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The Madman's Daughter Hardcover – Deckle Edge, January 29, 2013
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Songs in the Mood for Madness: The official playlist for The Madman’s Daughter
I am lucky to have friends with impeccable and diverse taste in music. On a beach vacation with several friends, I casually mentioned that I wanted to put together a playlist of songs that fit the different moods of The Madman’s Daughter, but that I wasn’t sure where to start. All I had to do was ask! My friends suggested the following songs. Not only do they capture the passion, emotion, melancholy, and madness within the pages of my book, but I listen to them whenever I’m feeling angsty or just need to close my eyes and be swept away to another place. Jeremy, Ana, and Jason, I owe you a big thanks!
Jun Miyake, “The Here and After”: There’s something so intriguing about the exotic sounds in this song. I love how the idea of “happily ever after” isn’t as simple as it sounds.
Florence and the Machine, “Seven Devils”: When I listen to this eerie, dramatic song, I think about how the greatest dangers come not always from outside, but often from something within each of us.
Arcade Fire, “Ocean of Noise”: From the claps of thunder at the beginning to the transition into lyrics about stormy seas, I can’t hear this song without thinking about how nature and human relationships mirror one another.
Azure Ray, “The Devil’s Feet”: Azure Ray’s mood hits the feel of The Madman’s Daughter so well that I included two of their songs! “The Devil’s Feet” tells a great fable about a girl who has to overcome a dangerous temptation.
TV on the Radio, “DLZ”: We all have a side that’s a little devious within us, and this song brings out that side in me when I’m writing about the darker things in the world.
Cat Power, “Werewolf”: Haunting female voices is a theme in this playlist, and this song has fantastic lyrics about the alluring power monsters can have on our emotions.
Danger Mouse featuring Jack White, “Two against One”: This song is a little crazy, a little whimsical, and totally cool. It makes me just want to hang out with friends and have fun.
Azure Ray, ”Sea of Doubts” : The lyrics of this song talk about taking a journey to get past fears and embrace life. It’s a hopeful message for a song that starts out melancholy.
Lykke Li, “Silent My Song”: To me, some of the lyrics in this song hint at the dangers that linger within the lines between science and art.
Manchester Orchestra, “Jimmy, He Whispers”: Every time I hear this song, I think about how complicated relationships can be, and how sometimes loyalty can lead us to overlook dangerous faults in one another.
The xx, “Infinity”: The mix of male and female vocals here makes me think of times I’ve tried to move on from relationships and how bittersweet and heartbreaking love can be.
Radiohead, “Everything in Its Right Place”: Nobody does creepily atmospheric lyrics and mood like Radiohead. This song captures the unsettling, split feeling that several characters experience during The Madman’s Daughter.
Agnes Obel, “Philharmonics”: I’d love to waltz to this strangely beautiful song that talks about how luxury and excess aren’t all that matter.
Portishead, “Mysterons”: These lyrics make me think of that old phrase “Be careful what you wish for.” Sometimes what we think we want ends up being exactly the last thing we need.
Joanna Newsom, “The Book of Right-On”: Joanna Newsom’s oddball voice is truly unique, and though the lyrics are vague, this song reminds me of how girls can be much stronger than many people think.
Mazzy Star, “Fade into You”: This heartbreaking, sweet song makes me think of how love is never perfect. We all have flaws, shortcomings; and sometimes love just misses the mark.
Agnes Obel, “Wallflower”: I like to think of this instrumental piece as a modern version of some of the haunting music young women might have played on the piano during the Victorian era.
The advantage this series starter has over monster reboots like Kenneth Oppel’s This Dark Endeavor (2011) is that teens aren’t as familiar with the story of Dr. Moreau, and so the ungodly plot developments may yet surprise. Shepherd follows H. G. Wells closely but from the perspective of the good doctor’s 16-year-old daughter, Juliet. Six years after her father’s banishment from London following outrageous medical experimentation, she joins him on an isolated island where he continues to tinker with the combination of human and animal genes. Beneath Dr. Moreau’s fancified insanity and the unsavory medical specifics (the two best elements of the novel), this is a romantic-triangle book first and foremost, as Juliet trembles, blushes, and heaves her bosom at both Moreau’s hunky assistant and a dashing castaway. However, Shepherd distinguishes herself from her paranormal romance contemporaries by eschewing purple prose and focusing on sympathetic side characters (the dog-bear hybrid servant Balthasar) and fascinating dilemmas (the budding religious awareness of the creatures). Anyone who doesn’t pick up the next volume is mad! Mad, I tell you! HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Nearly every publisher wanted this book and no wonder—it’s already sold in six countries and been optioned by Paramount Pictures. Grades 9-12. --Daniel Kraus
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Top Customer Reviews
I also have a weakness for a beautiful cover....and this cover is breath-taking. It is simple and yet has so much meaning. Juliet is beautifully portrayed in a white gown with red ribbons , her long black hair wild and windblown and is walking barefoot along the shore. She looks captivating and lost all at the same time...
The synopsis of the story states that this is somewhat of a retelling of The Island of Dr Moreau. So this told me immediately that there would be plenty of creepiness and secrets involved in this book and WOW was I right. The creepy factor is HIGH in this book and is exactly what makes it so good.
The main character, Juliet, is so strong and intense. She is a heroine who has the skills and the want to survive in a world unlike any other. She is orphaned at a young age and placed into the work system in order to survive. Her father was a world renowned surgeon who is found to be "psychotic" and disowned from his life and the people around him. Her mother died of a illness while Juliet was still young. Juliet watched her father perform surgeries and learned everything that she knows about the medical field from his teachings.
"When I cleaned those rooms, late at night after the medical students had gone home to their warm bed, the sound of my hard-bristle brush echoed in the operation theater, down the twisting halls, into the storage spaces where they kept the things of nightmares. Other peoples nightmares, that is. Dead flesh and sharpened scalpels didn't bother me. I was my father's daughter, after all. My nightmares were made of darker things."
Juliet uncovers the fact that her father is still alive and so she sets off on a journey to the mysterious island where he has taken refuge to try and get some answers to her past as well as her future. She is accompanied by her fathers assistant, Montgomery. I absolutely adore Montgomery. He is kind, compassionate, and yet dangerous in his own way.
"I knew what he wanted to say. He loved me. He loved the half-mad, filthy girl standing in a pool of formaldehyde."
Juliet discovers so many mysteries and horrors when she arrives on the island. This is such a high-paced book and I could not stop turning the pages. Every chapter is a new adventure and a new secret come to life. It was just phenomenal. It was everything that I love in a book...survival, romance, mystery, and action...LOTS OF ACTION.
I literally cannot wait to get my hands on the sequel to find out what is in store for Juliet next...I mean I can seriously only imagine...Megan Shepherd is an author to watch for..She is a phenomenal writer and knows how to write in order to keep the reader attached to the story till the very last page...WOW....Just incredible...
Honestly I think part of the problem with this book is something outside of the author's control. The source material, the original Island of Dr. Moreau, is quite short and doesn't have a lot of details. The original is quite mysterious and gruesome which translates well, but Shepherd had a lot to fill in and smooth over to make this an interesting and engaging story for young adults. She does a fair job, but engagement is where this book struggled.
After a strong first few chapters, this book took a bit of a nose dive. The pacing is extremely slow especially in the beginning. As soon as the story hits its stride, we get on a ship and it feels like the story hit the horse latitudes. Not only that, but that headstrong narrator I mentioned, seemed to disappear in the face of a love interest. Juliet seemed to shift her focus entirely from the dark themes of the story and her father's past to the two men she is flirting with.
Like I mentioned there is a love triangle which never sits well with me. Juliet swings wildly between the two love interests in an unbelievable way. I wasn't convinced she was interested in either one of the men because she constantly changed her mind (sometimes in the same paragraph!)
HOWEVER, the last 100 pages of this book salvaged it. The pace picked up and some of the true madness crept into the story. The darkness finally appeared and I was tearing through the pages to find out what would happen to Juliet. Her father's madness and the revelations at the end of the story were what I was looking for throughout and I'm glad we got there even though it took a while. Even though I struggled with this book, I'm looking forward to the next one and I will continue on with this series.
Okay, that said, this is maybe the shortest book review I will ever write, because I loved just about everything about his book...except for the fact that Montgomery let Juliet leave the island with only a scanty supply of the medicine that we know, by the end, is the only thing keeping her alive. And Juliet - MENSA-worth Juliet - never considers the possibility of learning the formula herself? Montgomery never considers telling her? Sorry, but that's nothing better than sloppy click-bait for the next book. Which, of course, I'm reading. But really. You can't write such smart characters and then have them act so very stupid, and retain reader respect. I'm reading on in the way that I read the second Twilight book: knowing it's choclate cake that will do no more in the end than add inches to my waistline. It would have been SO easy for Evil Dad to give Juliet a false recipe for the antidote, or Montgomery not know how it's made, or even for Juliet, at the end, to remind Montgomery that she only has a short supply...sigh.
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