Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Shivery Dr. Moreau Retelling As Creepy As the Original (Probably)

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Ever since the gruesome nature of her father's work was brought to light six years ago, Juliet Moreau has been careful to keep her head down.  The 16-year-old spends her hours working as a maid at a research hospital in London, going to church every week, and trying to forget she ever knew a man named Henri Moreau.  He's dead.  He, as well as the terrible research he purportedly engaged in, is better left forgotten.

Juliet has (almost) succeeded in putting her father out of her mind when she discovers that the rumors of his demise have been exaggerated.  According to Montgomery James, an old friend of Juliet's who is now her father's assistant, Henri is very much alive.  Refusing to be abandoned by her father once again, Juliet insists on accompanying Montgomery to the remote island where he lives and works.  What she finds there is a horror show of walking, talking experiments.  Repulsed and fascinated in equal measure, Juliet knows she has to leave the awful place before she becomes her father's willing accomplice.  But escaping the monsters on the island isn't so easy, especially when the most terrifying one of all might just be your own flesh and blood.

I've never read H.G. Wells' The Island of Dr. Moreau, but I know enough of the story to be creeped out by it.  Not that that stopped me from picking up The Madman's Daughter, a spin-off of the sci fi classic.  On the contrary—it made me even more eager to give the debut novel by Megan Shepherd a go.  Shepherd's version is a shivery Gothic tale full of mystery, suspense and, of course, scary monsters.  As Juliet discovers the truth behind her father's experiments, the reader can't help asking moral questions that are just as relevant today as they were in 1896, when Wells published The Island of Dr. Moreau.  All these things made the story appealing to me.  Not so palatable was the annoying love triangle between Juliet, Montgomery and a stowaway named Edward Prince.  Our heroine's irritating fickleness drove me mad, making her a less likable character, even though it's probably the only time she acts like a typical 16-year-old girl.  All in all, then, I found The Madman's Daughter engrossing and enjoyable.  Not my absolute favorite, but not bad either.

(Readalikes:  The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells; also, The Madman's Daughter's sequels, Her Dark Curiosity and A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for language (no F-bombs), violence/gore, nudity, and sexual innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of The Madman's Daughter with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.  

1 comment:

  1. I really think this is a great series. Very creative, how she uses different gothic literature for each story. I think I may have liked the second even better. And I can't wait for the third! If you liked this one, I recommend continuing the series. Great review!

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