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Friday, September 18, 2015

Trilogy Review: The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

The Madman's Daughter (The Madman's Daughter #1) by Megan Shepherd
Genre: Young Adult (Science Fiction/Horror/Romance/Historical)
Date Published: January 29, 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray

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.

The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd is the first book in The Madman's Daughter trilogy. This was a re-telling of The Island of Dr. Moreau. I've seen both movies, but haven't read the book yet. I think I need to now, so I know how it was originally written. This one is told from Juliet Moreau's point of view(who I don't remember in either movie so, unless she's in the original book, I think she may be a new character), and has some of the same or similar main characters from the original. These characters were changed up a bit. There are many similarities to the movies, so there are certain things that you know will happen. That was one of the things that bothered me. Granted, it's been a loooong time since I've seen either movie, but it seemed like some parts of this book weren't changed much. Basically, you had Juliet going through similar situations instead of Andrew if you go by the first movie or Montgomery(I think) if you go by the second. I know with re-tellings there are bound to be similarities. You can't really avoid it, but to me anyways, there seemed to be a lot of familiar happenings and such. In reality, all that didn't hurt my enjoyment of this book. I definitely need to read the original Island of Dr. Moreau book now though.

Juliet is drawn to both Montgomery and Edward, but both make her feel different things. Well, in the beginning it's pretty much the same emotions towards both. She jumps back and forth between the two. One minute she's crazy about Edward the next, she's crazy about Montgomery, but her feelings morph towards the end. That being said, I don't think she's certain about anything, even now. Her emotions are in turmoil. Needless to say, there is romance and that romantic tension plays a big part through the story, but this book is about so much more than that too. It has a dark, Frankenstein feel to it. I can see how the original would have made people of the time question their ethics and practices. This story certainly makes you think as well, and I'm looking forward to the rest of this series!

Her Dark Curiosity (The Madman's Daughter #2) by Megan Shepherd
Genre: Young Adult (Science Fiction/Horror/Romance/Historical)
Date Published: January 28, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray

To defeat the darkness, she must first embrace it.

Months have passed since Juliet Moreau returned to civilization after escaping her father's island—and the secrets she left behind. Now, back in London once more, she is rebuilding the life she once knew and trying to forget Dr. Moreau’s horrific legacy—though someone, or something, hasn’t forgotten her.

As people close to Juliet fall victim one by one to a murderer who leaves a macabre calling card of three clawlike slashes, Juliet fears one of her father’s creations may have also escaped the island. She is determined to find the killer before Scotland Yard does, though it means awakening sides of herself she had thought long banished, and facing loves from her past she never expected to see again.

As Juliet strives to stop a killer while searching for a serum to cure her own worsening illness, she finds herself once more in the midst of a world of scandal and danger. Her heart torn in two, past bubbling to the surface, life threatened by an obsessive killer—Juliet will be lucky to escape alive.

With inspiration from Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, this is a tantalizing mystery about the hidden natures of those we love and how far we’ll go to save them from themselves.

Her Dark Curiosity is the second book in The Madman's Daughter Trilogy by Megan Shepherd. This book was inspired by The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I thought the Jekyll/Hyde aspect flowed quite well from the first book into this one. Juliet is back in London trying to find a cure as her symptoms worsen. I'm still at odds with the love triangle. I think she's going to end up with Montgomery, but I feel like she's better suited for Edward. Part of that is because Montgomery is still keeping things from her, and I feel like we still don't know him well enough yet. With Edward, I feel like I know him, and I like him. Even his beasty side has appeal. Lucy would be better suited for Montgomery. I think she's everything he wishes Juliet was. I don't think Juliet is truly capable of love yet. She might think she is,but based on her actions and emotions thus far, I don't see how she could be. Romance aside, the writing is beautiful and sets up the dark, eerie, and twisted setting perfectly. Juliet's character is so well built that you can really understand her conflicted emotions about the creatures and the experiments. So, even when she leans towards the dark side of things more, it's completely understandable and makes sense for her character. In other words, you can easily envision life in her shoes, as disturbing as it may be.

Almost as though…

I hesitated, telling myself I might possibly be going mad.

…almost as though someone was watching out for me.

I shivered uncontrollably, as the bones in my hands and arms shifted and popped, threatening another fit.

The nature of the victim’s wounds was familiar too.

A premonition that had been growing now gripped me hard, as my mind flashed back to all the bodies on the island. Alice, Father’s sweet maid, dripping blood from dead feet. A beast-woman separated from her jaw. Those wounds, as well, had been lovingly made by a monster.

By Edward.

Edward is dead, I told myself. The dead don’t come back.

A Cold Legacy (The Madman's Daughter #3) by Megan Shepherd
Genre: Young Adult (Science Fiction/Horror/Romance/Historical)
Date Published: January 27, 2015
Publisher: Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins

After killing the men who tried to steal her father’s research, Juliet—along with Montgomery, Lucy, Balthazar, and a deathly ill Edward—has escaped to a remote estate on the Scottish moors. Owned by the enigmatic Elizabeth von Stein, the mansion is full of mysteries and unexplained oddities: dead bodies in the basement, secret passages, and fortune-tellers who seem to know Juliet’s secrets. Though it appears to be a safe haven, Juliet fears new dangers may be present within the manor’s own walls.

Then Juliet uncovers the truth about the manor’s long history of scientific experimentation—and her own intended role in it—forcing her to determine where the line falls between right and wrong, life and death, magic and science, and promises and secrets. And she must decide if she’ll follow her father’s dark footsteps or her mother’s tragic ones, or whether she’ll make her own.

With inspiration from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this breathless conclusion to the Madman’s Daughter trilogy is about the things we’ll sacrifice to save those we love—even our own humanity.

The Cold Legacy is the third and final book in The Madman's Daughter Trilogy by Megan Shepherd. There's a whole lot that happens withing this book, at the same time, there is a lot of down time. I found it hard to stay focused at times. We get to meet some of Dr. Frankenstein's descendants this time around. (I guess that's why the first book had a Frankensteiny feel to it at times. It was preparing us.) Needless to say, they are an interesting bunch. All the loose ends were wrapped up nicely. All my questions were answered for the most part. There is still a little something with what ended up being a love square that I'd like to question. I'm not sure how I feel about the ending overall. There were certain things that needed to happen, but there were others that... I don't know. I'm still on the fence. Unfortunately, I can't say much more without revealing spoilers.

All in all, if I had to describe the trilogy in one word, it would be: Intriguing. These books are dark, and since they are inspired by classic horror stories, they have that authentic, vintage horror feel. The author builds that setting and atmosphere perfectly. Plus, they make you think vicariously through Juliet. Juliet is probably one of the best built characters I've read in a while. She has aspects of good and bad in her. She wants to be good and normal, but because of who her father is, she fears that bad will win inside of her too. Through the trilogy, I truly enjoyed watching her internal conflicts as she grew and came to terms with the light and dark sides of who she is. Like real life, she didn't always make the best decisions because of these things, but that's what brought her to life as a character. One of the oddest things about these books, is the more I thought about them once I finished, the more I liked them. I guess I needed to let my mind resonate with them for a little bit after reading. I'd definitely recommend this trilogy.

These books had some pretty amazing quotes too...

“The last thing the justice system is, is just.” 

― Megan Shepherd, The Madman's Daughter

“Sometimes you have to embrace the darkness to stop it.”
― Megan Shepherd, Her Dark Curiosity

“It isn't about the sharpness of the blade, but the hand that holds it.' Science doesn't do good or ill by itself- it's the intention behind it.” 
― Megan Shepherd, Her Dark Curiosity

“No serum can change who you are. Nor should you change. Genius or madness--it all depends on who's telling the story.” 
― Megan Shepherd, Her Dark Curiosity

“The Beast had been a monster. He'd been a murderer. And yet on some terrible, deep level, he had been the only one to truly understand me.” 
― Megan Shepherd, A Cold Legacy

“To make the right decision you must understand both paths before you,” he said quietly. “You must know your demons before you know whether to follow them.” 
― Megan Shepherd, A Cold Legacy

Check out my reviews of another series by this author!

Megan Shepherd was "born" into the book world, growing up in her parents' independent bookstore in Western North Carolina. She is the author of THE MADMAN'S DAUGHTER trilogy (Balzer+Bray/2013), and THE CAGE trilogy (Balzer+Bray/2015). When Megan is not writing, she can usually be found horseback riding, day dreaming at coffee shops, or hiking in the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains. She is represented by Josh Adams at Adams Literary.

To learn more about Megan Shepherd and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter.

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