Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Series Review of The Madman's Daughter Series by Megan Shepherd

I have been trying to figure out a way to share all these books I read with you but still include other non-review posts on the blog.  One method I have come up with was to share the reviews for an entire series (or pair) of books in one post.  I will do my absolute best to keep spoilers out of these posts in case you plan to read the books, but there is a slight chance that even the synopsis of a book can give away the result of the previous book. So if you don't want to know anything at all about the later books in a series that might giveaway something in the first book STOP READING NOW!

I have had the first book of this trilogy sitting on my Nook for a few years now, but once I discovered that the 3rd book is based on Frankenstein. In fact the whole series is based off classic gothic horror books, a fun concept for a trilogy to read in October right?! Well, let's see if you will find it being added to your TBR.

 Synopsis: "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."

My Review: I loved the Island of Dr. Moreau and when I discovered this retelling I knew I had to read it! I was a little nervous because you never know if re-tellings will hold up to the original story but I really didn't need to be with this one. It did start off a little odd and I wasn't sure how it was going to tie in to the original story but it really all came together very quickly. I loved how Shepherd managed to keep so much of the integrity and plot line of the original story intact while adding different twists to the story. I still got that awful shivery feeling many times throughout the book, which was awesome! Juliet did add a bit of a feminine feel to the story and it did get a little side tracked from time to time with thoughts of attraction, feelings and marriage but for the most part her analytical mind lent to the medical/ scientist feel of the story. I really enjoyed this one and immediately picked up the next book in the series.

My Rating: This was such an interesting take on the original book, it really dives into the shiver causing horror and brings it out again.  I really enjoyed this one and won't hesitate to read it around Halloween again some time. I give it a rating of Four Paws!


Synopsis: "To defeat the darkness, she must first embrace it.

Months have passed since Juliet Moreau returned to civilization after escaping her father's island—and the secrets she left behind. Now, back in London once more, she is rebuilding the life she once knew and trying to forget Dr. Moreau’s horrific legacy—though someone, or something, hasn’t forgotten her.

As people close to Juliet fall victim one by one to a murderer who leaves a macabre calling card of three clawlike slashes, Juliet fears one of her father’s creations may have also escaped the island. She is determined to find the killer before Scotland Yard does, though it means awakening sides of herself she had thought long banished, and facing loves from her past she never expected to see again.

As Juliet strives to stop a killer while searching for a serum to cure her own worsening illness, she finds herself once more in the midst of a world of scandal and danger. Her heart torn in two, past bubbling to the surface, life threatened by an obsessive killer—Juliet will be lucky to escape alive.

With inspiration from Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, this is a tantalizing mystery about the hidden natures of those we love and how far we’ll go to save them from themselves."

My Review: I was so eager to pick this book up after finishing the first book in the trilogy. Unfortunately, it didn't quite capture me the way The Madman's Daughter did. Maybe it was the fact that I have never read the original Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, I didn't find that same dark -give - me-shivers horror element. I also felt that the romance and love triangle took over the story which I wasn't thrilled about. I did however like when I finally had an ah ha moment when I made the connection to the third book, inspired by Frankenstein. 

My Rating: Maybe it was that I hadn't ever read the original book this one was based off or maybe that the author lost a little bit of that terrifying factor but bringing this into a city and allowing for more romance but it just didn't hold a light to the first book.  I give this one a rating of  Three Paws.


Synopsis: "After killing the men who tried to steal her father’s research, Juliet—along with Montgomery, Lucy, Balthazar, and a deathly ill Edward—has escaped to a remote estate on the Scottish moors. Owned by the enigmatic Elizabeth von Stein, the mansion is full of mysteries and unexplained oddities: dead bodies in the basement, secret passages, and fortune-tellers who seem to know Juliet’s secrets. Though it appears to be a safe haven, Juliet fears new dangers may be present within the manor’s own walls.

Then Juliet uncovers the truth about the manor’s long history of scientific experimentation—and her own intended role in it—forcing her to determine where the line falls between right and wrong, life and death, magic and science, and promises and secrets. And she must decide if she’ll follow her father’s dark footsteps or her mother’s tragic ones, or whether she’ll make her own.

With inspiration from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this breathless conclusion to the Madman’s Daughter trilogy is about the things we’ll sacrifice to save those we love—even our own humanity."

My Review: So I originally picked up this series to get to this book, I am a huge fan of Frankenstein and am always looking for re-tellings. Unfortunately, this book fell way short for me. You get a bit of the horror of playing god and using science to your own means but that pretty much ended before it ever really dug in. The romance that has been building throughout the series really took over in this book. It did explore a tiny bit about what is right and wrong, morals and ethics but again it didn't dig in deep enough to satisfy me, everything was really kept to the surface and the romance was allowed to distract from the original story. If you aren't looking for a deep, reflective book that explore the horrors of the human mind and conscience then pass this over, if you are looking for something that might try to scare you but not really and instead get a happy ending then go for it.

My Rating: Again this may be an issue with the fact that I am such a huge fan of the original work that this couldn't have even come close to it.  This really was a disappointment, it may suit other readers better but it was a let down for me.  I give it a rating of Two Paws.


Full Series Review: I was really excited to read this series once I found out a little more about it, and it did start out so strong with the first book.  Sadly, it spiraled downhill with each book. I think the main reason for that is that Shepherd shifted the focus from the horror and idea of playing god with science to a romance with some science horror on the side.  In the first book there was a great part where Juliet was hiding and she could hear the tap, tap, tapping of the beasts claws on the bars over her window during a storm, um hello! That is how you do it right, but we never quite got that again. With that said I am sure a lot of other YA readers prefer the romance, it makes the story more relatable and easier to read.  All in all it was a disappointment, especially after the bar set not only by the original classics but also the first book. I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.  Although it would almost be worth it to pick these books up for the covers alone!

1 comment:

  1. Maybe this is one of those series where the publisher pushes the author to make it a trilogy instead of just a standalone. I find that the first ones always really good when that happens and then the rest of the series just doesn’t hold a candle to the first book. The covers are really pretty though. Maybe I’ll just read the first one and leave it at that.