Hardcover, 432 pages
Expected publication: January 29th 2013 by Balzer + Bray
In the darkest places, even love is deadly.
Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father’s gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.
Accompanied by her father’s handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father’s madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island’s inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father’s dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it’s too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father’s genius—and madness—in her own blood.
I recently read a book called The Mad Scientist’s Daughter and I thought that instead of Mad Man, this book deserved the title of the previous novel. The sanity of the father was much discussed in this novel but there was never any in depth discussion with the person in question. I wonder why conversations with the mad man were never more than him coldly reiterating his inhumanity and her gasping her outrage at his inhumanity.
Anyway, sorry, this is a review. I am writing a review, yes I am. I am entirely unfamiliar with Moreau and his island so I went into this book without any expectations or perceptions about how the book would unfold, plot-wise at least. The opening of the novel is particularly interesting and I wish the setting had remained London because it was so well done. The eerie atmosphere of the hospital, the scary doctor, the rather promiscuous best friend (she was portrayed as such, I’m not making any judgments), the tension, the pace, the danger, everything was perfectly portrayed. I had no problem with Juliet and was rather intrigued by her darker self. It is when she sees Montgomery and has him take her to the island on which he lives with her father that things get murky.
The novel has promise. Some people will like it more than others. The love triangle is kind of intriguing but the whole inconsistency of Juliet’s feelings is deeply annoying. Her penchant to vacillate between the two men are annoying and strangely occur at inappropriate moments as you know, there are times when romance is the last thing on your mind. If the romance had been a little less focused on than it was I would have liked the book better. No, well, I think Juliet’s character was inconsistent. She hated her father, she didn’t, she loved Montgomery but she was attracted to Edward.
I don’t know if Shepherd does this intentionally but there are times in the novel when Juliet’s character is seriously unlikeable. For instance, with that poor girl whom she perceives a threat to her lasting happiness with Montgomery and then that moment at the end, her willful deception of a helpless, childlike character. I had less than kind feelings for her which is always a risk when you want a reader to continue reading the novel. The ending of the novel does make me want to continue reading the series because I know things are not as simple as they look and the outlook for Juliet is just so damned bleak. Where is she going to go and what is going to do? I am curious so I will read the next one in the series.
The novel is a lot of running in the jungle and the pace lags a bit because of all this running around. The themes explored are interesting – the meaning of being human, humanity, duty, filial, romance, gender – and were I writing about gender in one of my classes, I would totally use this novel. Ooo, I can still use this novel somehow. Anyway, to put it simply, this book is entertaining in the end. Intriguing in the beginning and rather frustrating in the middle. Still, it was an interesting read and if Moreau’s island was your thing, give this a try.