Review: The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

Series: The Madman's Daughter #1
Publication Date: January 29, 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 432 (ARC)
Source: Goodreads First Reads
In the darkest places, even love is deadly.

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.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

When I was in middle school, I read a story called The Island of Dr. Moreau. As chilling as this story was, I greatly enjoyed it. It made me think, it made me not want to sleep, it was unique and I loved it despite the fear it inspired in myself and my classmates. When I found out that there would be a re-telling of one of the few dark tales that I have ever actually enjoyed, I knew I had to have it. And this gothic horror did not disappoint me at all. Shepherd's debut lived up to all of my expectations and has my eagerly anticipating book two.

I find Shepherd's writing style to be beautiful. She easily held me captive and I greatly enjoyed Juliet's voice. Her creativity was plentiful and her plot twists were imaginative and amazing. Literally, the amount of times that my mouth dropped open in shock due to this one is unexplainable. And the ending...way to rip my beating heart out, Megan Shepherd! I love you for this story and I slightly hate you for making me wait so long for book two. The emotions that you inspired within me for the characters are so overpowering that I can't bear to acknowledge the fact that I really did finish this story and I can't continue on with Juliet in the next leg of the journey. My heart is beating erratically in my chest as I try to make sense of the amazing surprises that could be awaiting me in book two.

Juliet was an easy main character to love. She was a strong-willed, intelligent woman--something very uncommon for her time period. She would go to great lengths to do anything that she thought was right and because of this, she quickly has become one of my favorite heroines. Her intelligence and characterization alone is one of the many reasons to read this book.

But then again...there's also the malformed islanders and the love triangle that actually benefited the plot. Juliet was caught between Montgomery James--her childhood best friend and ex-servant who secretly hid extreme levels of intelligence despite his poor upbringing and status in society. Then there's Edward Prince, the rich son of a general who ran away from home and was found in the ocean near-death in a dinghy. What I enjoyed about this love triangle was that it was not only steamy, but well drawn out and it furthered the plot. Both boys connected with Juliet differently. There were no ultimatums and childhood drama, it was her fussing and confusion and her eventual decision alone. But, I must say, that I am Team Montgomery with this one because you must always root for the childhood best friend with the purest of feelings. Who wouldn't want a romance like that?

And I have to give a shout-out to my favorite islander of all: Balthasar. He was a very endearing character despite his physical malformation. He cried when hearing the piano played properly, had a desire to learn how to read stemming from his curiosity with the Bible, and he never ceased to put a smile on your face the few times he spoke. He is among my favorite characters as well, and I hope to see him again in the future. One of the more intelligent and human-like island experimentations, his abilities will fascinate you endlessly as you begin to discover the animalistic tendencies and ruthlessness found in the greater majority of the island’s inhabitants.

So, clearly this book was a hit with me. I am not one for horrors, but this is one horror that made an amazing impression on me. The high I'm feeling after finishing this novel will take days to come down from and my anticipation for the now untitled book two will give me enough anxiety that I may actually die. Shepherd's debut is full of rich detail that bring the darkest thoughts from the recesses of our minds back to life. When you immerse yourself in this mad, mad world, you can't help but go slightly mad yourself.

4 stars



  1. I loved this book, I'm glad you liked it!

  2. I can't wait to read this book even more! Just by the title, I knew her writing would be great...that might seem weird though, but that's how I felt. I'm SO happy you liked it!

    Great review :)

    Sunny @ Blue Sky Bookshelf

  3. Balthasar sounds like a great character :) I'm happy to hear that the love-triangle is acceptable. I can't wait to dive into this story and be surprised by the twists and the ending!


  4. Ooh, can't wait to read this one! I am a fan of love triangles when they are done well so I'm glad to hear that. I'm the opposite-I actually root for whoever is against the best friend LOL. Sometimes it works, but I like to root for the villains. I have issues, I know. I'll probably wait to read this though because you said the wait until the next book will be agonizing. Great review! Oh, and good job handling ARCycling alone yesterday!

    Alise @ Readers In Wonderland

  5. Ahhh horror book!? Yes please! Def. going to get my hands on this one and I've been seeing this book around lately with pretty positive reviews.
    Little Book Star

  6. I just finished reading this, super great i absolutely loved it beyond belief! I'm not one for horror's myself especially animal cruelty but there was something about this one that was just beautiful!

  7. I'm nervous about this one!! I don't usually do horror but it sounds really good! I'm sure I would vote Montgomery too, I love best friend turned boyfriend relationships. Great review!! =)