Book Review: The Madman’s Daughter series by Megan Shepherd

Title: The Madman’s Daughter series
Author: Megan Shepherd
Genre: YA/sci-fi
Date Read: 22/06/2015 – 22/07/2015 (intermittently)
Rating: ★★★★


madmancoverI’m reviewing this series as a whole because I’m not sure that i wouldn’t repeat myself a lot if I wrote three separate ones. This is not to say that the three books are all the same if you’ve read one, you’ve read them all. It’s just that have similar themes running through them, and obviously the same characters, so I think I would end up saying similar things.

The three books in the series are The Madman’s Daughter, Her Dark Curiosity and A Cold Legacy and they are based on The Island of Dr Moreau by H. G. Wells, the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley respectively.

In book one, we meet Juliet Moreau, a sixteen-year-old whose scientist father disappeared amid much scandal several years before. Juliet learns that he may in fact not be dead, as she had always thought, and travels to a near-inhospitable island to learn what he has been doing all these years. There she learns that the rumours were really not so far from the truth, and she only just escapes the island with her life.

In the second book, Juliet is back in London, where a spate of murders have been taking place. The one thing the victims all have in common: they had all wronged Juliet in some way. As she struggles to track down the murderer and realises that perhaps one of her father’s creations escaped the island and followed her home, she also learns that her father’s research is a lot more sought after than she thought, and she is forced to weigh up the lives of the few against the lives of the many.

In the third, Juliet and her friends take refuge in the von Stein estate in northern Scotland. But still, they aren’t safe from the beasts that have toyed with them.

These are very dark books, make no mistake. There is violence, bloodshed, detailed description of medical procedures, along with awful treatment of animals. They are not for the faint-hearted. Juliet herself is quite a morally ambiguous character; while she wants to ensure that she does not follow in her father’s footsteps, there are times when she sees it as the only option. The books are written in first person, which usually annoys me a bit, but Juilet’s narration didn’t, I think because she was darker than most of the leads in YA. There were times when she was waxing lyrical about her main love interest, and that wore a bit thin, but for the most part, it worked.

Speaking of love interests, there is something of a love triangle, but it’s messed up and actually serves the plot, for once! And by the end of the series, it has actually worked itself into a square, when another character comes into it. All that subversion of the usual YA romance tropes was really refreshing to read.

There were some weird themes running through it, especially the third book, which I didn’t agree with (apparently it is impossible for Juliet to take after someone she is not related to, even if it’s that person’s personality and not his genetics?) but I was able to overlook those for the most part.

Overall, I highly recommend this series, though only to those with a strong constitution!

#WWW What are you Reading? and #WIPpet Wednesday

wwwwednesdayWWW Wednesday is a blog hop that I discovered last week, which asks three questions: what have you finished reading, what are you currently reading, and what are you about to start reading. It’s hosted by Sam on Taking on a World of Words. Answer the questions and share your post in a comment on that one to join in.

  • What are you currently reading?

I’ve recently started Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson. It’s a retelling of Peter Pan, narrated by Tinker Bell and focusing on the character of Tiger Lily. It’s interesting enough, but I started it nearly a week ago and am less than 50 pages in… that said, a lot of the reviews say that it starts off slow and you have to get used to the TInker Bell point of view, so maybe it’ll pick up.

I also started The Island of Doctor Moreau, but that’s on a hiatus due to the fact that I own that book and Tiger Lily and a couple of others are from the library.

  • What did you recently finish?

I finished The Madman’s Daughter last Friday. It’s the adaptation of Doctor Moreau that I mentioned in last week’s post. It had a great twist at the end that I didn’t see coming at all (though on reflection, probably should have figured it out a bit sooner). I’m keen to pick up the next book in the series.

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

I have Dorothy Must Die out from the library but I don’t think I really want to read it. I’m not in a Wizard of Oz mood, really, and I’d rather put it off until I’m more likely to enjoy it. I think I’ll try and get the sequel to the Madman’s Daughter (which is based on Jekyll and Hyde) from the library.

wippetwednesdayOnto WIPpet Wednesday. As most frequenters of this blog are aware, WIPpet Wednesday involves posting an excerpt from your WIP that somehow relates to the date, and then linking up here and reading what others have offered. I’m going to follow on from last week’s post, in which Grace was given an ambiguous pieces of advice regarding her unwanted immortality. Everyone wonders what it means, and in this one line for the 1st of July, Grace surmises.

“I think he meant that I’m the only one who can kill me.”

Essentially, in Grace’s case of immortality, illness cannot kill her and neither can another person with any kind of violent act, but if she wanted to kill herself with a bottle of pills or a knife through the heart or whatever, that would work. The thing is, though, Grace doesn’t actually want to commit suicide as such. She doesn’t necessarily want to die, she just wants the opportunity to grow old like everyone else.

I’m going to head off now and try to read some more Tiger Lily. I can’t promise that I’ll manage to visit too many of your blogs over the coming week, as my mum is visiting for the weekend, but I’ll do my best! Until then!

~ Emily

#WIPpet Wednesday, and a #WWW Wednesday Reading Meme (all on a Thursday)

This is just a quick post. It’s nearly 12pm on Thursday in Australia, but that means it’s still Wednesday in some parts of the world, and therefore this post still counts. 😛

I’m writing this regardless of all that because I was determined this was the week I’d get back to things like blogging, and get back to them properly. And also things like eating properly and… well, I need to get the tyre in my bike fixed before I can get back to that, so that will have to wait until pay day next week. But writing, too. Though that is happening slowly. Uni work is also on the agenda; I’m going to start my winter course this Saturday.

I have very little that I can share for WIPpet Wednesday, but I did write some stuff yesterday. Yesterday was the 24th and 2+4 = 6. Except I’m a day late, so minus 1, and we have five paragraphs (this has nothing to do with the fact that I only wrote five paragraphs).

This is a scene that had bounced around in my head for a while and will probably come at the end of Lessons Learned if it comes at all. Just imagine that they’ve finally worked out their differences with Frederick Merrow and he’s finally going off to wherever ghosts go when they’ve finished their business here.

“You know that immortality is never really set in stone, don’t you, Grace?”

‘What do you mean?”

“If you choose to end it, it will end. But it has to be your choice.”

Grace stared at him, wondering if he was telling the truth. She’d never heard anything about this in the years she’d spent searching for a way to reverse the effects of the Elixir she had drunk.

“Choose wisely, Grace.”

WIPpet Wednesday is hosted by K. L. Schwengel, and you can join us here. Simply post an excerpt of your current WIP that somehow relates to the date, then check out what others have posted.

I was also just over at Books Over People, and decided to hop on the WWW Wednesday meme as well. This asks three simple questions, as you’ll see below.

What are you currently reading?

The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd. It’s a YA adaptation of The Island of Doctor Moreau, with his daughter as the main character. I haven’t read the source material, but this book is interesting. Slow-paced, but atmospheric. It doesn’t actually feel like I’ve read 150 pages.

What did you recently finish reading?

I just finished Splintered by A. G. Howard on Monday. It’s an Alice in Wonderland spin-off, and the world-building was good, but I really hated one of the characters and that kind of ruined everything. Apparently he gets worse in the next book, so I’m leaving the series here.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m actually thinking I will read The Island of Doctor Moreau, since I have copy on my shelf. It’s only short, so it shouldn’t take me too long to get through.

All right, I suppose I should actually consider doing some work? I’m in that tricky transitional phase in a new position at work, where I’m doing things, but slowly, and the office is basically empty today, so things are going even slower since I’ve got no one to answer my questions. But one colleague did give me something to work on before she went downstairs for a reference shift, so I should have look at that. See you all on your own blogs soon!

~ Emily