4/18/13

The Madman's Daughter - Megan Shepherd

Book hype can go one of two ways: either it's just as incredible as everyone says it would be, or it's so over-hyped that it's a disappointing read.  The Madman's Daughter didn't quite fit into either category for me, but sat somewhere in the middle.

I'd heard of several bloggers saying that they couldn't put this book down, and just raced through the pages. When I picked it up from the library, Jaime @ The Perpetual Page Turner told me that the book had a slow start, but it would pick up.  I'm glad that she warned me, otherwise this book likely would have ended up on my "gave-up" shelf.  It took over a hundred pages to really get going, and I generally give up if the book hasn't captured by attention by page 50.

The story is good, and the plot is well-developed.  There's a few good twists to the story, but some of them are a little predictable.  Perhaps that's simply because I've read so much Shakespeare during my undergrad degree -- most of the twists I figured out before they were revealed.  I didn't know much about the H.G. Wells' Island of Dr. Moreau, the story that this book is based upon, but I imagine that the premise is somewhat similar.  In some ways, this is an excellent way of bringing a taste of a classic novel into a more contemporary reinterpretation.  A young adult of today may not pick up the classic tale, but would enjoy a more contemporary retelling of the story, thus ensuring that these classic stories don't completely fade into the woodwork.

There were a few things about the book that irritated me, hence the fact that I didn't fall head-over-heels for the story.  Juliet's character was a bit irritating, and I had to keep reminding myself that she was a Victorian girl.  The way she pines over both Edward and Montgomery, then chastises herself for having feelings, then pines again drove me a little crazy.  I understand that it's the way the Victorian era was; however, there were some points in the book where she would long to feel the touch of one boy, then imagine kissing the other boy in the very next sentence.  It got to be a little much after a while.  The second thing was the animal cruelty in the book.  I had to skip over some sections of the descriptions, because I just can't stomach people mistreating animals, even if it is a fictional account.

On the whole, The Madman's Daughter is a good book, and the pace of the story definitely picks up about a third of the way through the book.  I liked the Shakespeare allusions, and enjoyed the majority of the book even though there were certain things that irked me a little.

Sidenote: I am left confused by the fact that this is the first book in a trilogy?  Not sure how the story will continue on, or whether I'm interested in reading on.  I suppose I'll wait and see what the reviews for book two are like, and make up my mind at that time.

10 comments:

  1. I have a copy of this on the shelf, but I have heard mixed things (not just the hype), so I'm a little hesitant to make it my next read. Thanks for sharing your review!

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    1. I almost wish that I had heard mixed reviews, rather than just the hype, since I was expecting more from the book. I'll be interested to hear what you think of the book when you get around to reading it!

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  2. I've heard several people mention the animal cruelty scenes depicted in this, and I think for that reason, I'm going to give it a pass. It's nice to hear that you did enjoy this somewhat, even though you found the protagonist to be a bit frustrating! Haha

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    1. Yeah, I definitely wasn't prepared for that aspect of the book -- I likely wouldn't have picked it up if I'd known.

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  3. I don't know a lot about this book, but I don't know if I could stomach the animal cruelty bits either :( Was it necessary to the telling of the story or could the author have left them out without impacting the book? And I dunno...I get it that some books take longer to get into than others, but 100 pages is a lot! I always finish a book but sometimes I think life is too short....

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    1. I'm not sure what the mad doctor does in the original story...if animal experiments are part of the Island of Dr. Moreau, then I would say that it's a necessary component of the story. But if it's not, then it possibly could have been omitted. Still, it's not a HUGE component of the book. There were only two scenes that really made me cringe.

      And, yeah, 100 pages IS a lot. But now I'm reading Code Name Verity, which I've also been told takes a while to get going. I'm 75 pages in and still waiting for that "OMG, I can't put this book down" moment, although there have been a few exciting moments so far.

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    2. Good point - I don't know the original story either. I feel like most books nowadays take longer to get into to...

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    3. Yeah, what is up with that, hey? I miss being sucked in from page one.

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  4. I'm surprised that this is a trilogy too especially since it seems like it will still focus on Juliet. I will probably not continue if the series is going to be as gory and featuring anything like the vivisection sequences-too much for me.

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