08 April 2013

The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd
The Madman's Daughter #1
Release Date: April 11, 2013 (UK)
Publisher: Harper Voyager (UK)
Source: Publisher
Goodreads Stars: 4
Rating: Enjoyable

London, 1894. Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself-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 rumours about her father′s gruesome experiments. But when she learns her father is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations were true.

Juliet is accompanied by the doctor′s handsome young assistant and an enigmatic castaway, who both attract Juliet for very different reasons. They travel to the island only to discover the depths of her father′s madness: he has created animals that have been vivisected to resemble, speak, and behave as humans. Worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island′s inhabitants. Juliet knows she must end her father′s dangerous experiments and escape the island, even though her horror is mixed with her own scientific curiosity. As the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father′s genius-and madness-in her own blood.

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.


  1. I read this a while ago and I completely agree with every point you made. I hadn't thought about the whalebone corset, but now that you brought it to my attention, I'm shocked! I don't think I even remember what it was made out of, and yes, she complained about it so much! Just take off the thing!

    Great review! It was a pretty good book. :)

    1. Exactly! I can't be dealing with whiny people when they can easily fix their own problems.

      Thanks, Nancy! I'm glad you enjoyed it too :D

  2. Will instalove just leave me alone? I don't think it's funny any more.


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  3. AMBER!!!!!! IS THIS THE UK COVER? :O HOLY SHIT! *pardon my language* IT'S SO MUCH PRETTIER THAT I'D ACTUALLY CONSIDER READING THIS! The US cover is just hideous and it gives me the creeps to be honest and that's probably the main reason I wasn't keen on reading it. I love my books mysterious, enjoyable and well-paced. The thing is I, as you, hate insta-love. Why? Why? Why? I mean.. Hasn't it all been said and done already? Haven't we whined enough so that the authors would finally hear us? I guess not. Anyway, if it hadn't been for you, I don't think I'd have consider reading this one but now I'm intrigued. Thanks, girl! :)

    Siiri @ Little Pieces of Imagination

    1. It is!! I definitely prefer the creepy US cover, but I'm so happy that this cover change is working for people!

      Ugh, insta-love. RIGHT?! I would have thought that romances would be developed more nowadays, since bloggers have been complaining about insta-love since the dawn of time. Let's hope that it'll die out sooner rather than later.

      EEP, I hope you do decide to pick it up :)

  4. Is it strange and morbid that I really want to read this book because of the animal experiments & vivisections :D? I blame in on my college, but I can't wait to see this creepy factor. The insta-love and love-triangle are a bit disappointing, but I think I will survive.


  5. Great review, and I'm glad you formatted it the way you did, with pros and cons. People keep telling me how amazing this book is, so it's nice to see some of the negatives in there, too. To be honest, I'm a little wary of reading it just because it sounds so creepy. Maybe I'm a chicken. :(


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