Monday, May 13, 2013

The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

Balzer +Bray, 2013

Juliet once knew the life of luxury, but that is far behind her now.  Her reality is working as a cleaning woman, rubbing her knuckles bare scrubbing the bloody floors of the surgical hospital to keep her off of the streets.  Even if Juliet isn’t working on the streets, she still must fend off those who have enjoyed seeing her and her family’s fall in society and feel she should be treated as such.  

Her father is dead, but he caused enough damage to ruin Juliet and her mother’s future without him.  But one item, a drawing of a vivisection taken from her father’s journal, leads Juliet to seek out the person who owns this.  And that one item will also lead her down a dark and dangerous path.  This ripped page from her father's personal journals is all the confirmation Juliet needs to motivate her desire to seek the truth, and leads her to Montgomery, an old friend and former servant.

What he tells Juliet is beyond belief.  Her father is alive, living on an island as a recluse and using Montgomery to go for supplies when needed, regardless of how odd or dangerous those may be.  Juliet demands she goes back with him, even though his friend Balthazar makes her uneasy. 

The journey is more than anyone bargained for, and when Juliet finally reaches the island and understands exactly what her father, Dr. Moreau is doing, the true horror begins.  Juliet’s life is also in danger due to an aberration Dr. Moreau has created that is beginning to kill the natives and will think nothing of killing the humans….madness has taken control.

Shepherd has taken the classic tale of The Island of Dr. Moreau and created an alternate re-telling, which includes many of the same characters but in a slighty variegated form.  This story is as chilling as the original  and readers of historical fiction and horror fiction will find themselves mesmerized.  Juliet is a strong female character trapped not only physically on an island but emotionally as well as she battles between her desires and fears.  Although Shepherd doesn’t write in detail about Moreau’s creations, the reader can most certainly “see” them through the small details she does provide.  I'm firmly grounded in the camp of readers that thoroughly enjoyed this book.  As a bonus, the cover is as enthralling as the story told within it.   Recommended. 


Mrs. ReaderPants said...

I had one of my middle schoolers ask about this one today, but I saw it was mostly reviewed for 9-12. Any thoughts on that? I'm mainly worried about sexual content and lots of language when I look at maturity level.

Naomi Bates said...

You should be good with this :)