Book Review: The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd


Rating: 3.5 / 5

Juliet Moreau has been working as a destitute maid at King’s College, since her mother’s death due to consumption, and her father’s supposed death.  Her life wasn’t always this, in fact years ago, her father, Dr. Henri Moreau was considered a highly respected and well regarded surgeon.   However, due to a scandal involving her father’s practice, he disappeared, leaving Juliet and her mother broke and shunned upon by society.  One day she discovers that the family servant, Montgomery, is alive, and has been living on an island with her father.  With a future of becoming a prostitute had she stayed, Juliet convinces Montgomery to take her to where her father lives.  The island Dr. Moreau lives on is nothing short of scary and dangerous.  As Juliet comes to grips with who her father truly is, she must decide whether she should stay on the island, or escape before it is too late.

I honestly did not know what to expect with this book, but what Shepherd delivered was gritty, raw, and intriguing.  The Madman’s Daughter starts off with a bang, and the casual references to ‘the scandal’ kept me turning pages, trying to figure out what the scandal was, and what really happened to Dr. Moreau. While I felt that parts in the middle dragged, the ending more than made up for that. Some readers might think it was predictable, but I didn’t expect it at all. The creepiness of the surgeries Dr. Moreau performed really highlighted the theme of playing God, and morality, which were both thought provoking and eerie. Speaking of Dr. Moreau, I was torn between whether the topic of his experiments was too heavy or deep for YA.  But, more than likely, this me associating everything YA with Harry Potter. The descriptions of Dr. Moreau’s experiments and surgeries are both gruesome and appalling; I’m sure if I had read this as a teenager I would have had nightmares for weeks.

I wasn’t that impressed with Juliet’s character until I remembered that this is a YA book.  I’m not the biggest fan of love triangles, but then again Juliet is only a teenager, so her thoughts, feelings, and reasoning are not something that I can relate to anymore.  Although I wished that Shepherd had focused more on the mad-scientist experiments done on the animals rather than the romance, seeing how the twists and turns played out, I understand the route she took. This is the first of a trilogy, and while gothic YA books are not generally my cup of tea, I think Shepherd did a great job with The Madman’s Daughter, and I am interested in reading the sequel.


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