Friday, March 1, 2013
Review: The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepard
Goodreads / The Book Depository
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
First Line: "The basement hallways of King's College of Medical Research were dark, even in the daytime."
Favorite Quote: I actually didn't take notes during this one. :/
I was very excited for this book the moment I read about it on Goodreads. It sounded dark and thrilling and haunting, which is definitely a theme I can get into. The Madman's Daughter did not disappoint me, and can I just say, the cover is even more beautiful after having read the book. For some reason, I have always loved red lettering. And the whole standing by the water in a somewhat tattered dress fits so well. I love covers that actually make sense with the story, unlike some others I could name off the top of my head.
The writing is beautiful, and carries with it this undertone of darkness, like something scary is just around the corner and is about to jump out and say, "Boo!" From the very beginning it had me hooked and eager to see what would happen next. I find that the writing in historical fiction novels can sometimes be on the stiff side, but it was just perfect here.
Juliet's mind is a very interesting place to be. She seems like a perfectly normal, nice girl, at least in the beginning, but there are bits and pieces of her thoughts here and there that maybe would make you question her sanity a little bit. For example, she is often fascinated by gruesome scenes with blood and guts, though she pretends not to be. But I really enjoyed seeing the story through her eyes for the most part - unpredictable narrators can really add to a book, in my opinion.
I went into this knowing full well that there would be a love triangle, so I really have no right to complain about it popping up in the first third of the novel - both boys are introduced fairly quickly into the story, and I was already bracing myself ahead of time. It was one of those love triangles where the heroine was constantly going back and forth with them, and my opinion of who she would end up with was changing constantly. She did spend a little too much time thinking about her love life when she was on an island run by her mental case of a father, though. I was Team Montgomery from the beginning, as I still am.
Some reviews I've read for this book claim that the the Madman's Daughter spends too much time, plot-wise, on the romance and not enough on the island and the workings of it, but I thought it was balanced well enough. I was sufficiently creeped out during at least two different scenes, and the island surrounding the jungle was described very well.
The twist in TMD honestly took me by surprise, but maybe that has something to do with the fact that I am not at all familiar with the classic story this is based on. I'd like to say that I'm going to read it so I can compare, but really I'm horrible with classics and probably won't ever get around to it.
I'm not going to lie - there is a LOT of animal cruelty throughout the novel and I would not recommend it to people who are very squeamish about reading that sort of thing, but if you can get past that, The Madman's Daughter is an incredible debut I'm glad I didn't miss out on (I'm also glad I bought copy instead of getting it from the library). My only complaint is that is that the pacing dragged for a while in the middle before picking up again towards the end.
Books in this series:
1. The Madman's Daughter