Release Date: January 29, 2013 Publisher: Balzer + Bray Format: Hardcover, 420 pages (9780062128027) Source: Purchased from Mysterious Galaxy
Juliet Morea...moreRelease Date: January 29, 2013 Publisher: Balzer + Bray Format: Hardcover, 420 pages (9780062128027) Source: Purchased from Mysterious Galaxy
Juliet Moreau, who had only known a life of luxury and intrigue, has been sent to work as a maid at a medical school in London after her father is suspected of conducting horrific experiments. She is left orphaned and penniless in the growing industrial city, but soon uncovers a chilling clue that leads her to believe her father is alive and well... and continuing his gruesome experiments on a remote tropical island where he has been creating humans out of animals. With the help of her father's assistant, the handsome servant boy from her childhood, she sets off on a quest to uncover the truth of her father's work, and to discover whether or not she herself has the propensity for a bit of madness.
"The basement hallways in King's College of Medical Research were dark, even in the daytime."
The Madman's Daughter is the first in a new trilogy by Megan Shepherd, the first of which is inspired by H.G. Wells's classic horror story, The Island of Dr. Moreau, and an amazing kickstart to what I believe will be memorable series. Described as Gothic horror, I would say the story is more akin to historical romance set in a science fiction world with enough horror elements to satiate my grim appetite. It had enough drama to tug at my heartstrings and bring me to tears at certain points, and just enough mystery to keep me guessing until the shocking cliffhanger ending. Shepherd did a phenomenal job of building tension and leaving just enough to the reader's imagination to keep them on the edge of their seats.
"It was a dangerous pull in my gut drawing me toward the dark possibilities of science, toward the thin line between life and death, toward the animal impulses hidden behind a corset and a smile."
The story begins in mid-1890's London where poor orphaned Juliet Moreau has been sent to work as a maid at King's College of Medical Research. She has been surrounded by science and medicine since she was a little girl, and spent many a night spying on her father's work, trying to learn as much as she can in a world where a young lady's worth is measured by her breeding, not intelligence. In a world inhabited strictly by men, she finds herself the object of unwanted desire by one of the doctors, and a harrowing escape leads her to a seedy bar where she finds her childhood friend and father's assistant, Montgomery... along with a strange, deformed man known as Balthazar. The two set off on a journey to the island of Dr. Moreau, where Juliet hopes to uncover the truth of her father's accusations from London and her subsequent abandonment. What she finds, however, is an island inhabited entirely by her father's horrific imaginations, and confirmation to his inherent madness. Animals, which have been experimented on and surgically made to resemble humans, now roam the compounds, viewing Dr. Moreau as a veritable God among beasts. Of course, playing God comes with a price, and a series of murders allude to the destructive capabilities of the island's supposedly docile creatures, and reveals that the boundary between man and monster is sometimes blurred.
"The humanity behind such a deformed face troubled me deeply. Instead of returning the smile, I turned away guiltily."
Although I finished it very quickly and left me craving more, the book is not without its faults, however, and a few notable annoyances must be addressed. The romance / love triangle was a bit unnecessary, in my opinion. Although we are initially introduced to Montgomery as the love interest, a second man, Edward (no, not that Edward) enters the picture once they set out on their voyage. One is rich, the other poor. One rough and strong, the other soft and nimble. How can a lady of good breeding and marriageable age possibly be expected to choose? Well, I would think Juliet, as a daughter of a scientist and one who fancies herself a medical ingenue, would have a better understanding of her biological response to the two men and not spend her time clutching her pearls and breaking out the smelling salts every time she has a close encounter of the male kind. She should have the ability to decipher between love and lust, but alas, Juliet spends the bulk of the book lusting after one, regretting it, lusting after the other, regretting it, and pays no never mind to her father's clandestine experiments or the deformed and abused animal-human hybrids walking the compound. The pacing was also a bit slow, and we don't even arrive to the island until about 100 pages into the story, but I felt this was easily remedied with the sporadic action and genuine horror scenes which kept me wanting more. I hope these are issues Shepherd will fix with future installments in the series.
"'Don't be alarmed if you're awoken. The animals- they scream, you know."
The Madman's Daughter is a genuinely enjoyable and horrific account of science gone wrong and where the boundaries between truth and madness lie. The characters were memorable and each brought their own unique addition to the story. I was pleased that Juliet wasn't a complete bonehead, like most YA heroines tend to be, although I hope she plays a bigger role in the next book. Shepherd did a great job of offering enough clues about the mysteries surrounding the island and the experiments without revealing too much all at once, which allowed for just enough delightful intrigue to keep the horror aspect intact. And the ending... oh, that ending! The Madman's Daughter is one title you should definitely check out!(less)
Harbinger is the story of a young girl's struggle to supress the horrific images she sees when looking into other people's eyes, and her inability to...moreHarbinger is the story of a young girl's struggle to supress the horrific images she sees when looking into other people's eyes, and her inability to cope with the reality of everyday life in a world nearly destroyed by humanity. Her parents decide to send her away to Holbrook Academy, a boarding school for misguided youths, under the guidance of the head caretaker, Dr. Murdoch. Feeling betrayed and abandoned, Faye must accept the help Holbrook Academy has to offer, or face the abuse of the sadistic groundskeepers called Takers. However, she soon learns that there is more to this mysterious institution than the cookie-cutter facade presented in the brochures sent to her family. Now, Faye and her "family" of misfits at Holbrook, including the elusive and brooding Kel, find themselves involved in an ancient ritual involving crude talismans, symbols drawn in red, hidden rooms, and a foreboding prophecy predicting the end of life on Earth.
This is a fun and quirky book about a group of kids from different backgrounds who all have one thing in common- they all have phobias. Madeleine Mast...moreThis is a fun and quirky book about a group of kids from different backgrounds who all have one thing in common- they all have phobias. Madeleine Masterson is afraid of bugs, Theodore Bartholomew is afraid of dying, Lulu Punchalower is afraid of confined spaces, and Garrison Feldman is afraid of deep water. Each child recieves an mysterious invitation to attend the eccentric ex-beauty queen Mrs. Wellington's School of Fear, where they must conquer their phobias in the most unusual ways. Throughout the course of the semester, meet a cast a peculiar characters, including a pajama wearing dog named Macaroni, and discover that the school has some interesting secrets to hide.
Overall, both the writing and the story were good, I had the pleasure of meeting the author at Comic Con, and she was very friendly and enthusiastic about her new book. The characters are well developed (even Macaroni!) and have good chemistry, which is always a plus for me. I only gave this 4/5 stars because the plot was a little bizarre up until the end when it all comes together, which I think may be a turn off for some people. I'm not sure if there's going to be a continuation of the series, but fans of gothic style comedy should enjoy this one.(less)
Jason feels his life falling apart. His dad is an alcoholic, his mom is always away on business, and he just found out...more**spoiler alert** Story *** 2/5
Jason feels his life falling apart. His dad is an alcoholic, his mom is always away on business, and he just found out that his senile grandmother has passed away. Now he has to spend his vacation in Florida with his father, getting ready for her funeral and getting her house ready to sell.
At his grandmother's funeral, Jason notices the strange characters that he's never met before, but who apparently all know his grandmother. After which, he suspects he is being followed by the same weird people.
While cleaning up his grandmother's house, he finds a mysterious postcard that has clues leading to the Hotel DeSoto, a nearby hotel getting ready for demolition in preparation for a shopping mall.
Characters *** 2/5
Agnes Monroe Huff (Marnie Blaine)- Jason's grandmother. She met Nick Falcon when they were both young, and fell in love. She was injured after the flying accident with her father, who kept her locked away from Nick Falcon. Dia- Emerson Beale (Nick Falcon) Jason
I loved this book! When I first got into Wicca, I researched every fiction book I could find that had some sort of real magi...moreSummary:
I loved this book! When I first got into Wicca, I researched every fiction book I could find that had some sort of real magick elements to it, and stumbled across this gem. Contrary to what others have said, Stacey does NOT practice Wicca, but a form of magick passed on by her family. A good blend of mystery, horror, and romance rolled up into one fun magickal package!(less)