Friday, February 7, 2014

Book 7: The Madman's Daughter

Posted by Dawn Dalton on 5:57 PM

Book 7The Madman's Daughter
Author: Megan Shepherd

After reading the first five chapters of The Madman's Daughter, my Facebook status read this:

How to feel inadequate as a writer. Step 1 - read The Madman's Daughter. Step 2 - bow down to author Megan Shepard. Step 3 - wipe the drool of writer envy off your face. Wow. A deliciously creepy tale.

My assessment may have been a little knee-jerk. While there is no doubt Megan Shepherd can induce writer envy, the actual story left me feeling a little disappointed. Based on the infamous novella, The Island of Dr. Moreau, the novel promised a deliciously gothic tale. I expected chills—and though, Shepherd's writing did give me goosebumps, the story's creep factor was spoiled by a strange love triangle.

Don't get me wrong, I love a good love triangle.

But there was so much other great stuff in this book, including a crazy mad man, an island of "creatures" and a love interest for Juliet I began rooting for the moment they met. I didn't need the other guy, and in some ways, that storyline detracted from the overall gothic atmosphere of the book.

To add salt to the wound, the end left me unsatisfied. I'm not one of those readers that expects the loose ends tied up in a bow, I know there's a sequel (it's near the top of my TBR pile despite my thoughts on this story), and I love a great twist. I just didn't feel THIS twist was necessary.

The main character Juliet started out so strong. I couldn't wait to learn more about her, practically salivating at her courage, her determination, her boldness in the first one third of the book. But perhaps the love triangle also weakened her a little, because by the end of the novel, I'd fallen out of like with her—which may prove interesting heading into the sequel, Her Dark Curiosity.

Even though the ending wasn't what I wanted, I admire the author's cleverness throughout the story. And when some of those loose ends are tied up, it was fun to think back to the beginning pages and question if I'd missed clues, or should have "seen it coming."

I'm taking a break from this trilogy to read something lighter, but I'm looking forward to reading more of Shepherd's work. The Madman's Daughter is her debut novel and where the story lacked, she more than made up for in spectacular command of the craft.

— Dawn

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