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The Madman's Daughter

The Madman's Daughter

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The Madman's Daughter

évaluations:
4/5 (80 évaluations)
Longueur:
394 pages
6 heures
Éditeur:
Sortie:
Jan 29, 2013
ISBN:
9780062128041
Format:
Livre

Description

For fans of Libba Bray, this first book in a gothic suspense trilogy is inspired by H. G. Wells's The Island of Dr. Moreau and has been hailed by New York Times bestseller Carrie Ryan as having "beautiful writing, breakneck pacing, a pulse-pounding mystery, and an irresistible romance."

Following accusations that her scientist father gruesomely experimented on animals, sixteen-year-old Juliet watched as her family and her genteel life in London crumbled around her—and only recently has she managed to piece her world back together. But when Juliet learns her father is still alive and working on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the old accusations are true. Accompanied by her father's handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward, Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father's insanity. 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.

Éditeur:
Sortie:
Jan 29, 2013
ISBN:
9780062128041
Format:
Livre

À propos de l'auteur

Megan Shepherd was "born" into the book world, growing up in her parents' independent bookstore in Western North Carolina. She is the author of THE MADMAN'S DAUGHTER trilogy. When Megan is not writing, she can usually be found horseback riding, day dreaming at coffee shops, or hiking in the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains.


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The Madman's Daughter - Megan Shepherd

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ONE

THE BASEMENT HALLWAYS IN King’s College of Medical Research were dark, even in the daytime.

At night they were like a grave.

Rats crawled through corridors that dripped with cold perspiration. The chill in the sunken rooms kept the specimens from rotting and numbed my own flesh, too, through the worn layers of my dress. When I cleaned those rooms, late at night after the medical students had gone home to their warm beds, the sound of my hard-bristle brush echoed in the operating theater, down the twisting halls, into the storage spaces where they kept the things of nightmares. Other people’s nightmares, that is. Dead flesh and sharpened scalpels didn’t bother me. I was my father’s daughter, after all. My nightmares were made of darker things.

My brush paused against the mortar, frozen by a familiar sound from down the hall: the unwelcome tap-tap-tap of footsteps that meant Dr. Hastings had stayed late. I scrubbed harder, furiously, but blood had a way of seeping into the tiles so not even hours of work could get them clean.

The footsteps came closer until they stopped right behind me.

How’s it coming, then, Juliet? His warm breath brushed the back of my neck.

Keep your eyes down, I told myself, scouring the bloodstained squares of mortar so hard that my own knuckles bled.

Well, Doctor. I kept it short, hoping he would leave, but he didn’t.

Overhead the electric bulbs snapped and clicked. I glanced at the silver tips of his shoes, so brightly polished that I could see the reflection of his balding scalp and milky eyes watching me. He wasn’t the only professor who worked late, or the only one whose gaze lingered too long on my bent-over backside. But the smell of lye and other chemicals on my clothes deterred the others. Dr. Hastings seemed to relish it.

He slipped his pale fingers around my wrist. I dropped the brush in surprise. Your knuckles are bleeding, he said, pulling me to my feet.

It’s the cold. It chaps my skin. I tried to tug my hand back, but he held firm. It’s nothing.

His eyes followed the sleeve of my muslin dress to the stained apron and frayed hem, a dress that not even my father’s poorest servants would have worn. But that was many years ago, when we lived in the big house on Belgrave Square, where my closet burst with furs and silks and soft lacy things I’d worn only once or twice, since Mother threw out the previous year’s fashions like bathwater.

That was before the scandal.

Now, men seldom looked at my clothes for long. When a girl fell from privilege, men were less interested in her ratty skirts than in what lay underneath, and Dr. Hastings was no different. His eyes settled on my face. My friend Lucy told me I looked like the lead actress at the Brixton, a Frenchwoman with high cheekbones and skin pale as bone, even paler against the dark, straight hair she wore swept up in a Swiss-style chignon. I kept my own hair in a simple braid, though a few strands always managed to slip out. Dr. Hastings reached up to tuck them behind my ear, his fingers rough as parchment against my temple. I cringed inside but fought to keep my face blank. Better to give no reaction so he wouldn’t be encouraged. But my shaking hands betrayed me.

Dr. Hastings smiled thinly. The tip of his tongue snaked out from between his lips.

Suddenly the sound of groaning hinges made him startle. My heart pounded wildly at this chance to slip away. Mrs. Bell, the lead maid, stuck her gray head through the cracked door. Her mouth curved in its perpetual frown as her beady eyes darted between the professor and me. I’d never been so glad to see her wrinkled face.

Juliet, out with you, she barked. Mary’s gone and broken a lamp, and we need another set of hands.

I stepped away from Dr. Hastings, relief rolling off me like a cold sweat. My eyes met Mrs. Bell’s briefly as I slipped into the hall. I knew that look. She couldn’t watch out for me all the time.

One day, she might not be there to intercede.

THE MOMENT I WAS free of those dark hallways, I dashed into the street toward Covent Garden as the moon hovered low over London’s skyline. The harsh wind bit at my calves through worn wool stockings as I waited for a carriage to pass. Across the street a figure stood in the lee of the big wooden bandstand’s staircase.

You awful creature, Lucy said, slipping out of the shadows. She hugged the collar of her fur coat around her long neck. Her cheeks and nose were red beneath a light sheen of French powder. I’ve been waiting an hour.

I’m sorry. I leaned in and pressed my cheek to hers. Her parents would be horrified to know she had snuck out to meet me. They had encouraged our friendship when Father was London’s most famous surgeon, but were quick to forbid her to see me after his banishment.

Luckily for me, Lucy loved to disobey.

They’ve had me working late all week opening up some old rooms, I said. I’ll be cleaning cobwebs out of my hair for days.

She pretended to pluck something distasteful from my hair and grimaced. We both laughed. Honestly, I don’t know how you can stand that work, with the rats and beetles and, my God, whatever else lurks down there. Her blue eyes gleamed mischievously. Anyway, come on. The boys are waiting. She snatched my hand, and we hurried across the courtyard to a redbrick building with a stone staircase. Lucy banged the horse-head knocker twice.

The door swung open, and a young man with thick chestnut hair and a fine suit appeared. He had Lucy’s same fair skin and wide-set eyes, so this must be the cousin she’d told me about. I timidly evaluated his tall forehead, the helix of his ears that projected only a hair too far from the skull. Good-looking, I concluded. He studied me wordlessly in return, in my third-hand coat, with worn elbows and frayed satin trim, that must have looked so out of place next to Lucy’s finely tailored one. But to his credit, his grin didn’t falter for a moment. She must have warned him she was bringing a street urchin and not to say anything rude.

Let us in, Adam, Lucy said, pushing past him. My toes are freezing to the street.

I slipped in behind her. Shrugging off her coat, she said, Adam, this is the friend I’ve told you about. Not a penny to her name, can’t cook, but God, just look at her.

My face went red, and I shot Lucy a withering look, but Adam only smiled. Lucy’s nothing if not blunt, he said. Don’t worry, I’m used to it. I’ve heard far worse come out of her mouth. And she’s right, at least about the last part.

I jerked my head toward him, expecting a leer. But he was being sincere, which only left me feeling more at a loss for words.

Where are they? Lucy asked, ignoring us. A bawdy roar spilled from a back room, and Lucy grinned and headed toward the sound. I expected Adam to follow her. But his gaze found me instead. He smiled again.

Startled, I paused a second too long. This was new. No vulgar winks, no glances at my chest. I was supposed to say something pleasant. But instead I drew a breath in, like a secret I had to keep close. I knew how to handle cruelty, not kindness.

May I take your coat? he asked. I realized I had my arms wrapped tightly around my chest, though it was pleasantly warm inside the house.

I forced my arms apart and slid the coat off. Thank you. My voice was barely audible.

We followed Lucy down the hall to a sitting room where a group of lanky medical students reclined on leather sofas, sipping glasses of honey-colored liquid. Winter examinations had just ended, and they were clearly deep into their celebration. This was the kind of thing Lucy adored—breaking up a boys’ club, drinking gin and playing cards and reveling in their shocked faces. She got away with it under the pretense of visiting her cousin, though this was a far step from the elderly aunt’s parlor where Lucy was supposed to be meeting him.

Adam stepped forward to join the crowd, laughing at something someone said. I tried to feel at ease in the unfamiliar crowd, too aware of my shabby dress and chapped hands. Smile, Mother would have whispered. You belonged among these people, once. But first I needed to gauge how drunk they were, the lay of the room, who was most likely not to laugh at my poor clothes. Analyzing, always analyzing—I couldn’t feel safe until I knew every aspect of what I was facing.

Mother had been so confident around other people, always able to talk about the church sermon that morning, about the rising price of coffee. But I’d taken after my father when it came to social situations. Awkward. Shy. More apt to study the crowd like some social experiment than to join in.

Lucy had tucked herself on the sofa between a blond-haired boy and one with a face as red as an apple. A half-empty rum bottle dangled from her graceful fingers. When she saw me hanging back in the doorway, she stood and sauntered over.

The sooner you find a husband, she growled playfully, the sooner you can stop scrubbing floors. So pick one of them and say something charming.

I swallowed. My eyes drifted to Adam. Lucy, men like these don’t marry girls like me.

You haven’t the faintest idea what men want. They don’t want some snobbish porridge-faced brat plucking at needlepoint all day.

"Yes, but I’m a maid."

A temporary situation. She waved it away, as if my last few years of backbreaking work were nothing more than a lark. She jabbed me in the side. You come from money. From class. So show a little.

She held the bottle out to me. I wanted to tell her that sipping rum straight from a bottle wasn’t exactly showing class, but I’d only earn myself another jab.

I glanced at Adam. I’d never been good at guessing people’s feelings. I had to study their reactions instead. And in this situation, it didn’t take much to conclude I wasn’t what these men wanted, despite Lucy’s insistence.

But maybe I could pretend to be. Hesitantly, I took a sip.

The blond boy tugged Lucy to the sofa next to him. You must help us end a debate, Miss Radcliffe. Cecil says the human body contains two hundred ten bones, and I say two hundred eleven.

Lucy batted her pretty lashes. "Well, I’m sure I don’t know."

I sighed and leaned into the doorframe.

The boy took her chin in his hand. If you’ll be so good as to hold still, I’ll count, and we can find our answer. He touched a finger to her skull. One. I rolled my eyes as the boy dropped his finger lower, to her shoulder bones. Two. And three. His finger ran slowly, seductively, along her clavicle. Four. Then his finger traced even lower, to the thin skin covering her breastbone. Five, he said, so drawn out that I could smell the rum on his breath.

I cleared my throat. The other boys watched, riveted, as the boy’s finger drifted lower and lower over Lucy’s neckline. Why not just skip the pretense and grab her breast? Lucy was no better, giggling like she was enjoying it. Exasperated, I slapped his pasty hand off her chest.

The whole room went still.

Wait your turn, darling, the boy said, and they all laughed. He turned back to Lucy, holding up that ridiculous finger.

Two hundred six, I said.

This got their attention. Lucy took the bottle from my hand and fell back against the leather sofa with an exasperated sigh.

I beg your pardon? the boy said.

Two hundred six, I repeated, feeling my cheeks warm. There are two hundred six bones in the body. I would think, as a medical student, you would know that.

Lucy’s head shook at my hopelessness, but her lips cracked in a smile regardless. The blond boy’s mouth went slack.

I continued before he could think. If you doubt me, tell me how many bones are in the human hand. The boys took no offense at my remark. On the contrary, they seemed all the more drawn to me for it. Maybe I was the kind of girl they wanted, after all.

Lucy’s only acknowledgment was an approving tip of the rum bottle in my direction.

I’ll take that wager, Adam interrupted, leveling his handsome green eyes at me.

Lucy jumped up and wrapped her arm around my shoulders. Oh, good! And what’s the wager, then? I’ll not have Juliet risk her reputation for less than a kiss.

I immediately turned red, but Adam only grinned. My prize, if I am right, shall be a kiss. And if I am wrong—

If you are wrong—I interjected, feeling reckless; I grabbed the rum from Lucy and tipped the bottle back, letting the liquid warmth chase away my insecurity—you must call on me wearing a lady’s bonnet.

He walked around the sofa and took the bottle. The confidence in his step told me he didn’t intend to lose. He set the bottle on the side table and skimmed his forefinger tantalizingly along the delicate bones in the back of my hand. I parted my lips, curling my toes to keep from jerking my hand away. This wasn’t Dr. Hastings, I told myself. Adam was hardly shoving his hand down my neckline. It was just an innocent touch.

Twenty-four, he said.

I felt a triumphant swell. Wrong. Twenty-seven. Lucy gave my leg a pinch and I remembered to smile. This was supposed to be flirtatious. Fun.

Adam’s eyes danced devilishly. And how would a girl know such things?

I straightened. Whether I’m right or wrong has nothing to do with gender. I paused. Also, I’m right.

Adam smirked. Girls don’t study science.

My confidence faltered. I knew how many bones there were in the human hand because I was my father’s daughter. When I was a child, Father would give physiology lessons to our servant boy, Montgomery, to spite those who claimed the lower classes were incapable of learning. He considered women naturally deficient, however, so I would hide in the laboratory closet during lessons, and Montgomery would slip me books to study. But I could hardly tell these young men that. Every medical student knew the name Moreau. They would remember the scandal.

Lucy jumped to my defense. Juliet knows more than the lot of you. She works in the medical building. She’s probably spent more time around cadavers than you lily spirits.

I gritted my teeth, wishing she hadn’t told them. It was one thing to be a maid, another to clean the laboratory after their botched surgeries. But Adam arched an eyebrow, interested.

Is that so? Well then, I have a different wager for you, miss. His eyes danced with something more dangerous than a kiss. I have a key to the college, and you must know your way around. Let’s find one of your skeletons and count for ourselves.

Glances darted among the other boys like sparks in a fire. They prodded one another, goading each other on in anticipation of the idea of a clandestine trip into the bowels of the medical building.

Lucy gave me an impish shrug. Why not?

I hesitated. I’d spent enough time in those dank halls. There was a darkness there that had worked its way into the hollow spaces between my bones. A darkness that clung to the hallways like my father’s shadow, smelling of formaldehyde and his favorite apricot preserves. Tonight was supposed to be about escaping the darkness—if not in the arms of a future husband, at least in a few lighthearted moments.

I shook my head.

But the boys had made up their minds, and there was no convincing them otherwise. Are you trying to get out of a kiss? Adam teased.

I didn’t respond. My desire for flirtation had evaporated at the mention of the university basements. But if Lucy didn’t balk at the idea of seeing a skeleton, surely I shouldn’t. I cleaned the cobwebs from their creaky bones every night. So what was holding me back?

Lucy leaned in and whispered in my ear. Adam wants to impress you with how brave he is, you idiot. Swoon when you see the skeleton and fall into his arms. Men love that sort of thing.

My stomach tightened. God, was this what normal girls did? Feign weakness? I could never imagine Mother, with all her strict morals, doing something so scandalous as slipping into forbidden hallways on a dare. But Father—he wouldn’t have hesitated. He would have been the one egging them on.

Dash it. I snatched the rum and poured the last few swallows down my throat. The boys cheered. I ignored the queasy feeling in my stomach—not from the rum, but from the thought of those dark hallways we were soon to enter.

TWO

WE BUNDLED INTO OUR coats and slipped into the cold night, crossing the Strand toward the university’s brick archway. This late only a few lanterns shone in the upper windows. The boys passed a bottle around with hushed laughter at being on school grounds after hours. I wrapped my arm around Lucy’s and tried to join the mirth, but the warmth didn’t spread below my smile. For the boys, this taste of mild scandal was titillating. They’d never known real scandal or how it could tear a person apart.

Adam led us to the side of the building, through a row of hedges to a small black door I’d used only once or twice. He unlocked it and held it open. Hesitation rooted my feet to the ground, but a gentle tug from Lucy led me inside. The door closed, plunging us into darkness broken only by the moonlight from one high window.

The hallway filled with the eerie silence of unused rooms. My hands itched for a rag and brush as a legitimate reason to be here. Coming on a lark to settle a silly wager, risking my job—it didn’t feel right.

Lucy squinted into the darkness, but I kept my eyes on the tile floor. I already knew what lay at the end of the hall.

Well? Adam asked. Which way to the skeletons, Mademoiselle Guillotine?

I started to head for the small door to the storage chambers, but a light at the opposite end of the corridor caught my eye. The operating theater. Odd; no one should have been there this late. Something about that light chilled my blood—it could only mean trouble.

We’re not alone, I said, nodding toward the door. They boys followed my gaze and grew quiet. Lucy slid off her glove and found my hand in the dark.

Adam started toward the operating theater, but I grabbed the fabric of his cuff to hold him back. The hallways were filled with the normal smells—chemicals and rotten things. Usually it didn’t bother me, but tonight it felt so overpowering that my head started to spin. A wave of weakness hit me and I grabbed his wrist harder.

Are you all right? he asked.

I waited a few seconds for the spell to pass. These spells were not uncommon, coming upon me suddenly, usually in the late evening, though I wasn’t about to explain their source to him. The skeletons are the other way, I said.

"Someone’s in the theater after hours. Whatever they’re doing, it has to be good. The skeletons can wait." His voice was charged. This was a game to them, I realized. If they got caught, the dean might give them a stern talking-to. I would lose my livelihood.

He cocked his head. You aren’t scared, are you?

I scowled and let go of his cuff. Of course I wasn’t scared. We made our way silently down the hall. As we approached the closed door, a sound began to gnaw at my ears. It took me back to my childhood, when I would hide outside the door to Father’s laboratory, listening, trying to imagine what was happening within before the servants chased me off.

The sound grew louder, a scrape-tap, scrape-tap. Unaccustomed to being in a laboratory, Lucy threw me a puzzled look. But I knew that sound. The scrape of scalpel on stone. A gesture surgeons made to clean the flesh from the blade between cuts.

Adam threw open the door. A half dozen students huddled around a table in the center of the room, over which a single lamp formed an island of light. They looked up when we entered, and then after a few seconds their faces relaxed with recognition.

Adam, you cad, get in and close the door, said one of the students. He threw Lucy and me an annoyed look. What are they doing here?

They’ll be no trouble. Right, ladies? Adam raised his eyebrow, but I didn’t answer. A good part of me contemplated bolting out the door and leaving them to their sick lark. Yet I didn’t. As we drifted closer with hesitant steps, I could feel the stiffness in my bones easing, as though releasing some pent-up, slippery curiosity from between my joints.

Why were they in the operating theater after dark?

Adam peered over the surgeon’s shoulder. Their bodies blocked the table, but the metallic smell of fresh blood reached me, making my head spin. Lucy pressed a handkerchief to her mouth. Memories of my father flooded me. As a surgeon, blood had been his medium like ink to a writer. Our fortune had been built on blood, the acrid odor infused into the very bricks of our house, the clothes that we wore.

To me, blood smelled like home.

I shook away the feeling. Father left us, I reminded myself. Betrayed us. But I still couldn’t help missing him.

They shouldn’t be here, I murmured. This building’s closed to students at night.

But before Lucy could answer, the scrape of the scalpel sounded again, drawing my gaze irresistibly to the table. We stepped forward. The boys paid us little attention, except Adam, who moved aside to make room. My breath caught. On the table lay a dead rabbit, its fur white as snow and spotted with blood. Its belly had been sliced open, and several organs lay on the table. Lucy gasped and covered her eyes.

My eyes were wide. I felt vaguely sorry for the dead rabbit, but it was a far-off sort of thought, something Mother might have felt. I wasn’t naive. Dissection was a necessary part of science. It was how doctors were able to develop medicine and how surgeons saved lives. I’d only ever glimpsed dissections a handful of times—peeking through the keyhole of Father’s laboratory or cleaning up after medical students. After work, in my small room at the lodging house, I’d studied the diagrams in my father’s old copy of Longman’s Anatomical Reference, but black-and-white illustrations were a poor substitute for the real thing.

Now my eyes devoured the rabbit’s body, trying to match the fleshy bits of organ and bone to the ink diagrams I knew by heart. An urge raced through my veins to touch the striated muscle of the heart, feel the smooth length of intestine.

Lucy clutched her stomach, looking pale. I watched her curiously. I didn’t feel the need to turn away like normal ladies should. Mother had drilled into me the standards of proper young ladies, but my impulses didn’t always obey. So I had learned to hide them instead.

I looked back at the rabbit. Creeping vines of worry wound around my ankles and up my legs.

Something’s wrong.

The student performing the surgery glanced up, irritated, before selecting another scalpel and returning to work.

Sh, Adam breathed in my ear. My chest tightened as my eyes darted over the rabbit. There. The rabbit’s rear foot jerked. And there. Its chest rose and fell in a quick breath. I clasped Lucy’s hand, feeling the blood rushing to the base of my skull.

My brain processed the movements disjointedly, with an odd feeling like I had seen all this before. I gasped. It’s alive.

The rabbit’s glassy eye blinked. My heart faltered. I turned to Adam, bewildered, and then back to the table, where the boys continued to operate. They ignored me, as they ignored the rabbit’s movements. Something white and hot filled my head and I gripped the edge of the table, jolting it. It’s not dead!

The surgeon turned to Adam in annoyance. You’d better keep them quiet.

It isn’t supposed to be alive, Lucy stammered, her face pale. The handkerchief slipped from her hand, falling to the floor slowly, dreamlike. Why is it alive?

Vivisection. The word came out of me like a vile thing trying to escape. Dissection of living creatures. I took a step back, wanting nothing to do with it. Dissection was one thing. What they were doing on that table was only cruel.

It’s just a rabbit, Adam hissed. Lucy began to sway. I couldn’t tear my eyes off the operation. Had they even bothered to anesthetize it?

It’s against the law, I muttered. My pulse matched the thumps of the frightened rabbit’s still-beating heart. I looked at the placement of the organs on the table. At the equipment carefully laid out. It was all familiar to me.

Too familiar.

Vivisection is prohibited by the university, I said, louder.

So is having women in the operating theater, the surgeon said, meeting my eyes. But you’re here, aren’t you?

Bunch of Judys, a dark-haired boy said with a sneer. The others laughed, and he set down a curled paper covered with diagrams. I caught sight of the rough ink outline of a rabbit, splayed apart, incision cuts marked with dotted lines. This, too, was familiar. I snatched the paper. The boy protested but I turned my back on him. My ears roared with a warm crackling. The whole room suddenly felt distant, as though I was watching myself react. I knew this diagram. The tight handwriting. The black, dotted incision lines. From somewhere deep within, I recognized it.

Behind me, the surgeon remarked to another boy in a whisper, Intestines of a flesh-toned color. Pulsing slightly, likely from an unfinished digestion. Yes—there, I see the contents moving.

With shaking fingers I unfolded the paper’s dog-eared right corner. Initials were scrawled on the diagram: H.M. Blood rushed in my ears, drowning out the sound of the boys and the rabbit and the clicking electric light. H.M.—Henri Moreau.

My father.

Through his old diagram, these boys had resurrected my father’s ghost in the very theater where he used to teach. I was flooded with a shivering uneasiness. As a child I’d worshipped my father, and now I hated him for abandoning us. Mother had fervently denied the rumors were true, but I wondered if she just couldn’t bear to have married a monster.

Suddenly the rabbit jolted and let out a scream so unnatural that I instinctively made the sign of the cross.

Good lord, Adam said, watching with wide eyes. Jones, you cad, it’s waking up!

Jones rushed to the table, which was lined with steel blades and needles the length of my forearm. I gave it the proper dose, he stuttered, searching through the glass vials.

The rabbit’s screams pierced my skull. I slammed my hands against the table, the paper falling to the side. End this, I cried. It’s in pain!

Lucy sobbed. The surgeon didn’t move. Frustrated, I grabbed him by the sleeve. Do something! Put it out of its misery.

Still, none of the boys moved. As medical students, they should have been trained for any situation. But they were frozen. So I acted instead.

On the table beside me was the set of operating instruments. I wrapped my hand around the handle of the ax, normally used for separating the sternum of cadavers. I took a deep breath, focusing on the rabbit’s neck. In a movement I knew had to be fast and hard, I brought down the ax.

The rabbit’s screaming stopped.

The awful tension in my chest dripped out onto the wet floor. I stared at the ax, distantly, my brain not yet connecting it with the blood on my hands. The ax fell from my grasp, crashing to the floor. Everyone flinched.

Everyone but me.

Lucy grabbed my shoulder. We’re leaving, she said, her voice strained. I swallowed. The diagram lay on the table, a cold reminder of my father’s hand in all this. I snatched it and whirled on the dark-haired boy.

Where did you get this? I demanded.

He only gaped.

I shook him, but the surgeon interrupted. Billingsgate. The Blue Boar Inn. His eyes flashed to the ax on the floor. There’s a doctor there.

Lucy’s hand tightened in mine. I stared at the ax. Someone bent down to pick it up, hesitantly. Adam. Our eyes met and I saw his horror at what I’d done, and more—disgust. Lucy was wrong. He wouldn’t want to marry me. I was cold, strange, and monstrous to those boys, just like my father. No one could love a monster.

Come on. She tugged me through the hallways to the street outside. It was cold, but my numb skin barely felt it. A few people passed us, bundled up, too concerned about the weather to notice the blood on our clothes. Lucy leaned against a brick wall and pressed a hand over her chest. My God, you cut its head off!

Blood was on my hands, on the tattered lace of my sleeves, even dotting the diamond ring my mother had left me. I stared at the paper in my fist. The Blue Boar Inn. The Blue Boar Inn. I couldn’t let myself forget that name.

Lucy braced

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3.9
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  • (5/5)
    This book was amazing- I loved every moment of it and I'm going to assume this will be my favorite of 2013. There were some issues in the beginning with the story needing a little more thought but nothing too major as to ruin this awesome book. I would love to see this one made into a movie. I checked this book out from our local library and I've fallen in love and intend on buying a brand new copy for my shelves. I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a dark- twisted- adventure :) I've not read the classic by H.G. Wells but I loved this book so much I've started The Island of Dr. Moreau --- The writing style was great easy to follow beautifully done. The characters were memorable as was the story. If your on the fence with this one pick it up it's worth the read.
  • (3/5)
    This review was originally posted on my blog

    2.5 stars rounded up to 3

    I have heard many people rave about how good The Madman’s Daughter is, so I put it on hold at the library and read it when it came in. It didn’t fully sound like my type of book, but I’ve had others surprise me, so I decided to give it a chance. I didn’t hate it, so I don’t regret reading it, but I probably should have gone with my gut. I certainly didn’t love it. Honestly, I’m still trying to decide, almost 2 weeks after finishing it, whether I liked it or just thought it was okay.

    As it says in the description, The Madman’s Daughter is a retelling of The Island of Dr. Moreau. I was not familiar with this story, so I looked it up on Wikipedia before starting. I kind of wish I hadn’t, and I kind of wish that the fact that it is inspired by The Island of Dr. Moreau wasn’t stated in the description. I think it took away a lot of what could have made the book so much better for me. I should have gone into it blind.

    The Madman’s Daughter starts off with Juliet in London, orphaned and working as a cleaning lady at the local college to earn a meager living. After going to a party, she sees something that she shouldn’t have, which leads her to believe her father is a live. She goes in search of clues and finds out that he is when she runs into their old servant boy, Montgomery, who disappeared at the same time as her father. After running into some trouble, Juliet goes back to Montgomery and demands he take her back to the island to see her father. Along the way, they find a castaway who is almost dead, and Juliette convinces Montgomery and the captain of the ship taking them to the island to save his life. Here inevitably starts a completely absurd and, in my opinion, unnecessary love triangle between Juliet, Montgomery, and the castaway, Edward.

    Honestly, I think I have two major complaints about The Madman’s Daughter, but they kind of tie together. First, I just felt it was a bit too long. There were several scenes that I felt were unnecessary and drawn out. Part of the problem, I think, is that as the reader, if you’re familiar with the story of Dr. Moreau, then you know a lot of what’s going on on the island. However, Juliet is clueless, so we spend a lot of time with her wondering and just being in the dark. I felt that that got old really quickly, and I just wanted her to figure out what was going on. Like I said, if I hadn’t read the plot of The Island of Dr. Moreau, this may not have felt as drawn out to me, and I may have been on the edge of my seat, along with Juliet, wanting to know what was going on. Unfortunately, I did know what was going on, so it took out a lot of the mystery, and it frustrated me and made Juliet seem naive and ignorant.

    I don’t remember everything about the book, but I do remember making a comment to my mother around page 250 wondering what on earth could possibly happen in the 170 more pages. A lot did happen, and the ending was actually pretty good, including a few twists that I didn’t see coming.

    Overall, I thought that The Madman’s Daughter was a decent read, but that it may have benefitted from a little cutting. Like I said, I felt it was a little long and drawn out in places. But it still wasn’t horrible.

    Apparently, The Madman’s Daughter is going to be part of a series, but for me, I actually liked the ending. I thought it tied things up fairly nicely, and I was satisfied. I feel no urge to read the sequel, however, I might, if I hear good things about it. I don’t really like to not finish series, but it’s definitely not one that I feel is a must read for me. Since I still can’t decide how I feel about it, I’m going to give it 2.5 stars.
  • (3/5)
    This book sounded so awesome. A dark and gritty premise about a mad scientist who continues his work on a remote island. Sounds good, right? For some reason I was thinking it would be something like Shutter Island, but it's not, or wasn't for me. Me and The Madman's Daughter had a very roller coaster type relationship. Very up and down. I was enjoying it for the most part in the beginning. But then Edward came into the story. I obviously didn't read the summary very thoroughly because I didn't realize there was going to be ANOTHER boy involved other than Montgomery. I didn't see the point in Edward, other than another love interest for Juliet, which made this one big love triangle.Now, usually love triangles don't bother me. It doesn't keep me from reading a book. I actually enjoy love triangles. But this one didn't work for me and made it difficult for me to enjoy the story most of the time. I would have enjoyed the The Madman's Daughter a lot more if it only focused on Montgomery and Juliet's relationship because I liked them as a couple and I was rooting for them the whole time. I was enjoying the story when it was just those two. Don't get me wrong though, Edward does give more to the story towards the end as we learn his side of the story, but I figured out his big secret about halfway through. Which is not a good thing for this book, because when I figured it out, I was hoping I was wrong. But I won't go into that anymore because I don't want to spoil anything. I did really enjoy reading about Juliet's dad and what he had created while on the island. It was really interesting to see how these animal creatures saw him as a god and how they lived. I also LOVED Balthazar and his relationship with Montgomery. These two were the reason I really continued to read. I felt so sorry for Balthazar and I just wanted to hug him even though he is half dog half sheep or whatever. And I loved Montgomery because he cared for all the weird animal creatures and became friends with them. I'm not quite sure how I feel about Juliet though. Sometimes I really enjoyed her and like how she was a strong character who did things here way. But then other times I found myself not really caring what happened to her. What I wasn't prepared for, though, was the scenes were animals were being operated on, while they were awake! I am a big animal lover, I don't do books or movies where I know the animals die. I just can't do it and I don't like it. Therefore, you can bet I was somewhat upset when about 50 pages in, Juliet has to chop off a rabbits head to get it out of it's misery because she caught some boys operating on it. I did get used to it though, and came to expect it, so it wasn't too bad as I went on. The Madman's Daughter also moved a little slow for me. I think part of this had to do with the fact that I didn't like Edward, so whenever he was in a scene, I lost interest. I also skimmed a few pages towards the end because I wanted to actually get to the good stuff.So, I don't think this review is making a lot of sense, but that sums up my relationship with this book. At one point the story would be very interesting, but then a while later, I would find it to be kind of dull. Also, THE ENDING! The ending makes me all kinds of mad and nobody should be allowed to end a book that way. I don't know if I hate the ending or love it.
  • (2/5)
    To see formatting, please view on my blog.Book Info: Genre: Fantasy Reading Level: Young AdultRecommended for: People who enjoy YA paranormal esp. with romantic trianglesTrigger Warnings: murderAnimal Abuse: VivisectionMy Thoughts: It's so crazy how much things have changed since the time period in which this is set. Take this section:"He rolled up my sleeve, then brushed a finger against the sensitive skin of my inner elbow. My breath caught. I was alone in a young man's room, letting him touch me in places he shouldn't even see." Oh my, what a hussy, showing off her inner arm! Meanwhile, I'm reading this in a T-back tank top and shorts while sitting outside in the sun...What really bothered me about this is that despite her stated modesty and propriety in the story, she's shown on the front cover with her hair loose, and a loose gown hanging off her shoulder, and barefoot.Here's the thing. This was a tossed-across-the-room book. I finished it, which is the only reason it received 2 stars. Why did I end up throwing it across the room in a fit of pique? Because of Juliet. GAH! Juliet... Here's the thing. Remember last week with my “too stupid to live” heroine (see review linked here where formatting allowed)? Juliet is the same way. She would put herself into really idiotically dangerous situations and then she'd end up panicking and becoming absolutely useless. Or throwing a conniption fit and becoming absolutely useless. The only reason I finished the book was because I enjoyed The Island of Dr. Moreau and I enjoyed the other characters: Montgomery, Edward, Balthasar, Alice. Henri Moreau himself was a jerk, but the rest I just felt sorry for.It's really a pity, this book had a lot of promise. But I just ended up so annoyed by the end that I had to throw it to rid myself of some of that aggravation. If you like this sort of book, please don't let me stop you, but I will not be bothering with the rest of this trilogy, nor will I be bothering with the movie when/if it is made. PASS!Disclosure: I received a paperback ARC from Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.Synopsis: 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.
  • (4/5)
    The Madman's Daughterby Megan Shepherd#1 The Madman's Daughter TrilogyAudio narrated by Lucy Raynor4*setting: 1895, London & an unnamed tropical island somewhere off the coast of AustraliaMy, oh my, oh my. (Picture me rubbing my hands together in glee.) I just happened across this novel while searching for the word "boatswain" to fulfill a requirement in a reading challenge. I was pondering Peter Pan (Smee was Hook's boatswain/bosun/bos'n) or Mutiny on the Bounty when I became intrigued by this one instead. I'm so glad I found it. I just started reading it with nothing more than the book blurb hinting what was inside. As I got into it, I kept thinking that the premise seemed familiar. Doh. That's because it is a retelling of the classic gothic-horror-fantasy-science fiction book written by H.G. Wells in 1896, The Island of Dr. Moreau. This story is told from his daughter, Juliet's, point of view.As the novel begins, 16-year-old Juliet Moreau has fallen from an upperclass lifestyle after a whispered about scandal involving her father, Dr. Henri Moreau, a notable physician and research scientist, took him away from her. She had always presumed he was dead, because his sudden disappearance had left her and her mother destitute. Her mother had to resort to quiet "arrangements" with high class gentlemen in order to make ends meet. After her death from consumption, Juliet found employment as a maid at King's College of Medical Research cleaning the laboratory at the end of each day. She was not bothered by the specimens in jars or the blood or other organic debris, as she was raised in the home of her father and was born with a natural curiosity and affinity toward medical science. Because she was a girl, of course, she was not allowed to study medicine, but she became adept at eavesdropping on her father and watching him through cracks in the door. Her childhood friend, Montgomery, who worked as Dr. Moreau's assistant, would sneak medical books to Juliet, so she became quite knowledgeable on her own.Juliet unintentionally finds herself caught up in a couple minor scandals herself, one caused by a lecherous older man who works at King's College. She injures him after his attempt to molest her. Of course, the fallout would affect her more than the old coot, so she knew she would no longer have a job. Around the same time, she runs into her old friend, Montgomery, who had disappeared the same time as her father. She learns from him that Dr. Moreau is still alive and is doing research on a tropical island. She is devastated that he just abandoned her and never sent word (or money), yet she is thrilled to know he is alive and well. She is now determined to find him and decides to go back with Montgomery when his ship returns to the island.Along the way, they rescue a young man adrift in a small dinghy and bring him to the island as well, planning to send him on his way with the next trading ship (which could take a year or more). When they reach the island, Juliet is taken aback by her father's lukewarm welcome, and to his acerbic and violent reaction upon seeing the rescued man, Edward Prince. Her father's dark side continues to show itself as Juliet and Edward learn more about his research and what he is creating on the island. Juliet feels drawn to Edward, who is obviously smitten with her and feels protective toward her, but she cannot let go of her longtime feelings for her old friend, Montgomery, whom she feels safe with and always looked up to and adored. All throughout, she is confused by her newfound feelings and goes back and forth dreaming about both men. Torn between two lovers, feeling like a fool...We learn more about Dr. Moreau's unusual experiments, using the torturous and cruel method of vivisection (and without using anesthetic), as he fuses together parts from different living beings, intermingling species. He has many of his creatures there on the island, some in more advanced forms than others. Many are deformed, some are very intelligent with human-like qualities, others cannot speak or have mutated into dangerous horrific beings. He's learned to interfere with brain function, removing or tweaking certain areas in order to eradicate less desirable features or to improve functions to a higher level. Dr. Moreau is playing at being a god. There is a lot to debate regarding the ethics of how new information is discovered and used to achieve advancements in certain scientific areas when the power to do so is put in the wrong hands. The original book by H.G. Wells caused a lot of controversy and scandal when it was released, the blurring of lines between humans and animals, the hints of bestiality, cannibalism, etc. Wells himself said his book was "an exercise in youthful blasphemy".Juliet often battles her own morbid curiosity about her father's research even though she knows what he's doing is wrong and that he, himself, is a madman in the truest sense of the word."Edward was strangely quiet, shocked by the horror of it, as I should have been. But as much as I knew I should be repulsed, my curiosity burned so brightly it made my humanity flicker and dim."Some of Dr. Moreau's creatures start to turn, suddenly becoming violent as they discover the taste of blood. Juliet, Montgomery, and Edward plot together and plan to make their escape on the last remaining dinghy left on the island, hoping to run into a larger ship. Juliet is encouraged to round up anything of value which can later be sold. A loyal part dog-part bear creature, Balthazar, helps load up water, food, clothing, parasols, anything that will help them survive the journey.As chaos reigns on the island and time begins to run out, more twists and turns to the story cause surprise and leave the reader with the feeling of, "What? No! No, no, no!" This is a thought-provoking novel, for sure, and full of dark, gloomy, gothic suspense. This does not completely align with the original Wells' novel, and leaves an opening for future books in the series.The author continues this story with a second book which pulls from Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and follows with a third book stemming from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
  • (4/5)
    4Q, 4P. The writing wasn't amazing, but it was pretty good. I think that the plot of a girl ending up on her mad scientist father's island would be appealing. I enjoyed it. I had read "The Island of Doctor Moreau" a few years ago, so I thought that this would be interesting. It is inspired by that story, so it doesn't actually follow the events of the whole book, which gives it the freedom to go where it wants to a certain extent. It a fun, dark read. I had to wonder how Juliet, the main character, could be constantly thinking out her love life in the midst of so much danger, but I appreciated that she was a strong female character. I liked that it does still ask one of the central questions of the original: does the fact that science can do something make it right?
  • (3/5)
    Overall I just found this book to be okay. I thought I would like it a heck of a lot more than I did. Was it creepy? Oh yes. This book is pretty messed up at parts, but with it's inspiration, I don't know how one could assume otherwise. I did like Juliet and the characters, but there was just something about the book that did not draw me in. It's a bit of a bummer for me, but I don't think I'll be continuing this story. If you like a good, creepy, gothic-type story I would recommend this one though. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
  • (5/5)
    I read the other reviews and I don't think I can add a thing to give more information on the story. I will say that the book is a very entertaining and extremely fast moving piece of fiction. The cover said that the book was for people thirteen and up - Well it is full of sadism, violence, vivisection and gore. So, I guess 13 and 14 year olds will love it. It is over 400 pages but is easy to read and the pages just fly by. Foe a first time author this is an exceptionally good piece of writing.
  • (3/5)
    Haven't been able to quite wrap my head around how I feel about this novel... mc was annoying, simpering - can't choose between two men, but action was exciting.... hmmmm. Full review to come.
  • (4/5)
    Due to copy and paste, formatting has been lost.The Madman's Daughter is one of those books that I just knew that I would like. And for once, well, I was right. I did really like this one, and for me it wasn't very predictable. But I've never read The Island of Dr. Moreau, so this was a completely new experience for me.I found Juliet to be a very...interesting/completely out of it character. She has ideas about things that just drive me absolutely mad. *I have developed a british accent in my head after reading this* At first her illness seemed really odd, but as some of the details about her father started to fall into place, it was like I suddenly figured it all out. And once I figure it out, I really wanted to beat some sense into Juliet. For instance, if you've read The Island of Dr. Moreau, you understand this: but there are natives on the island. And there is only one woman, a teenager, that Juliet deducts came on a boat...but. There are natives. She never even wonders where they came from? Really. I guess it kind of makes sense (her ignorance) for that time frame...but girl. People don't come from storks.There are several other things that bothered me about her powers of deduction too, but for the sake of spoilers I won't reveal them. The island was so strange! When we first got there, I was questioning everything. I wanted to know about the past, and why and just everything. But the more I read, the more that it just got weird and twisted. Juliet thinks that what she did at the beginning was unnatural, but I disagree. What her father was doing was unnatural. And weirdly shocking.As the story wore on, a couple new characters were introduced. And some had pasts that I never would have suspected. My face was like this by the ending: O.O All in all, it was a really good story, but I can't shake the feeling that it could have been a little better.
  • (4/5)
    My review style is, and always will be, to write up my review right after I complete the book, and I do mean right after. If I can't write the review, I will save the last chapter until I have time. Doing otherwise would allow me to slack off, and I would never get anything reviewed, as well as giving me time to forget the book. The downside of this reviewing method, one I just have to accept, is that occasionally I have to try to compose a meaningful, coherent review while shell-shocked by what I've just read. Bear with me, as The Madman's Daughter definitely left me feeling a bit dazed.

    On a lot of levels, I'm really not entirely sure just how I felt about this novel. One thing that I do know quite for sure is that Shepherd writes well. Her syntax and diction dovetail with the historical setting, and never once threw me out of the book. Though much of the novel consists more of suspense than outright action, Shepherd kept the story tense and me on the edge of my couch.

    Littered throughout The Madman's Daughter are literary references. Of course, the novel itself retells H.G. Wells' The Island of Dr. Moreau, which I have not read. However, my perusal of the Wikipedia article convinces me that Shepherd reworked the story with a deft hand. In addition to this, she sprinkled in numerous references to Shakespeare, including The Tempest, a very apt work to be brought up in this instance. There is even a reference to X-Men, though not, obviously, so overt of one, since it didn't exist back then.

    What I found myself utterly unprepared for was how utterly dark, gruesome, creepy and horrifying this book is. Had I read Wells' work, I would have been better informed of the coming experience, but I knew nothing. Yes, the cover hints at creepiness, but this turned out to be one of the scariest books I have ever read. Of course, suspense has always been my weak point, as well as some other issues that I'll tackle next. Shepherd hits most of the staple varieties of horror: not knowing who to trust, fearing darkness with in oneself, mad science, gore, suspense, chases and more. Were I a big reader of horror, I do not know that I would have marked this as a must-read, but, let me tell you guys, you want this.

    However, I know a lot of people, myself included, have a big issue with animal death in novels. For me, kill a human and I'm rarely bothered; kill a furry, adorable creature and I will ugly cry. An animal dies in an awful way in chapter two, and over the last half of the novel focuses on just vicious, awful things done to animals in the name of science. Again, were I familiar with Dr. Moreau, I would have known, but... If you're seriously concerned, my recommendation would be to read Wells' novel or a summary of it online, because I suspect Shepherd's is darker than the original, based on my sole Wells experience.

    Juliet Moreau has a lot of sass and she made a delightful main character. I rooted for her along the way, which only made the horror that much more terrifying. Juliet's father, the infamous Dr. Moreau died, and, eventually, her mother did as well, leaving her to the charity of family. Unfortunately, her extended family turns out not to be at all charitable. Pulling on an old connection of her father's, she manages to obtain work at King's College as a maid, sunk low in prospects and station. At the college, Juliet is sexually harassed in the first chapter. I worried about whether she would have enough spunk to be an interesting main character, but, believe me, this girl holds her own once she is not trying to keep her job anymore.

    Shepherd also excelled at Dr. Moreau, who fits the mad scientist role to a T. Not really a spoiler because obviously: he's actually alive. He also very much comes across as a man of the time period. So many historical novels depict most of the characters as rather modern with regards to women's rights, particularly those appealing to female readers. Dr. Moreau has no such conceptions, believing women are to be married to the men their fathers say, and that they should do nothing but needlework and piano playing until that time comes. Juliet, feisty and clever, struggles against how he wishes her to behave.

    Sadly, I was not so fond of her love interests, Montgomery and Edward. Yup, a love triangle strikes again, though not one of the most annoying ones. I will credit Shepherd with not making it insanely obvious which man would be her choice, and with making both of them very obviously flawed, though neither one ranked as swoon-worthy for me. The love triangle reminded me somewhat of that in Griffin's Masque of the Red Death, though I felt a bit more sure in The Madman's Daughter which guy would win in the end. However, the ending did surprise me, so bonus points for that.

    Do not let the lovely cover fool you: The Madman's Daughter is horror through and through. Though not for the faint of heart, Shepherd has constructed a well-written and clever retelling, sure to delight fans of creepy tales.
  • (2/5)
    A story set in 1890s (?) London, it's told from the point of view of Juliet, a young empoverished teen girl. She survives without her genteel mother (died) & her "banished" famous father scientist, Henri Moreau, by cleaning at the medical hospital where her father once was an esteemed teacher and surgeon. From page one, Juliet is threatened by a creepy doctor who pretends to look out for her, but has more carnal designs. Then her well off friend Lucy takes her to a "forbidden" party, both of them unescorted amid a group of Lucy's cousin Adam & friends, all medical students. Lucy dazzles them with her knowledge of the human skeleton and accepts a wager to sneak back into the medical building, & find a skeleton. However, they actually stumble on a group of students performing an vivasection experiment on a rabbit, in spite of the university's prohibition against it- to Juliet's horror she recognizes the notes they're consulting are her father's. The lurid details are provided, I assume, for drama's sake, but this author's constant references to Juliet's thoughts, past, etc makes it clumsy at best. Juliet chops off the rabbit's head to end its agony and shocked, Lucy drags her out. And all in two short chapters- in between these plot details we learn Juliet's fears about being more like her father- a cruel, logical scientist, and not heeding her mother's voice, a gentle, well reared upper class woman forced to take on a "male caller" after her father left them behind (having fled the country because of his illegal medical activities). And this is only the start - Juliet tries to seek out the "doctor" the medical students had admitted had given them the diagrams, thinking her father might be back in the city. She gets "abducted" by a heavily bearded strange man, & in this process, re-discovers Dr. Moreau's longtime servant and lab assistant, Montgomery. Montogmery fills in some details about what's become of her father; needing to leave London, she insists on sailing w/Montogmery on a ship to the remote island where her father has relocated, hoping to reunite with him. During the journey, a boat with a shipwrecked, almost dead young man is taken aboard, and with Juliet's medical assistance, nursed back to health. Edward has a mysterious past, only admitting that he's fleeing a domineering father, a general on a tour of duty, and not eager to reunite with an aristocratic family back home. This is chapter ten.... Needless to say, the plot twists and turns continue, including meeting her father again on his jungle island, experiencing the strange, somewhat deformed staff who serve her father in his compound, and trying to decide if she could actually help him. Very quickly, via a dark, foreboding lab building, she discovers to her horror(but all the hints/details about Dr. Moreau provided throughout the book doesn't surprise us, so why her?) that he has continued to pursue strange, unholy experiments on animals to make them human-like. Edward and Montgomery circle her -as expected- while Juliet expresses in breathless prose how she is attracted to both and can't decide if and who she loves. Juliet's constant mental handwringing and angst over every emotion she feels, told in overblown descriptions and distracting metaphors became tedious. There's some real tension about how and when the three main characters will escape off the island, but with 45 chapters total (a bit much for my patience level) and at 360 pages it probably would be a challenge to all but the most devoted of teen (girl) readers. And yes it ends with a surprising (albeit unrealistic) twist, a cliffhanger that will be continued with her subsequent books in this series.
  • (3/5)
    I was so excited for the release of The Madman's Daughter, however the book fell short of my expectations. The problem I have wasn't in the plot or the writing but the pacing and the dreaded love triangle. I'm don't mind a bit of romance in a book as long as that's not the main focus, unfortunately, that is what happened with this novel. The beginning of the book started off with a bang and reeled you in but then the pace slowed down considerably in the middle. If the ending hadn't been so full of action and Wow, didn't see that coming this would have been a two star review. The last part of the book was amazing and has me anxiously awaiting the next book in the series. I would recommend this book to fans of horror or science fiction.
  • (4/5)
    I am the first to admit that, when it comes to creepy reads, I am not always your girl. I am a bit of a wimp, and tend to watch those scary horror films through my fingers. Unfortunately, when it comes to reading, that doesn't really work so well, so it was with some trepidation that I went into The Madman's Daughter. Having only a cursory knowledge of the source work - The Island of Dr. Moreau - I was nonetheless sure that this would be a somewhat brutal book. And I wasn't wrong. There were times I definitely found myself cringing at the descriptions of the gore, but mostly I was horrified at Juliet's father, who was just ... a really terrible person.I want to commend the author on the fabulously dark gothic setting of this book. Even when Juliet was still in London, the dark and dank of the walls and the city really came through the pages, placing me firmly in the narrative. I really felt myself traveling along with Juliet as she rode on the boat and came to her father's island. The descriptive prose was beautiful and flowing, and - even when the events of the book had me shrinking away - I still very much enjoyed her style of writing and the way she told her story.My one complaint was the romance of this book, which honestly got on my nerves. I didn't like Montgomery very much at all; anyone who blindly follows such a horrible man as Dr. Moreau has some serious issues, and doesn't make for a very romantic character. Edward, on the other hand, is nicely dark and mysterious, and I loved how the story of his life was slowly unraveled and revealed to the reader. I was definitely pulling much more for him!I also need to give props to Juliet herself, who is one tough, determined lady. While I didn't enjoy reading about her feelings for either of the boys, I did like how she worked to reconcile the fact that her father - despite his evil - was a part of her whether she liked it or not, and what that meant for her. I can't help but be intrigued by her character; she has a lot of truths revealed to her and is really going to have to grapple with her knowledge of some dark and terrible things that are definitely going to impact her for a long time.Brutal and gruesome in equal measures, The Madman's Daughter is not a book for the faint of heart. There's a lot of terrible goings-on happening throughout the story, and Juliet's father is quite possibly one of the evilest men I've ever read about. While the romantic aspects of the story left a lot to be desired for me personally, I still very much enjoyed the setting, Juliet's character, and the driving tension that moves the plot along. There is a very open ending that sets up the sequel, and after seeing what book it's based on, I absolutely cannot wait to dive into it!
  • (4/5)
    Simply put, The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd is an eerie, bold, and captivating piece inspired by the classic The Island of Dr. Moreau. The intriguing premise unfolds into this beautiful and addicting story with strong characters, shocking twists, and a romantic love triangle in a frightening and dark world.Summary:16-year-old Juliet Moreau lived a comfortable life in her family's mansion on Belgrave Square. But after her father's scandal and banishment from London, she struggles to make ends meet and works as a cleaning maid at King's College. Upon a surprise reunion with her former servant Montgomery James, Juliet travels to a remote island to search for her father, Dr. Henri Moreau, who was once a famous surgeon and physiologist in England. Soon, she learns the horrifying truth behind crazy rumors about her father's experiments and is also torn between her feelings for Montgomery and Edward Prince, a charming yet mysterious castaway.My Thoughts:The book starts off in an intense and fast pace. It was creepy but interesting. I think Shepherd did a great job at building a Gothic Victorian setting, and she was able to capture the essence of the scary and spooky island. The story was very enthralling for the majority of the storyline, with a slightly boring and uneventful transition that leads to some surprising revelations and discoveries at the end.It was so fun to read about these characters, especially for Juliet, who is a strong and dynamic heroine. She was somewhat irritating and doubtful when it comes to her romantic dilemma between Montgomery and Edward, but she is still a very likable and awesome protagonist. She is also extremely intelligent and smart, a rare quality that is not quite common among YA female characters.The love triangle was probably my least favorite thing about this book, and I was happy to find that it isn't a dominate theme in the story. What I did really liked was the mad doctor. It's a very well written, complicated, and provocative character. Unlike most villains, Juliet's exiled father is actually quite sophisticated and perplexing yet also cruel and ruthless at the same time. Combined with the dark and mysterious island setting, Shepherd was able to add an alluring but chilling vibe to the entire story.Half way through the book, I knew that this was going to be amazing, but the unpredictable twists at the end are just brilliant and well crafted. There are some gruesome scenes in the story, but for those who can stomach these, this is a truly incredible book.
  • (5/5)
    After finishing this book, I'm completely floored by it. The book left my emotions in shambles and I want more. Alright, so the beginning of the book is a bit confusing. As the reader, your placed right into the story and it takes a few chapters before you settle into the story. The good thing is the author did a great job of giving the history if Juliet little by little as she tries to find her father. Once settled into the story the rest flows like butter. It's get better and better with each chapter. You begin to suspect that not all it what is seems and the horror of it all captures you in its hold. The love interest! This is one of the first books I read so far that actually did NOT end on a happy ending. And you know what? That's great! It definitely left my mind and heart shattered but so wanting more. Seriously, when he changed his mind at the last minute, my heart broke. I felt every emotions in my wake and burn. It was UGH! I did not want to turn the last page, knowing what it held for me. The Madman's Daughter is a superb story that you must read. It may start off shaky, but DAMN does it blow your mind. It's extravagant and wonderful, The Madman's Daughter is HOTT!
  • (5/5)
    Juliet Moreau has gone from being a proper young lady, the daughter of London's best surgeon to being a maid, barely getting by, an orphan. She also has to live with knowing that her father, the man no presumed dead, ruined not only his reputation but their family's when he was accused of horrible crimes in his role as doctor.Presumed dead, Juliet's father disappeared never standing trial for his crimes. Filled with her childhood memories of a caring father, Juliet has never entirely believed the tales of his crimes. Despite his absence and the hardship it has caused her, when possible evidence of not only the doctor's mortality, but nearness appears, Juliet has no choice to follow-up.Who and what she finds is more than shocking.More than a little timely, as well.When the meager life Juliet has managed to scrape together for herself threatens to fall apart, knocking her even farther down the social ladder, there is an option for her.To find her answers, Juliet will travel to a remote island and learn more about herself, her father, his supposed crimes, and the actual island than she ever could have expected.I did not know all of what The Madman's Daughter was about before I started reading. I knew it was a Gothic set in the nineteenth century. Then it started with these two lines: "The basement hallways in King's College of Medical Research were dark, even in the daytime.At night they were like a grave."While I'm sure you can find better opening lines, I'm particularly fond of these. Pair them with the title and the cover and knowing that Juliet is the daughter of a man who used to be England's top surgeon and now, presumed dead, is accused of horrible crimes -- and she's a cleaning the Medical College?It makes for a story that I really, really enjoyed discovering as I read it. I loved not knowing the twists and turns as they came. Even not knowing the big plot points ahead of time was really fantastic. (Which is why there are less in my synopsis than the publisher one, but it is available on Goodreads.)One of the things that made this such an absolute stand-out novel for me was the way author Megan Shepherd is able to transport a reader to the world she has created. Yes, a lot of novels do use more descriptors, are more elaborate in the way they set up scenes, but not for a better end result.It has been a long, long, long time (if ever) since I have read something that so fully draws you into the story that when you stop reading, it's a surprise to see your own surroundings and not those of which you were just reading. It feels like you should look up and see the island all around you.Not only that, other scenes between characters feel so real, so charged that it draws you in and you can picture it -- a bunch of adjectives or no.It's also great that the 'Victorian sensibilities' aren't forgotten. Little things come up at different points i the story that seem to keep it in the time period and not only because of their clothing and lack of electricity. I really appreciated the way the era effected the story and characters.While some of the revelations towards the end were not wholly unexpected, others were more surprising and they, along with the character development, character interactions and tension made the last third of the book my favorite.I'm excited to read numbers two and three in this series. (I am also now interested in The Island of Dr Moreau by H.G. Wells which inspired this novel, a story I hadn't given much thought to before, honestly.)(advance copy received from publisher)
  • (5/5)
    Juliet Moreau's teenage life has been tumultuous and traumatic. When she was younger, her family was part of the highest of society. Her father, Henri Moreau was a well respected scientist and she lived very comfortably with her loving family. Then, the unthinkable happens. Her father is involved in a huge scandal involving rumors of inhuman, grotesque experiments and disappears, presumed to be dead. Her life falls apart and she is cast adrift. With no family and no money, Juliet gets a job as a maid and struggles to earn enough to live. She is one step from living in the streets. Her life takes another turn when she sees her father's assistant Montgomery, who knows that her father is alive and well and living on a remote island. Juliet convinces him to let her accompany him to see her estranged father. After a grueling journey and a castaway named Edward joins them, they arrive at the beautiful, wild island. It's inhabited by mysterious, strange, and twisted people who treat Henri as their god. Juliet will find out what's happening on this island and if the rumors that led to her downfall are true at any cost.The Madman's Daughter is an excellent novel that retells The Island of Dr. Moreau through the perspective of Dr. Moreau's daughter. This story is deliciously gothic and melds turn of the century England society with science tinged fantasy and horror. The setting is perfect, both in England and on the island. The contrasts between the two is stark. England is busy, bustling, and dangerous, particularly to Juliet as an unmarried, disgraced girl with no family. The scientific community during this time was full of experimentation and wonder. Charles Darwin's discoveries were not too long ago and this is the century when scientist became a legitimate profession. Henri Moreau's experiments show the dark side to the possibilities of science, where madmen strive to become gods. The vivisections and grotesque experiments (as well as the results of those experiments) proved to be sufficiently thrilling and suspenseful. The island, although bright and wild, became more dark and sinister than England because of Henri's out of control experiments. The bright and open landscape is deceptively beautiful and actually houses unnatural creatures and a murderous monster.The characters are engaging and unforgettable. Juliet Moreau is an impressive character. Despite being a step above the lowest of the low in English society, she manages to build a life for herself after her mother died and after being abandoned by her father. Her life is very tenuous and one wrong move would leave her to starve or to sell herself to survive. No one wants to associate with a disgraced girl, no matter what her previous position in society was. The only attention she gets is lecherous glances and advances from men in power who could ruin her life in a heartbeat. Juliet doesn't fall into a depression as many other YA heroines might. She fights back when a prestigious surgeon tries to rape her and convinces Montgomery, her father's assistant, to take her to the island. She has a fire, a curiosity, and a drive that makes her magnetic and enjoyable to follow. I love that she doesn't accept her horrible fate in society and does what she can in the face of great opposition to succeed. Her father, Henri Moreau, is just as interesting, but intensely unlikable. Although obviously brilliant, he is incredibly delusional, classist, misogynistic, and egotistical. The drive and curiosity that Juliet has came from her father, but in him, it is twisted and put towards unthinkable experiments that go horribly, horribly wrong.The Madman's Daughter succeeded in grabbing my attention on the very first page. I was hooked and doomed to read until I lost sleep and forgot meals. Megan Shepherd melded her own story with the source material seamlessly and made sure the romantic woes of Juliet didn't over power the larger story. I highly recommend this deliciously dark gothic read.
  • (1/5)
    Set in England, but the heroine uses American English. English Juliette wouldn't see a frown as involving a person's mouth, for example, or say "two hundred six". And she's way too obsessed with her clothing. Gave up after chapter one.
  • (5/5)
    I watched the old movie "The Island of Dr. Moreau" when I was very, very young, and it left a deep, creepy impression on me. The idea of animal/human mixed creatures freaks me out to this very day. But what freaks me out also draws me in, which is why I picked up The Madman's Daughter with such glee. This is told from the perspective of Juliet Moreau, the long neglected daughter of the infamous doctor who disappeared from London years ago. When Juliet's mother dies, she finds herself in dire straights, especially after she defends herself against a rape attempt by her employer. By accident (?), she runs into her father's young assistant in London, who confirms that her father is alive and well, that in fact the assistant is in town for a much needed provisions for the island that Dr. Moreau has been living and working on. Angry and disillusioned, but hoping that the rumors (and some of her memories of him) are not true, she convinces the assistant to let her go with him back to the island . He's the only family he has, and she has no where else to go. He reluctantly agrees. She sees bits and pieces of the cargo that is loaded on the less than reputable ship--strange animals and other puzzlements, but still clings to her feverent hopes of a joyous homecoming with her father. I'm guessing that I don't really have to say that that is not exactly what happens. This book is creepy and terrifying at times, at others there is a love story or two weaving in the shadows. It's fantastic read, and it seems that it MIGHT be a trilogy (this is unconfirmed). Juliet is a wonderful character, you'll want to meet her as long as you don't scare too easily. Whaaaa haaaa haaaa haaa.
  • (5/5)
    I got a copy of this book to review through Netgalley(dot)com. Thanks to Balzer and Bray and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to review this book. This was an engaging and disturbing young adult retelling of the Island of Dr. Moreau. Juliet Moreau is struggling to make a living as a maid; years ago her father disappeared and not long after that her mother died of cancer. Then Juliet hears rumors about a strange doctor staying in a nearby inn and sees copies of her father’s drawings. When she goes to investigate she finds the her father is not dead as thought, but merely on a deserted island continuing his questionable medical studies. She travels there with her childhood friend and Dr. Moreau’s assistant, Montgomery, and finds things more horrific than she could ever have imagined.Excellent young adult retelling of The Island of Dr. Moreau. This story has a bit of a gothic/thriller type feel to it. The mystery unravels slowly. Those who are familiar with the Island of Dr. Moraeu won’t be surprised by what Juliet finds when she goes to her father’s island but you will be surprised as the mysteries surrounding Juliet herself are revealed.The book is beautifully written and very well done. There is a bit of a love triangle here, which I am not a huge fan of. Still it was decently done.Juliet is a strong character that is easy to admire and engage with. The other characters on the island are similarly interesting. You are constantly wondering why Montgomery continues to work for Dr. Moreau and what Edward’s mysterious background is. There is just a lot of mystery hidden within all of these characters.The plot is very engaging and there are some huge twists in the story which caught me by surprise. There is also quite a bit of medical talk in the book since Juliet has been learning from all of the medical books her father left behind, I enjoyed this as well.The book is definitely best for young adult and older. There is an attempted rape scene, torture, and rather gory maiming of animals...just a heads up to be ready for some disturbing gore.Overall I found the book very hard to put down and very engaging. It was a fantastic read. The enjoyed the mystery and the twists and turns the story took. I also enjoyed Juliet, she is a strong female lead with some interesting aspects to her personality. I strongly recommend to fans gothic horror, who don’t mind a somewhat disturbing read.
  • (2/5)
    The idea of this story both fascinated and horrified me, but I did not like Juliet. She was so irritating, saying the same things about herself over and over; I pretty much understood her after the rabbit incident. The love triangle was weak and distracting, but Montgomery was dreamy in a sick sort of way. I heard it's going to be a movie; if that's true, I think it will be much better than the book. Seriously doubt I'll read the rest of the series.
  • (3/5)
    Interesting premise, but the story starts to drag in the middle, and the female protaginist starts out intrepid, but then becomes an insipid love-sick teenager.
  • (4/5)
    I have very mixed feeling about this novel. Juliet Moreau, the main character, seems to end up in an even worse situation at the end of the story than she was in at the beginning. This story is supposed to be inspired by the H. G. Wells' story The Island of Dr. Moreau which I have never read. The setting in Victorian England and an isolated island off the coast of Australia. I thought the world building was well done as the story just drips Gothic darkness. However, I did have some problems with the science fiction aspects of the story and the timeline. When Juliet reaches her father's isolated island, he has populated it with his experiments, but according to Juliet's age when he left England and her age when she reached his island, only six years have passed. Even insane dedication, which Dr. Moreau clearly possesses, would find it hard to accomplish what he is supposed to have accomplished. The descriptions of the surgical reconstruction of animals to make them more man-like and the combinations of species and the injections to change the brain move this well out of science fiction and into fantasy.Juliet has a lot to deal with in this novel. Since her father's abandonment and the scandal that accompanied it and since her mother's death, her situation in London is dire. She is working as a cleaning maid in the medical school and being harassed by one of her father's former colleagues. When she sees one of her father's anatomical drawings and learns that one of the medical students bought it from a guy, Juliet begins to think that her father has returned to London. When she investigates she meets Montgomery who was a servant boy and who was Juliet's childhood companion. She convinces him to take her to her father when he returns.They pick up a shipwreck survivor during their sea voyage and bring him to the island too. This is the basis for the required young adult love triangle. Juliet loves Montgomery who feels unworthy of her regard and her father is pushing the shipwreck survivor, Edward Prince, at her due to his supposedly higher social status.Conditions on the island quickly devolve as Dr. Moreau's creatures are getting out of control and some unexplained murders are taking place. All the while, Dr. Moreau is still in his own dream world where everything is all right and he is still focused on his experiments to create his perfect creature.Readers who enjoy historical fantasy will enjoy this Gothic thriller complete with a mad scientist, a troubled beauty, amazing creatures, and a romance too.
  • (4/5)
    Brilliant Doctor or Mad Scientist?? If you've ever read H.G. Wells, The Island of Dr. Moreau, then you'll recognize this book as a spin-off from it. The Madman's Daughter is told from the point of view of Dr. Moreau's daughter, Juliet. The story focuses on how Juliet deals with her fall from high society after her father's scandal and subsequent disappearance. Juliet was very young when the scandal happen so she doesn't really know what to believe and isn't sure exactly what happened to him so she sets out to find out for herself....

    I thought it was a pretty good alternative to the original story. It has a dark, gothic feel to it with a little romance and a little gore. What really got me though was the ending. It was one of the biggest twists I've read recently and it hit me like a ton of bricks because I did not see it coming at all. I also didn't realize this was a trilogy when I started reading it but I'm glad it is, after that gut wrenching ending. Thankfully, my hold on the second book, Her Dark Curiosity, is ready for pick up tomorrow. My stack just keeps getting bigger and bigger instead of smaller.
  • (5/5)
    OMG it was MORBID.

    but it was an okay novel for me... I liked Edward and I DO NOT THINK he's dead, nor is Juliet's father.
    and the ending... HOW COULD YOU Montgomery!!!!! Why choose those beasts over Juliet?! UGH!
  • (4/5)
    Who can resist an evil scientist running amok on a remote island, creating monsters from humans and animals? The Madman's Daughter is a fun, adventure read that is surprisingly put together well. Romance is typically a boring plot line in my opinion,and though there is some of it in this novel, it doesn't drag down the overall pace. Throughout the story there are surprises revealed about the creations/experiments,leaving open the question about what humanity really means to a soul.I look forward to the next installment.
  • (3/5)
    I mostly enjoyed this one. It read a lot slower than most of the books I've been reading lately. It had a dark gritty feel to the horror aspect. I kept waiting for her to realize that she was the same as B and should stay on the island too if she thought all of her father's experiments should stay. Overall, not super fantastic, but I will read the next one.
  • (5/5)
    I really enjoyed reading this one.
  • (5/5)
    OMG it was MORBID.

    but it was an okay novel for me... I liked Edward and I DO NOT THINK he's dead, nor is Juliet's father.
    and the ending... HOW COULD YOU Montgomery!!!!! Why choose those beasts over Juliet?! UGH!