The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd
Summary: Juliet Moreau’s father was banished from London because of his controversial experiments. She thought he was dead, but when his assistant Montgomery turns up in London, Juliet gets the opportunity to reunite with her father. She journeys to a remote island, where Dr. Moreau is still attempting to create humans with animal bodies. But as soon as Juliet arrives, someone starts murdering the islanders.
My thoughts: The Madman’s Daughter has moments that take your breath away. Certain scenes are so vividly described that you feel as if you’re there, experiencing everything with Juliet. The best part about these scenes is that they’re usually macabre—scenes that you shouldn’t enjoy, but that Shepherd somehow makes beautiful. I found myself stuck in these scenes, re-reading them to experience that cognitive dissonance. The “beauty in horror” theme of The Madman’s Daughter is definitely its most memorable aspect.
Aside from the gorgeous writing and those few unforgettable scenes, I found myself disappointed with The Madman’s Daughter. Because of those moments of jaw-dropping awesome, the rest of the book seemed to pale in comparison. I wanted more evil from Juliet’s father; I wanted the creatures of the island to be more menacing and grotesque. And most of all, I wanted less of a focus on a love triangle.
The romance in The Madman’s Daughter may work for some, but it didn’t work for me. I couldn’t buy into Juliet’s feelings for either of her love interests—the romance didn’t grow over the course of the novel, it just…appeared.
I’m still giving The Madman’s Daughter a high rating because of the quality of Megan Shepherd’s writing and because of the tension throughout the story. The Madman’s Daughter is an excellent book as a whole—I’m just nitpicky.
For those who like: horror, historical fiction, love triangles
Comment question: If you could have a quality from an animal (i.e. the wings of a bird), what would it be?