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.
I didn’t expect to like this book as much as I did, I loved it actually.
The concept is amazing, a lot like what we’re seeing with the rise of fairy tale retellings; and I think the use of classic novels – horrors in this case – is fantastic. The tale is dark and gritty and mind bending, while still being modern.
The characters are fantastic. I love Juliet, she’s fiercely independent, outspoken, and completely conscious of her faults. Yet, there is still a vulnerability that makes her relateable and explains her desperate actions.
Montgomery is so much more complex than you realize at the beginning. His feelings towards Juliet are obvious as well as his inherent goodness, but his reasons for working with her father give him a shroud of mystery for a good portion of the story. Slowly his compassion is revealed, his sense of loyalty and protectiveness, his intelligence and need to prove himself, and most of all his survival instinct. I also love the relationship between he and Juliet, it’s so natural and they meld together like two halves of a whole without detracting from any of the personal traits that make them compelling as individuals.
Edward is a mystery, and remains that way until the very end. His pull towards Juliet has something almost sinister about it, yet its clear he doesn’t want to be a bad guy at any stage. Juliet’s interest in him is understandable as she often admits that his darkness calls to hers. Obviously, he and Montgomery construct the love triangle to Juliet, but I thought it was done pretty well, she is drawn to each of them for different reasons, and I think her ultimate choice will reflect who she wants to become – and I don’t think that will happen until she comes to terms with her demons.
Her father is an interesting one. As the villain of the story its so well done, he believes in what he’s doing so much he’s blind to the wrongness of it. It’s made even more interesting with the juxtaposition between he and his creatures. I didn’t read the original story this was based on, so I don’t know how much of the traits stem from it, but this was fantastic.
The ending is full of so many reveals and twists, it’s crazy and leaves you breathless for a minute, but I’m really interested to see how it all plays out.
Also, as a side note. I had already pre-ordered The Cage, by Shepherd, so now that I have read this I’m even more excited for that!