Review: The Madman’s Daughter

  madmanTitle: The Madman’s Daughter

  Author: Megan Shepherd

  Release Date: January 29, 2013

  Publisher: Balzer + Bray

  Description: 432 pages, Young Adult Fiction

synopsis

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.

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Redemption Island

Having been met with an overwhelming sense of consolation and reprieve after bringing to light the almost jocular fact that The Madman’s Daughter was the first book in a series (which would have been outrageous otherwise), I came to the sorry conclusion that this book was, despite a myriad of recommendations, slightly underwhelming, if not entirely disappointing. A diehard fan of classic retellings, I greeted the book with optimal expectations, only partly met with the proper vindication. Notwithstanding, many of the scenes were indeed spellbinding, the plot twists unprecedented in every respect, yet it didn’t turn out to be the masterpiece that would mercilessly abnegate me from adequate sleep. Parts of the story dragged for too long in between the exciting scenes, and most of the characters retrogressed with each turn of the page. The love triangle was delightful at first, and futile for a time after, the pathetic excuse for resolve it was given massively frustrating. I wanted to enjoy this book, more than I dare to imagine, and even if I did admire the beginning and the end, I didn’t love it from beginning to end. This of course was profoundly unfortunate.

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Between Then And Hereafter

Juliet was, at first, a strong and single-minded heroine, had more to her first name than a Shakespearean reference, and more to her last name than a shameful heritage from an infamous criminal. I loved how she kept earnest and unflagging despite the fact that her life was in utter disarray. I admired her perfunctory call to action, and how she acknowledged her failures and played to her strengths. In due time, however, her character deteriorated just as cursorily as what was left of my adoration. She became foolhardy instead of brave, selfish instead of loyal, and condescending instead of reassuring. Nonetheless, I did love how she gave herself time to sort her feelings out for both Edward and Montgomery before making decisions that could hurt either one, and I lauded her ability to speak her mind and not stand in consternation at the consequences of her actions, if she knew without a shadow of a doubt that she was doing the right thing. Outside of either circumstance however, she was rash, self-absorbed, half-mad, and a massive pain in the behind. I didn’t want to dislike her, but her idiocies superseded her achievements. Bigtime.

“My vision was blurry and my head pounded – I’d missed my injection that morning. I wiped my face and noticed a streak of red on my arm. Blood bubbled from the thorn scratches. I touched my forehead, my cheeks, my neck. Blood stuck to my skin like tar. I’d become the prey on the island but, as in my dream, I felt no pain. Only a fascination with the webs of slashes and bloody marks on my body. I was sliding, slipping away from humanity.”

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Love Lost And Love Found

Montgomery was likely my favorite character, because he was allegiant, yet righteous, ambitious yet down-to-earth. He performed shady tricks that seemed distasteful on the surface, but I loved how I completely empathized with his character and agreed with his reasoning, at least most of the time. He was a sentimental person, yet not to the point that he became exceedingly melodramatic, and I loved how he was attractive, not necessarily in the sense that he had washboard abs and was excruciatingly handsome (though he fits snugly into both criteria). Instead, he was thoughtful and made it a point to look after his responsibilities, and in stark contrast to Juliet, I completely embraced his character from start to finish. Edward, on the other hand, was an enigma, and in lieu of the fact that I never could come to grips with the fact that he wouldn’t think twice to put Juliet in harm’s way, I never truly warmed up to his character either. Suffice it to say that he usually just gave me the jeepers creepers.

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Shadows In The Night

The book as a whole didn’t do me many favors, although I did relish in the fact that it was far from predictable. Whenever things got fascinating, I was hooked, although it was hapless how the exciting divvies encompassed less of the book than I could have hoped for. As Juliet kept on getting disoriented, leading herself astray and further into the dangers of the wilderness, or if not, questioning her own sanity and hesitating at every cornerstone, many of the scenes that should have been captivating only served to vex me even further. Despite this, the last few pages remained enjoyable, and though it wasn’t near enough to attain redemption, I do believe that this book could have done with better characterization and not much else.

If you are into unique spins on beloved classics and mystery novels like myself, in the hopes that you find the book better suited to your liking (although I still am looking forward to Her Dark Curiosity), I suggest you give this one a go.

“We’re going to die, aren’t we?” I asked bitterly. He held me so tight I could hardly breathe. But I wanted tighter still. “Not here. I swear it.” 

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3 hearts

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So what do you think of this book? If you haven’t read it, will you? Sound off in the comments below!

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17 thoughts on “Review: The Madman’s Daughter

  1. Ugh… Ever since I first saw this book, I’ve been really interested in reading it. But then the first wave of reviews came and everybody hated it. Lately I’ve been seeing some more positive ones, but I still think that I’m going to have to skip this one. And I’m so disappointed about it! Especially because I think that the cover is gorgeous, too.

    • HAHA well I’ve seen mostly positive reviews on this one, but I myself wasn’t feeling it as much. I guess when the sequel comes out, I’ll be able to judge if its worth it, and tell you likewise. After all, I REALLY want to read that Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde retelling! And yes– the covers are amazing aren’t they :O

  2. The MC sounds pretty tolerable, and I can even enjoy a love triangle sometimes but it seems like things went downhill after that. I tried this one out and didn’t make it that far in because the animal abuse thing kind of turned me off. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one!

    • HAHA the MC was tolerable, but I did feel like slapping her silly at one point. The animal abuse was definitely uncomfortable, but past that, there STILL wasn’t anything special. Although I do wanna read the sequel to this one, in the hopes that its much better XD And you’re welcome, thanks as well for the visit 😉

  3. All the pretty words! *hugs words, then you*
    I, too, have heard SO MANY great things about this novel, and I am kind of disappointed to hear that it didn’t live up to expectations. The quote about the thorn scratches was really odd. I guess it’s out of context, but slipping away from humanity cus you’re looking at your scratches with unfathomed interest? I don’t think so…
    Characterisation is paramount in books, because they are ALL about the characters. It disappoints me when the characters are kind of wishy-washy.
    I guess I still want to read this book, because it seems interesting, but I will try not to go in with uber high expectations.
    The title is beautiful, though.
    Awesome review, as always, sister! ❤

    • HAHA yeah my vocabulary seems to expand to thrice its usual size when I write reviews, don’t you think? XD AND HUGS FOR YOU >:D<

      Juliet was a bit sensitive (weird quote alert!), and I wanted to understand that because she was, after all, her father's daughter, who was a madman. I couldn't though, and I'm not sure if the problem was mine or hers :O And YES to characterization being paramount! They're usually the hit and miss and for me, and when its a miss, it's an epic one. But yeah, I'd LOVE to know what you think ❤

      • It so does! You turn into this super fancy smart person when you write reviews (not that you aren’t smart all the time, because you are, but you know what I mean!).
        YAY FOR HUGS!

        Hmm, I am interested to know whether or not I will like her. She seems a bit weird, to be honest. But then again, I have read some weird characters and loved them so who knows!
        Yeah, I don’t like reading novels where the characters don’t have a presence, or where I don’t like them – it’s awkward 😛
        Well it’s on my TBR (but so are like 1000 other books, haha) so I suppose I will get around to it eventually 😀

      • HAHAHA that’s why I take something like an hour or two to write reviews, twice as much time than it takes for me to write a post even longer! XD I will get to hug you for realz on day though. (Warning: I am a TOTAL hugger). She’s weird, definitely, but on the plus side, she’s strong and only internally whiny, for the most part XD I’d love to know what you think too! 🙂

        …1000?! WOAH. You shall get there eventually 😉

      • WHAT! An our or two to write reviews? D: D: Ohmygosh, you’re dedicated. My reviews and other posts probably take me from anywhere between five and twenty minutes, haha.
        I know you will – and yay for being a total hugger! Hugs are amazing.
        I really want to read this book now, just to see what I think!

        Yeah, it’s an addiction. The books are just sitting there, and then there’s Goodreads, and then somehow you end up with over 1000 TBR books D:

      • HAHAHA yup, but that time usually includes the half hour that I spend staring at the screen or getting a mental block XD 5 and 20 minutes?! Woah you are pro at this! I dunno, I just have a hard time finding the right words to describe my feelings sometimes D: HAHA you should get a copy 🙂 Or I can get you one and send it over for Christmas— Oooooh more presents!!

      • Ah, the good old mental block. The ever present companion (not). 😛
        It just sort of comes out as creative vomit, hahaha. I just sit there after I finish the books, and regurgitate whatever my mind is thinking about. I’ve never been one to write drafts of things (I just can’t stomach it), so I guess it makes sense that it doesn’t take me that long.
        But I can see your hard work in these! 😀
        Ooooooo! Me love presents ^.^ And you, of course ❤

      • HAHAHA oh I wish I were like you! My creativity comes in bite sized packaging D: I write drafts of EVERY single post of mine! Whoops XD I can’t stomach NOT writing a draft first before finalizing it :O And yeah I think my hard work pays off, somehow 🙂 I just wish I could write reviews as lovely as yours without taking so much time with them! Me love you and presents, but more on you ❤ YAY for the holidays!

      • I can understand that. I re-read my posts about 100 times before I publish them! But then there comes a point, and I’m just like UGH POST IT ALREADY. Haha 😛
        It totally does! Your posts are always spectacular.
        Aw you think my reviews are lovely :3
        Well thank gosh I rank higher than the presents, hehe.
        I CANNOT WAIT FOR HOLIDAYS.

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