me out. It did just that. There were creepy characters, a murderer that had everyone afraid to leave the house and bucket loads of suspense. I couldn't stop reading.

The characters were great. I loved how mysterious they were - nothing but their basic personality and history was revealed until close to the end of the read where everything got turned on its head. I found myself starting to doubt everyone, even Juliet. Were they who they said they were? Characters who seemed perfectly innocent beforehand were seen in a new light.

By the way, I loved Montgomery he was totally steamy.

The plot with Juliet and her father was amazing. He was definitely a character I won't be able to get out of my head for awhile. Totally insane. I really liked how he still managed to get into Juliet's head even when she'd decided he wasn't worth listening to - you know, because of the fact that he's a total creep who enjoys inflicting pain in the name of science.

All in all I loved this book tremendously and I can't wait to get the sequel, especially with the way it ended. Never would have called it!
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on 3 May 2015
This is an interesting take on the H G Wells classic 'The Island of Dr Moreau'. The historical period is well researched and authentic and the voice for the time period only wavers a little in places.

Juliet is a great character but I would have liked more 'show' that she is analytical and governed by logic or emotion (or hormones) and less of her telling us that this is the case. Still her story is interesting and her viewpoint never becomes irritatingly weepy or hysterical.

As with HG Well's original novel, if you have any knowledge of medicine, science or genetics then bits of this will really irritate you, unless you allow yourself to suspend disbelief. In point of fact Shepard has cleverly allowed enough authentic anatomy and biology in whilst keeping the rest deliberately vague - a good choice when dealing with patchwork animals!

I suppose the thing which irritated me was the way Juliet vacillated between Montgomery and Edward. It seemed that whichever was in the room at the time was flavour of the month. In fairness I can see that this is a set up for Juliet trying to reconcile the two sides of herself - the fatal curiosity of the scientist and the virtuous Victorian girl. I haven't read anything about the second book but I have a feeling that a certain Robert Lewis Stevenson novel may become a theme... Still for an MC who knew her own mind and was clearly very intelligent, her indecision and refusal to face facts was a bit annoying.

In the end though, the reason this got three stars from me rather than four, was that I found the ending somewhat unsatisfactory. Not enough threads were tied up and once again Juliet is propelled by the actions of the men around her rather than steering her own course. Still a good read and if you like embryo sci-fi with a touch of the macabre wrapped in a Victorian bow, this one is for you.
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on 12 January 2015
“The world knew my father as a villain. I knew him as the thin man in a tweed suit who carried me on his shoulders during the Royal Guard’s parades. I needed to know which man my father was – the monster, or the misunderstood genius.”

This was a really creepy and entertaining story, with several twists to the tale!

I really liked Juliet and the other characters in this book. I felt sorry for Juliet and everything she had been through with her father being labelled as a madman, and her mother dying and leaving her an orphan. The poor girl really was all alone in the world, and with no money, and no-one to help her, I could understand why she would want to go to a strange island to possibly be reunited with her long-thought-dead father.

“I should have told Lucy she couldn’t visit. Where I was going, she couldn’t come. It was a bit further than Bedford.
Montgomery opened the door, clearly surprised. “Miss Moreau. What are you doing here?”
The carpetbag fell at his feet. My heart was racing.
“I’m coming with you,” I said.”

The storyline in this was pretty good, and I liked that it was creepy in places! The not-knowing what experiments Juliet’s father was really doing, the screaming of the animals from his operating room at night, the way he so calmly tried to drown someone, and the question over just how wicked he really was all added to the tension, and then the twists really started piling up!

“Father folded his hands. “I am in pursuit of the ideal living form. Just like all of us, wouldn’t you say? The same reason we choose mates and procreate. We want to create something better than ourselves. Perfection. To me, perfection is a being with the reason of man but the natural innocence of children – or animals. I have come so close to achieving it. You have no idea how close.””

There was some romance, and it did turn into a love triangle, with the question being whether Juliet would choose the dashing Edward Prince, or the servant boy, turned mad-doctor’s assistant Montgomery, and it really wasn’t clear which one she would pick until almost the end of the book!

“Juliet, don’t tell me you didn’t know. Montgomery’s been in love with you since the day you found him again. Long before that, come to think of it. He’s been in love with the mere idea of you for years.”

“We’ll go back to London and none of it will matter. It’ll just be you and me Juliet…”

The ending to this wasn’t perfect, and I have to say that I’m really intrigued to see what happens in the next book in the series. This wasn’t a total cliff-hanger, but it wasn’t the ending that I was expecting either, and I really want to know how things work out!

““We belong together. Not to serve your father’s mad experiment. But because we’re the same.” His open palm covered my heart, just grazing the exposed skin above my collar. I gasped at his touch. Fear and thrill were divided by such a fine line that I couldn’t tell which plucked at the tight strings in my chest. And was he really so wrong? I did know about the darkness he spoke of.”

8 out of 10
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