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Book Review: The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

The Madman’s Daughter cover is perfect: calm with an underlying tension and creepiness. Normally, the creepiness factor outweighs everything else, but in this novel’s case, it worked in its favor.

Book Review: The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd

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The Madman's Daughter megan shepherd

Title & Author: The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd

Genre: YA – Fantasy, Retelling

Release Date: January 29, 2013

Series: The Madman’s Daughter #1

Publisher: Baltzar + Bray

How I Got the Book: Bought


“In the darkest places, even love is deadly.

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.”

Ya’ll Gonna Make Me Lose My Mind (Up in here, up in here)

With inspiration from the H.G. Wells book, The Island of Doctor Moreau, you can assume with 100 percent accuracy that The Madman’s Daughter was creep-tastic. The book was haunting and scary.

Juliet is struggling to get by in London – she’s working as a maid and trying to forget her family’s dark past. When she runs into Montgomery, her father’s assistant from years’ past, she starts to hope again: her father could be alive. She assumed the worst after the scientific community discredited his work and ambitions and he disappeared.

Thus starts Juliet’s journey toward the faraway island where her father lives and where a darkness deeper than she ever could have known is waiting for her.

What is amazing about this novel is how dark and disturbing it gets and how it still maintains a sense of young-adultness. Sometimes being a young adult novel is more than having characters who fit the age bracket.

It’s also about keeping young adult themes alive and well, and in The Madman’s Daughter, self-discovery and seeking parental approval play a major part in the story. Meanwhile, there’s also the fact that a beast is on the loose on the island and is killing innocent islanders.

What is really interesting about Juliet is that she knows her father (Dr. Moreau) has some great darkness in him. She still loves him and accepts him…but those limits are being tested once she lands on the island and sees what he’s been working on since he’s been away.

Juliet also knows how similar she is to her father – how she has his analytical mind and interest in science. She also knows the same darkness lives in her because she’s seen it rear it’s ugly head before.

Ya’ll Gonna Make Me Act a Fool (Up in here, up in here)

The Madman’s Daughter is a great book for three key reasons. One, it has a super interesting setting. The island (where most of the story takes place) is such a unique setting. Also it’s inhabitants are very…unusual as well.

Two, there is so much tension in the book that it drove me to read is at warp-speed. Who’s killing the islanders? How much does Montgomery know…is he hiding anything? Has Dr. Moreau crossed the line between playing God?

Three, the love triangle in the book was well-done and played off of a lot of different themes: class, status and honor.


Although I don’t recommend reading this debut novel at night…I do recommend that you read it. The Madman’s Daughter combined mystery, creepiness and romance is a really exciting and unique way – overall an awesome read.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.