Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Madman's Daughter » Review

This book made me want to tear my hair out! I usually don't mind when what I read is bad or silly, but The Madman's Daughter had such promise! It made the novel's eventual failure so disappointing.

The story is of the gothic style, nodding the kind of romantic horror embodied by Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. I loved this homage, especially in the beginning, with Juliet Moreau, our protagonist, creeping about a medical academy after hours, cleaning up after surgeries. There's an early scene where she euthanizes a rabbit that some medical students were using for vivisection. She puts the animal out of its misery by chopping it's head of with a surgical axe. It's great stuff.

I also loved the early middle of the book, when Juliet tracks down her family's former servant and her childhood friend, Montgomery. He's been in hiding with her father, who fled England, almost a decade earlier, due to grotesque allegations. Juliet learns from Montgomery that her father is living and working on an sparsely-populated island off the coast of Australia. Juliet insists that Montgomery take her to her father. Montgomery, Juliet, and Balthazar, a peculiar assistant to Dr. Moreau, getting on a seedy ship and sail to Australia. On the voyage, the ship picks up a half-mad castaway, a gentlemanly man called Edward. Juliet takes a liking to him, and decides to take him under her wing.

However, once the party arrives at the island, the story unravels. What had been a tight plot unfurls into madness — not the compelling kind. The characters have the same confrontations over and over again. Juliet worries over the same issues a gazillion times. And then there was the love triangle. What can I tell you about that love triangle? It was exceedingly tiresome and immature, and made me lose all respect for every character involved and for the author. It wasn't just bad writing. It was pathetic writing.

I sound harsh. I realize this. But, the early part of the book was so very good. I'm just aghast at the turn the novel took for the worse.

I will read the sequel and the final book after that. I think it would be a pity not to. I am also holding onto the hope that Shepherd will turn this series around and live up to the kind of writing I know she's capable of.

1 comment:

  1. I hope this doesn't sound weird, but I'm so glad you didn't like this one. It seems like most folks I know were really into it, but I just could NOT deal with the idiotic "romance" and the heroine's lack of real agency.