When I first saw the cover and synopsis of The Madman's Daughter I had immediate book -lust. A pretty cover, Gothic historical fiction thriller basedWhen I first saw the cover and synopsis of The Madman's Daughter I had immediate book -lust. A pretty cover, Gothic historical fiction thriller based on a classic? Even with an obvious love triangle in the making, I was so excited about this book.
And maybe that excitement and build-up is partly to blame for me not loving The Madman's Daughter as much as I thought I would. Expectation can really be a killer.
The Madman's Daughter is certainly a dark, Gothic, historical fiction. Although I have't read The Island of Dr. Moreau myself, I have a basic knowledge of the plot, and my impression is that Megan Shephard used that plot and really didn't hold anything back. This is definitely not a book for the easily upset or rattled - it's confrontational and dark, bordering on horror.
Juliet is a bit of a lost soul and although shes tough, brave and academically clever, it doesn't seem that she's very street-smart which is quite odd for a sixteen-year-old-girl who has been fending for herself in London - some of the decisions she makes on the island, and signals that she misses did make her a little frustrating for me. I also didn't understand her attraction to both Montgomery and Edward - I really liked Montgomery with his loyalty and calmness, but I found Edward kind of irritating, almost to the point of insipidness.
I loved the atmosphere that Ms. Shephard created in The Madman's Daughter - from London, to the sea journey and finally to the creepiness of the island, the whole book just made me feel like I was right there in the story, and although the 'mystery' was exactly what I expected, it was definitely creepy enough to get my attention.
The plot itself is really quite chilling and definitely one of the positives, along with Ms. Shephard's writing which really reflects the time period and the feel of the story. The island isn't described in minute detail, but it's mysterious and varied enough to really build up the plot and tension. There's not much more I can say without really giving away huge chunks of the plot, but it definitely kept me interested, despite some of the uneven pacing which had me either unable to put it down or bored.
This review is pretty much as confused as I felt about this book. I loved the plot, the feel and the world-building but I was underwhelmed by the characters and the pacing. However, I'm interested to see where this series goes next - especially when I feel the need for incredibly atmospheric writing.