I am so excited to write this recommendation today! The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd came out on 29thJanuary, and it’s one helluva read! I was foolish enough to start it when I didn’t have time to finish it in one sitting, and when I had to tear myself away all I could think about was what might happen next. Today I’m delighted to give away some awesome Madman’s swag!
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.
Inspired by H. G. Wells’s classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman’s Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we’ll do anything to know and the truths we’ll go to any lengths to protect.
I could go on all day about this book! Here are a few of the things I loved about it:
Overall Thoughts: This book truly brought home to me the meaning of the word ‘atmospheric’. It lingered with me long after I was finished, and for me that’s always the best test. At times I didn’t know what to think or who to side with, and I never knew what was coming next. This book was discomforting, in the best possible way. It asked challenging moral questions, including about what it means to be human, and each time I thought I had an answer, it challenged me again. Reveal after reveal left me stumbling out into the daylight afterward, and I can’t wait for the sequel. (I mean really, I can’t. You’re all readers. It would be justifiable to go to Megan Shepherd’s house and make her tell me the rest of the story, right? Not too creepy?)
The World: Megan Shepherd creates a detailed, textured world you can sink your teeth into, from the damp cobblestones of Victorian London to the lush jungle of Dr. Moreau’s island. She doesn’t lecture or infodump – with a judicious texture here or an off-handed remark from a character there, she teaches us about the daily life of her characters, their attitudes and beliefs and immerses us in the way they live.
The Plot: Holy cow, people! Seriously! Twist upon turn upon twist upon turn! This story features high stakes for everybody, and Shepherd doesn’t take her foot off the pedal for anything! Every time I was sure I had it figured out, she’d throw something new into the mix. My brain was in overdrive trying to guess where we were headed next.
The Heroine: I adore what Megan Shepherd did with Juliet. Juliet’s a truly textured character, and Shepherd wasn’t afraid to take risks with her. I knew I was onto something special when Juliet said, quite early on, that after growing up with her father, the smell of blood wasn’t terrifying, or disgusting. To her, blood smelled like home. Juliet wasn’t always sympathetic, and that was fine with me—I watched as she learned more about her father, her family and her past, and as she questioned her own beliefs. There wasn’t a moment when I didn’t want to know how her story ended.
Today I’m giving away autographed Madman’s bookmarks and limited edition Madman’s Daughter tea! To enter, just leave a comment telling us one thing that terrifies you! (I’ll start us off: giant hairy spiders. Ew.)
(Important editorial update: within three hours of posting this, the author was required to catch literally the largest, hairiest huntsman spider (trust me, don’t google that) she had ever seen. She is currently lying down and recovering, and waiting on her bravery medal.)