Monday, June 17, 2013

Book Review: The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

The Madman's Daughter
Megan Shepherd
YA Historical/Horror
Published: Jan. 2013

image: Goodreads
I'd been looking forward to this one for awhile. It's a YA take on H.G. Wells' The Island of Doctor Moreau, which if you are not familiar with the source material, is about a shipwrecked Englishman who ends up on an island with a mad scientist and his animal/human experiements. 

In this story, the mad scientist has a daughter Juliet, who is the narrator of the book. The story begins in London, where Juliet is alone after her mother has passed away. Her brilliant father has left her with nothing and she assumes him dead after a medical ethics scandal outed him England years prior. She discovers he is alive through his former assistant, and the adventure begins.

I did not expect the romance in this book, but looking back I think it tempered some of the creepier aspects.  Dr. Moreau uses a method called vivisection, which is dissecting animals while they are alive. This is YA so it doesn't get overly gory by any means, but  if you are squeamish or particularly sensitive about animals, consider  yourself warned. The vibe is definitely creepy and haunting. Although the middle read a bit muddled, overall I loved the dark, odd world, and how it balanced the source material with an entirely new story from the mad scientist's daughter's perspective. 

I'm pretty sure when I added this to Goodreads it wasn't yet listed as book 1 of a series. So when I got to the end, I thought hmmmm... It certainly could end as a stand-alone, but it makes more sense that it's part of a series, and I'm curious what direction the story will move. 


  1. Yup. It was a three-book, "significant deal" according to Publishers Marketplace. It's now being called The Cage trilogy--unless I'm mistaken, and she made another three-book, significant deal called by that name. I've got this one on my Kindle; will read it soon. Hmm. High concept is hugely marketable, even with muddled middles or even boring second books. (I found Lauren DeStefano's Chemical Garden trilogy to have a fabulous first and quite good third book, but an unreadable second one.

  2. This is on my TBR list. Thanks for the review! I'll be looking for that romance now.

  3. I might wait until the final book comes out. I used to reread books when the sequel is due out, but my TBR pile is too out of control for that these days. So now I wait.

    Thanks for the great review, Stephanie.

  4. This sounds intriguing - I'm putting on my TBR list. (Unless it's already on there - that list is soooooo long now. Sigh.)

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  6. I haven't read the HG Wells version, but the new spin on the story sounds interesting. Nice review!

  7. I really cannot wait to read this one - I love the concept. Though, I didn't realize either that it was part of a series until I saw the sequel's cover pop up a few days ago.


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