Book Recommendation: The Madman’s Daughter

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!

Madmans jkt Des1.indd 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.

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.)

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39 Responses to Book Recommendation: The Madman’s Daughter

  1. cait Feb 15 2013 at 5:14 am #

    I keep hearing about this book all over the blogosphere. It sounds AWESOME. Something that terrifies me? Besides big hairy spiders, I’ll go small hairy spiders. 😉

    • Amie Feb 15 2013 at 8:11 pm #

      It truly is awesome. And yes. Small hair spiders — check!

  2. Emily Feb 15 2013 at 5:29 am #

    Scares me silly? Ghosts. Honestly, of all supernatural being, ghosts have to be the most terrifying!
    Besides that, bugs. I still need other people to kill them for me!

    • Amie Feb 15 2013 at 8:12 pm #

      Okay, already realising this was not the smartest question to ask. Now I’m thinking about terrifying stuff!

  3. Christina K. Feb 15 2013 at 5:37 am #

    Orchids. I love flower and being outdoors, but orchids terrify me.

    Thank you:)

    • Amie Feb 15 2013 at 8:12 pm #

      Oooh, really? I’m going to have to look at them more closely from now on.

  4. Leigh Smith Feb 15 2013 at 8:41 am #

    Snakes! Ew ew ew ew ew. So gross and creepy. Spiders are not my friends either, especially since I’ve been bitten by brown recluses 3x. I have the scars to prove it.

    • Amie Feb 15 2013 at 8:14 pm #

      Oh man, those guys have it in for you! Three times is no coincidence!

  5. Jasmine Stairs Feb 15 2013 at 8:43 am #

    Scared of speaking in public and the dark, TERRIFIED of harm coming to my loved ones.

    • Amie Feb 15 2013 at 8:22 pm #

      Eep, I’ve elicited a whole new list of things I should be scared of!

  6. Victoria Feb 15 2013 at 10:14 am #

    I know I shouldn’t have, but as soon as I saw the words ‘trust me, don’t google that’ it was of course the first thing I did and OMG I actually think I would have run away screaming. Hats of to you dear and hope they’re prompt with that medal!

    • Amie Feb 15 2013 at 8:15 pm #

      I realised afterwards I really shouldn’t have said that! I’m so sorry I traumatised you!

  7. Christa Feb 15 2013 at 10:54 am #

    Needles! I am absolutely terrified of needles!

    • Amie Feb 15 2013 at 8:24 pm #

      Oooh, I hear that! I used to be, until a stint in hospital meant I had so many I just learned. Pro tip: if you wriggle your toes when they go in, it hurts less.

  8. Caitlin Vanasse Feb 15 2013 at 11:49 am #

    This is going to sound absolutely bonkers and I am slowly getting over it but for the longest time I have been absolutely terrified of Librarians. Which basically means I am fabulously good at using libraries and library websites without librarians. I’m mostly over it now but every once in a while I get stuck in an elevator with what is obviously a bunch of librarians and my heart races and I have remind myself to take deep breaths and stay calm.

    • Amie Feb 15 2013 at 8:25 pm #

      We have some lovely librarians who hang out here in the comments threads (please don’t be scared away!), I bet they’d love to prove how non-scary they are!

  9. Bess Gilmartin Feb 15 2013 at 11:57 am #

    Spiders. Like the black widow that last summer launched itself from the living room ceiling in the middle of the day right above the dog. I was home alone and had nothing at hand but a glass of water. I was so afraid it was going to eat the dog (really, that sucker was HUGE- and the red hourglass was even bigger), that I used the glass to scoop up the spider in mid-air, ran outside, and squished the heck of it. I still feel sick when I think of it!!!

    • Amie Feb 15 2013 at 8:26 pm #

      You can totally share my huntsman medal. You deserve it.

  10. stephanie garber Feb 15 2013 at 11:59 am #

    Great review! I kept hearing about this book, and now I can understand why. It sounds great!

    I actually really afraid of heights. If I go hiking I usually can’t finish the hike. If the people I’m with start climbing too high, I totally freeze up and start shaking.

    • Amie Feb 15 2013 at 8:27 pm #

      It really is great, highly recommended! And I hear you on the heights — my husband hates them, so I’ve learned to notice them!

  11. Hannah Feb 15 2013 at 1:35 pm #

    Honestly, I find nothing scarier than the dark. ANYTHING could be in my super dark bedroom closet at night! I have to flick the lights on in my whole condo before I go to bed, to make sure there’s nothing terrifying and possibly murderous hiding in the dark shadows or under a table or something. Maybe I watch too much SVU…

    • Amie Feb 15 2013 at 8:27 pm #

      Oh man! Now I’m going to be flicking lights on too!

  12. Taryn Feb 15 2013 at 1:49 pm #

    I am absolutely terrified by baby robins. I had a traumatizing encounter with one that my dog got a hold of and I have never really gotten over it. Also as a result I seem to be terrified of any other baby bird, especially the ones that hop around the yard but can’t fly yet. I have been trapped in my house before because one was on my front steps and I couldn’t do anything until my husband came and saved me.

    I will definitely be reading this book! =) Thanks for the recommendation!

    • Amie Feb 15 2013 at 8:28 pm #

      Oh, we used to have blackbirds that constantly launched themselves too early, it was a nightmare! I’m so thankful the dog never caught one!

  13. Kacey Feb 15 2013 at 5:05 pm #

    oh my god, spiders are the absolute WORST. I’m usually the one who catches bugs and lets them back outside, but if there’s a spider around, I will totally turn a blind eye while someone else stomps it to death. I also have a bizarre fear of all my teeth falling out. I have nightmares about it all the time, and it certainly didn’t help when I got my first ever cavity earlier this year.

    This is the first I’m hear of this book, but it sounds so awesome! I’ll definitely be reading.

    • Amie Feb 15 2013 at 8:29 pm #

      Augh, I totally have dreams my teeth fall out! I HATE those dreams! And I’m so glad you’ll be reading — it’s awesome.

  14. Erin L. Funk Feb 15 2013 at 5:10 pm #

    I’m part way through THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER right now and loving it. As far as things I’m afraid of, there are plenty, but I’ll go with heights and spiders. And yes, I was an idiot and googled the huntsman spider despite the warnings not to. I think I’m going to have nightmares tonight.

    • Amie Feb 15 2013 at 8:29 pm #

      I’m so glad you’re loving it! And I’m so sorry about the googling thing. I practically invited you too. They’re only in Australia, though!

  15. Vivien Feb 15 2013 at 5:20 pm #


  16. Kate F. Feb 15 2013 at 5:27 pm #

    I am terrified of sharks…….Like really really badly. Sometimes I can’t even get in a pool if I start to think of THEM. I’m kind of weird…….

    • Amie Feb 15 2013 at 8:30 pm #

      Yeah, those rows of teeth… your fear sounds legit to me.

  17. Peggy Eddleman Feb 15 2013 at 11:06 pm #

    I am so excited for this book!

    I am scared silly of spiders. And not just real ones– pictures of ones in books. I can’t even bring myself to touch the picture! The logical part of my brain keeps telling me how crazy that is, but my illogical part doesn’t care, and apparently it’s stronger.

  18. JQ Trotter Feb 16 2013 at 5:56 pm #

    I just bought this book and I’m dying to read it!

  19. Iqra Feb 16 2013 at 7:30 pm #

    I’ve been hearing great reviews about this book and am really excited to read it! I was just scared about five minutes ago…I was on my laptop in a dark room and I see something crawling on my keyboard and of course it was a SPIDER! I jumped and turned into a ninja lol

  20. Mariya Feb 21 2013 at 2:28 pm #

    What scares me silly is all those creepy movies about people getting possessed by the devil. Anytime I see previews on tv for such movies I have to close my eyes or go into another room because it creeps me out like crazy!

  21. Elizabeth Briggs Feb 26 2013 at 11:17 am #

    Can’t wait to read this book! I’m terrified of heights… I don’t even like balconies or anything.

  22. Alexa Y. Feb 26 2013 at 2:18 pm #

    I’m very much looking forward to reading this book! It sounds all sorts of creepy and atmospheric and different – and sometimes, that can be the very best thing about a story.

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