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Haruki Murakami, Philip Gabriel
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The Madman's Daughter

The Madman's Daughter - THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER came to me with strong recommendations, and on top of that a strong desire on my part to read it. The author is named Megan and is from NC and wanted to be a Foreign Service Officer! Just like me! And I’m a sucker for historical gothic scary tales, but something about it made it sit on my shelf. And sit. And keep sitting. I didn’t end up reading this one until almost six months after its release, while the cover for the sequel tempted me online.While the novel in the end fell short for me, I will give it a few great things. For older teens, and younger ones that have strong stomachs, THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER has parts that are deep, revolting, and horrific. At its heart, it still is a story about a mad scientist who turns animals into people for his own goals (he wants to play God). The problem, though, is that at times the story focuses way too much on the romance and not enough on the heart of the situation. Herein lies our problem.NOT AS MUCH SCARY AS GORYI expected that THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER was a retelling of THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU. What I didn’t expect was that it was basically just THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU YA-ified, with lots of kissing and clothes and less a questioning of morals in the pursuit of science. THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU was written during a time of changing views and ethics in science and medicine, giving it a tinge of philosophy to it. THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER seemed to be an excuse for a romance with a horror backdrop, albeit with clean writing and an attention to detail. Shepherd, in her debut, proves that she can write. It’s just that the story fell short for me.Things happen in THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER, but at times they felt inconsequential, like they were just there to increase the length. Scenes where we meander around in the woods, or tales of life on the boat, just got old and bored me, even if the writing was lovely. At other times, the plot gripped me and refused to let me go. I read over 250 pages in one sitting, glued to my chair, until the story wandered again and I put it aside for another story.When this book is on, it’s ON. The problem is, it’s off just as much as it is on. When it’s good, it’s a very well-written retelling, but when it’s less than good, it’s bordering on pointless.ROMANCE OVER PLOTI’ll just admit it – I didn’t like either love interest, Montgomery and Edward. Both seemed to lack personality, and what personality they had consisted of the same usual YA tropes – acting like they knew exactly what was best for our heroine Juliet. As for the twist, I saw it coming from the moment the first hint was dropped, and this includes both twists. There are a few. Sure, I can see why people would be surprised by it, and if you didn’t catch the foreshadowing it would definitely be a shock, but I wasn’t surprised, I wasn’t delighted, I was just, “Oh, I called that a long time ago. Huh.” It was kind of disappointing, you know? I went into THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER expecting romance – YA these days isn’t YA without romance – but with a heavy dose of creepy gothic historical fiction. What I found instead was a romantic love triangle, with the pairing easily seen early on, that was light on the romance and heavy on the love triangle. But you know what? I’m keen on reading the sequel, HER DARK CURIOSITY, given the synopsis. Even if mixing retellings might get tedious. VERDICT: Beleaguered by an overemphasis on romance than what could have been a perfectly gory good time, and by sticking too close to the original story (except with more romance), THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER falls short of being a great story by a wide margin. But will I read the sequel? Maybe. Definitely maybe.♥♥♥ - THREE HEARTS