Man, I should have saved these last few books for next week. I am on an accidental Frankenstein kick…WHOOPS!
To be fair, I knew The Determined Heart was about Mary Shelley, but I wanted to get that review out before its publishing date. But The Madman’s Daughter was recommended to me by a friend and I had no idea what the subject matter was. It’s pretty much Frankenstein on steroids.
Juliet’s father left her mother when she was quiet young. As a result, her mother became a prostitute, and when she died, Juliet went to work as a maid for a hospital. She grew up hearing the rumors of her father’s mad experiments–she’s no stranger to the darkness everyone talks about behind her back. But when she comes across an old file in a place it shouldn’t be, she finds out her father is not only still alive, he’s still conducting his old experiments and sharing them with students. When she goes looking for him, what she finds is so much worse than she thought.
Megan Shepherd has taken Frankenstein’s need for god-like power and super-charged it by turning up the doctor’s creative powers and madness. Dr. Moreau (I didn’t realize until I just went to look up his name, but this is a spin-off story of HG Well’s The Island of Dr. Moreau. Moving that one up my list now!) has realized the ability to combine human with animal to create a “superior” beast, and he has isolated himself on an island to perform his experiments. Juliet arrives there somewhat naively, looking for her father–who she knows is mad, but not quite to what extent–and finds the island wild and bloody and scary.
The thriller aspect of the book drew me in, and there is also quite a bit of romance (LOVE TRIANGLE ALERT!). I did get a little bored in the middle, but then it picked back up again when all hell broke loose and we started to really see the creatures. I REALLY wish I could draw, because I can so clearly see some of them in my mind–Balthazar is very Mastiffy with floppy ears, and Alice, of course, is wearing a frilly blue dress like her Wonderland version…with just something rabbity about her face. And Jaguar–I could feel the power coming off of him. Oh man. Someone good at comics please make fan art for this book. Please please please. I need this to be a graphic novel. It would be SO GOOD AS A GRAPHIC NOVEL.
Overall, I’ll rate this one as a solid three. I really liked it, didn’t love it, mostly because the middle just dragged a bit. But it’s definitely an exciting read for sci-fi/victorian period fans. And of course if you like Frankenstein or HG Wells (MUST move that up on the TBR), grab this from your library…