The Madman's Daughter - YA Review by Ellen P

Reader: Ellen P
Age: 16
Title: The Madman's Daughter
Author: Megan Shepherd
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Pub Date: 01/29/13
Galley: No
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: This book wowed me. Having never read the book it is based on, The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells, I was interested to read a retelling of a classic that I didn't already know. The plot is unusual for YA literature and I loved the inclusion of science and the exploration of man playing God. These are themes that I hadn't seen before in YA lit. The setting was also interesting, as the locations are solidly placed in the mid to late 1800s while the scientific experiments going on are still far beyond today's knowledge. It was a great blend of historical fiction and science fiction that didn't go steampunk. Finally, Juliet Moreau's character was very intriguing. She was strong and smart, but also realistic as she showed fear and didn't always know what to do. Her rational and logical thinking was a refreshing point of view to read, and her mixed feelings about her father's experiments made her a very complex character. There is a love triangle in this book, but it is unobtrusive and complements the main plot rather than taking it over.
Memorable or Forgettable: The Madman's Daughter was extremely memorable because of the aspects listed above, but also because of the overall atmosphere. This is a very creepy book. I read it in broad daylight, and found myself horrified and repulsed by parts. The overall tone of Shepard's writing adds foreboding and the emotions in it feel very real. The ending, as well, was memorable - lets just say it could be called a cliffhanger. I rarely feel this frustrated after finishing a book about having to wait for the sequel.
Cover: I really liked this cover. It showed the dark tone of the book very well, and the red lettering contrasted nicely and pulled me in. I would have picked it up off a shelf based on the cover alone. However, the background of the cover doesn't reflect the setting of the novel, but that is only a small issue since the overall look is so good.
Age Range: 14 through 18 and up
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 5P Everyone wants to read it
Annotation: Juliet Moreau is the daughter of Doctor Moreau, the man scorned by all of London for his gruesome experiments on animals. She believes he is dead, but when she finds out that he is still alive on a remote island, she journeys there to find out whether the allegations against him are true.

tags:  science fiction / gothic thriller / ya lit

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