Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd

Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepard“Sometimes you have to embrace the darkness to stop it.”

Juliet Moreau escaped her father’s island and returned to London. She is trying to rebuild her old life and forget about her father and the secrets she left behind on the island, but when people she knows begin to get murdered in an all too familiar way, she fears that the secrets have caught up with her after all.

The Madman’s Daughter was both creepy and amazing, so I was very excited to read this sequel, which is basically a retelling of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. While this was definitely a great follow up to the first book, Juliet herself annoyed me a bit in this one.

People that have previously wronged Juliet begin to die, and they are killed the same way that the victims on the island were murdered. Juliet begins to think that Edward followed her back to England, and she is worried that the monster part of him has taken control. At the same time, Juliet is still pining over Montgomery, who admitted to caring for her but then stayed on the island rather than coming back to London with her.

It was Juliet’s back and forth between Edward and Montgomery that annoyed me in this book. I didn’t mind the love triangle in the first book because it was easy to see how Juliet could be torn between the two, but in this book it got to be a little bit too much. She literally bounces back and forth between the two and constantly feels guilty about it. Instead of just not involving herself with either man until she figures out what she really wants, she basically gets the best of both worlds for awhile at the expense of both of their feelings.

However, other than this problem, I really loved the rest of the book. Juliet is trying to solve these murders and at the same time is trying to figure out how to make a new serum to keep her condition from ruining her life. She basically sets up her own chemistry lab in a little room and tries over and over to replicate the serum that her father invented. I liked how she was able to throw herself back into her old life in society yet keep her independence by sneaking out at night to experiment.

I also loved seeing Edward’s constant conflict with the monster that lives within him. It’s easy to understand Juliet’s own inner conflict when it comes to Edward–on the outside he is a kind and respectful man who adores her, yet inside him lurks another being that enjoys killing and will stop at nothing to gain control. She is torn about what to do with him because she doesn’t want to hurt him, yet doesn’t want the Beast to hurt anyone else.

Overall, I enjoyed Her Dark Curiosity even though the love triangle bothered me a bit. I’m excited to see how this will all end in the final book.

Her Dark Curiosity was released on January 28, 2014 and is the second book in The Madman’s Daughter trilogy. The final book, A Cold Legacy is expected to be released in 2015.

The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Sheperd

The Madman's Daughter by Megan Sheperd“A scream hurled up my throat, but I never heard it. I’d slipped into a welcoming darkness.”

Juliet Moreau lived a life in the high society of London, until her father’s scandal and disappearance left she and her mother penniless. When her mother died from illness, Juliet was left on her own and found work as a maid in the university where her father had worked. While she cleans the laboratory where her father was rumored to conduct gruesome experiments, she becomes determined to discover if the accusations are true. She learns that her father is still alive and living on an isolated island off the coast of Australia. She travels to the island with her father’s assistant, Montgomery, and along the way they pick up a castaway named Edward. While Juliet is drawn to both men, she is forced to realize the extent of her father’s insanity. On the island, he has begun to experiment on animals, manipulating them so that they speak and walk like humans. Aside from her father’s madness, there is a creature killing people on the island–one of her father’s experiments gone wrong. Juliet realizes that she must not only stop her father’s experiments before they go any further, but she must try to escape the island with her life.

The Madman’s Daughter is one of my favorite books of this year so far. It is actually a retelling of The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells, which I haven’t read, so I can’t compare the two. The Madman’s Daughter, however, is both a gruesome and fascinating novel that I couldn’t put down. Juliet is a great character–though women aren’t allowed to become doctors during this time period in England, she studies her father’s books in secret and becomes almost as educated in anatomy and physiology as any doctor. She’s not only smart, but also determined and brave. Once she realizes what is happening on the island, she tries her best to stop her father before it is too late.

Juliet is torn between her father’s assistant, Montgomery, and the strange castaway they pick up in the middle of the ocean, Edward. She has always harbored feelings for Montgomery, but when she realizes how much of a hold her father has on him, she is upset that Montgomery allows her father to control him. Edward, on the other hand, seems like the ideal match for her according to her father. He claims to be from a well-to-do family and seems educated, while Montgomery is only an assistant. However, Juliet senses something off about Edward, and while she begins to have feelings for him, she has a suspicion that he is hiding something.

Dr. Moreau is such a complex character. At some points he really does seem to care about Juliet, but most of the time he seems to just be using and manipulating the people around him. He conducts gruesome experiments on animals in his labs without using anesthesia, so the poor animals suffer tremendously. He seems to be willing to do anything for the sake of what he considers to be “science” even if it destroys the lives of those around him. The scientist in me, like Juliet, found it fascinating that he was able to turn animals into humans, but his methods absolutely terrified and disgusted me. Sheperd’s writing made me feel like I was right in Juliet’s shoes, and I my heart was pounding as I read some of the terrifying scenes in the laboratory.

The ending was not what I expected, and I was mad until I realized that this is the first book in a trilogy! Thank goodness, because if that had been the true ending I would have been so upset. The ending was a great lead in to a sequel, and I’m excited to see what Sheperd has planned.

Overall, The Madman’s Daughter was a fascinating and gruesome story that will haunt and terrify many–but in a good way! I’m not sure if I would recommend reading it late at night though…

The Madman’s Daughter was released on January 29, 2013 and is the first in a trilogy. The sequel, Her Dark Curiosity, is set to be released on January 21, 2014.