Review: A Cold Legacy

Title: A Cold Legacy (The Madman’s Daughter #3) 16182308

Author: Megan Shepherd

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Publication Date: January 27, 2015

Summary: After killing the men who tried to steal her father’s research, Juliet—along with Montgomery, Lucy, Balthazar, and a deathly ill Edward—has escaped to a remote estate on the Scottish moors. Owned by the enigmatic Elizabeth von Stein, the mansion is full of mysteries and unexplained oddities: dead bodies in the basement, secret passages, and fortune-tellers who seem to know Juliet’s secrets. Though it appears to be a safe haven, Juliet fears new dangers may be present within the manor’s own walls.

Then Juliet uncovers the truth about the manor’s long history of scientific experimentation—and her own intended role in it—forcing her to determine where the line falls between right and wrong, life and death, magic and science, and promises and secrets. And she must decide if she’ll follow her father’s dark footsteps or her mother’s tragic ones, or whether she’ll make her own.

With inspiration from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this breathless conclusion to the Madman’s Daughter trilogy is about the things we’ll sacrifice to save those we love—even our own humanity.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

I read this series in the last few months and absolutely adored it. It was dark and creepy and asked some really interesting moral questions and kind of focused on that gray line of what makes someone human. I had really high expectations for this final book, knowing that Megan Shepherd could seriously deliver an intriguing, fast paced story that gave you the shivers and made you think. That being said, I found that this book really kind of fell flat for me.

To start with, one of the things that the previous books really focused on was the love triangle between Juliet, Montgomery and Edward. Juliet is torn between both boys, and is through both books. But in this final book, it was suddenly gone. I felt like I had almost missed something. From what I remember, Juliet is still seriously struggling with her feelings between the two boys and they both love her at the end of Her Dark Curiosity. But for some reason, Juliet’s mind is now completely set on one of them and the other boy never even really romantically enters her mind through the whole book, which was very out of character. I didn’t understand how she picked which boy she wanted then was completely over the other one, after struggling and bouncing back and forth between them. I also didn’t agree with the boy she ended up with, but that’s just me wanting to be a brat for not getting my way.

I also felt like this book wasn’t nearly as spooky or suspenseful as the last two, something that I felt really made the book stand out. In the first one, Juliet is on the island with her father’s horrible experiments, being hunted by a creature through the jungle and at night, and the tone and atmosphere was terrifying. It really made my skin crawl. Then the second on has her back in London, with people being brutally murdered, bloody flowers being left for her, and most terrifying of all, Beast making appearances. Both books were spooky and unsettling for different reasons, but it worked so well. In this book, nothing was really unsettling. The castle wasn’t spooky, none of the characters made you feel unsettled and nothing about the plot was particularly suspenseful. I was very disappointed to find that I made it through this book without once getting goosebumps or wanting to turn on the lights.

Some of the characters felt really lacking in this book in comparison to the other two. I really enjoyed seeing Lucy in the second book, but in this one she was just kind of a huge mess and constantly acted out of character. Elizabeth didn’t end up being nearly as interesting as I had hoped and was just kind of there to play a role, it felt like. While I still really enjoyed Juliet and her internal struggles with the darkness, her interactions with the other characters didn’t feel very important to the story. Most of the time it felt like awkward romance or just filler, or an excuse for her to get all mopey about her heritage and dark desires. Also, the villain in this book played a minor role and wasn’t nearly as important as the villains in the other two, something I was really disappointed by.

I did like that the author was trying to send a clear message to the reader by the end of this book, about life and the choices you make, how you can make your own path, things like that. It was a good message and I liked how she tied it all together in the end. However, something happens in the book that makes the message a lot weaker than it could have been. I don’t want to spoil anything but Juliet does something in this book that later she won’t do again, because she realizes what having a life really means. But the fact that she had no problems doing it earlier, and that it actually turned out okay, just kind of undermined the whole message at the end.

Ultimately, I found myself being really disappointed by this book. I loved that some of the darker elements were still present, but overall, the whole tone and atmosphere of the book felt light in comparison to the others. The characters didn’t feel as present or important as they should have with it being the final book, and the random romantic resolution felt really out of character. While the message was tied up nicely by the end of the book and the author made the point she was trying to make, it could have been executed a lot better and left more of an impact. I would definitely recommend this series to anyone that hasn’t read it, the first two books are phenomenal, you just have to be prepared for disappointment in this last one.

RATING: 

Check out my reviews for the other books in this series:

The Madman’s Daughter

Her Dark Curiosity

Advertisements

Review: Her Dark Curiosity

Title: Her Dark Curiousity (The Madman’s Daughter #2) 16182304

Author: Megan Shepard

Publisher: Balzer+Bray

Publication Date: January 28, 2014

Summary: To defeat the darkness, she must first embrace it.

Months have passed since Juliet Moreau returned to civilization after escaping her father’s island—and the secrets she left behind. Now, back in London once more, she is rebuilding the life she once knew and trying to forget Dr. Moreau’s horrific legacy—though someone, or something, hasn’t forgotten her.

As people close to Juliet fall victim one by one to a murderer who leaves a macabre calling card of three clawlike slashes, Juliet fears one of her father’s creations may have also escaped the island. She is determined to find the killer before Scotland Yard does, though it means awakening sides of herself she had thought long banished, and facing loves from her past she never expected to see again.

As Juliet strives to stop a killer while searching for a serum to cure her own worsening illness, she finds herself once more in the midst of a world of scandal and danger. Her heart torn in two, past bubbling to the surface, life threatened by an obsessive killer—Juliet will be lucky to escape alive.

With inspiration from Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, this is a tantalizing mystery about the hidden natures of those we love and how far we’ll go to save them from themselves.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

This is the second book in The Madman’s Daughter trilogy, and I loved the first one with it’s spooky tale, strong heroine, and deep questions about humanity. This book starts off with Juliet, having made it back to London and now in the care of one of her father’s old friends. Her injections are no longer effective and she’s desperately looking for a cure while trying to forget everything that happened on the island and the people she left behind. Then a string of brutal murders happen across London, all the people being killed somehow connected to Juliet.

I can’t help but adore Juliet as a heroine since she is so smart and intense for a girl in 18th century London, and she is so advanced in science. Watching her use her talent to try and find a cure in a secret attic, only to rush back to the huge mansion she is living in and put on pretty dresses and act demure, it’s almost funny. In this book, Juliet is having trouble  accepting who she is and the things she discovered and did on the island. This book kind of explored her dark curiosity (hehe, see what I did there?) and whether her interest in science and the things her father did make her just as bad as him. Whether her morbid thoughts are because of what her father did to her or because it’s in her nature, something she can’t escape. Watching Juliet struggle to understand who she is and what she could do was so interesting and it was never really black and white.

With all the murders happening, Juliet knows Edward escaped the island is the one doing it. That’s not really a spoiler since we find out almost immediately, so the real question is how and why. My favorite part of this book is watching Edward struggle with his weird split personality, between the Edward that loves and wants to protect Juliet, and the Beast who wants to kill people and make Juliet like him. Seeing his struggle was so sad to watch because you really just feel like the whole situation is hopeless, but he wants to live so badly. Juliet has to ask herself if her father making Edward the way he is makes him bad, if it really makes it his fault. She wants to help Edward, to give him another chance at life and being a good person, but how can she when the Beast takes over and murders people without feeling?

That’s the thing I really enjoy about these books, is that they kind of address deep questions, questions that usually fall on the morally gray line. Juliet has to constantly question her father’s work, how far it’s acceptable to go for science and what sacrifices should be made for discovery. Then she has to decide whether Edward is responsible for Beast’s crimes, if he deserves to die for them, and whether it’s crueler to keep him alive. As you read, you personally feel Juliet’s struggle, her indecisiveness about everything. I mean, I love Edward as a character and I really feel awful for him, so I obviously wanted Juliet to help him find a cure. But then Beast comes out and kills people and tries to force Juliet to do things and is so creepy and sinister that I find myself wanting her to kill him. If I’m having an internal struggle, Juliet’s definitely having a hard time.

Montgomery comes back in this book too, hunting Edward through London and him and Juliet eventually cross paths. I have a bit of a hard time with Montgomery. I don’t care that Dr. Moreau was like a father to him, in the last book he still helped with the experiments and knew what he was doing. After all of that, he still judges Juliet for the things she has done and the darker side of her. I feel like Montgomery is in love with an idea of Juliet, the way he thinks she is and should be, instead of accepting her how she actually is. I feel like Edward understands Juliet more and loves her despite that and would never try to change her.

While the romance in this book was more tolerable than the last, I still wish it would have toned down a little bit. It feels like with Edward, she has lust and with Montgomery it’s love. Or at least she thinks it is. Juliet was constantly jumping back and forth between boys and it got a little annoying. I’m all for a girl in this time period not giving a damn about what’s proper and all of that, but she needed to calm down just a little. Besides that, the only other thing I had a problem with was that it wasn’t quite as spooky as the last book and there was some shoddy police work going on. Juliet is smart for sure, but she figures out some fairly obvious stuff that the police have been working on for months, which is just sad. Also, there was a certain surprise bad guy that I found fairly predictable, I knew he was bad right away, but it didn’t really take away from the story.

Overall, I thought this was a great sequel to the first book. I loved seeing Juliet change and struggle with accepting herself and her inner darkness. Even more than that though, watching Edward struggle with Beast, it broke my heart and gave me such conflicted feelings. This book was fast paced, suspenseful, and had some great, thought provoking questions. I can’t wait to get my hands on A Cold Legacy.

RATING: 

Review: The Madman’s Daughter

Title: The Madman’s Daughter (The Madman’s Daughter #1) 12291438

Author: Megan Shepard

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Publication Date: January 29, 2013

Summary: 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.

Inspired by H. G. Wells’s classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman’s Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we’ll do anything to know and the truths we’ll go to any lengths to protect.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

With Halloween creeping close, I’ve been in the mood for some spooky reads and this one really piqued my interest. I watched The Island of Dr. Moreau years ago, and it scared me so bad, I wouldn’t even look at the movie case. So the combination of spooky potential and the great time period should basically guarantee a great book… right?

Well, mostly. This book was definitely spooky, and I was really happy to get that. I loved that the author didn’t tone down the creepiness or gore, it was very successful in that way. I actually had to put this book down at some point and go turn the lights on because I was starting to nervous sweat every time I looked at the dark corners of my bedroom. The one thing, and honestly this was like the only think I really disliked about this book, was the absurd amount of romance. It really took so much away from this story for me, and toned down lots of intense, scary building up that I think the author could have been building throughout the book.

Juliet, while obviously having a problem controlling her lusty feelings, was actually a very interesting character to me. She was a survivor, a fighter. It was nice to see a proactive, headstrong woman set in this time period, even if her reputation was technically already ruined. But this thing I liked most about her was the way that she was so clear and honest about everything. When she first goes to the island and meets her father, she is intentionally ignoring the sighs that something is wrong because she wants him to be different. But once stuff starts going bad, she doesn’t go into denial. She gets mad and tries to find solutions. And even the things that frighten her, such as her own darkness, she faces it head on and knows it’s there and never tries to hide or deny it.

There were two love interests in this book, Montgomery and Edward, both or who were kind of eh. Montgomery is the childhood sweetheart, the slow burn through the book. Edward is the handsome survivor, the flashes of lust. I honestly liked Edward more, just because when we start to find out his story, it’s shocking and exciting. The problem was, both of these boys hate each other because they are both madly in love with Juliet, and they are constantly having this weird rivalry going on. It was annoying and frustrating that when scary, messed up things are happening on this island, the guys are trying to compromise her virtue. I totally get that in this time where it’s inappropriate to even flash some ankle, you’re going to be dealing with lots of sexual frustration. But Juliet spent a ridiculous amount of time daydreaming about or actually kissing these guys, and it made me grumpy. Here I am, trying to get into the chilling atmosphere and suddenly Juliet’s having an erotic dream about one of the two hunky hunks. It kept throwing me off.

However, this book was well written enough that I was still thoroughly engaged with the story line. The setting was scary, her father was scary, the inhabitants of the island was scary, everything was scary. There is this one part where a monster is trying to get into Juliet’s room through the window, and just the mental image the author conjures up, with the dark room, the stormy night, and the clawed hand wrapping around the bars… Yikes, I’m getting shivers just thinking about it. The atmosphere through the whole book was so tense, and some parts of the book were almost too disturbing. But in such a good way, there was this eerie village for the inhabitants that just made my stomach twist and the experiments that her father does are so evil.

If you read this book, you have to kind of shove logic off to the side. Doing that while reading a paranormal book is easy because what do we actually know about demons and ghosts and things? But this book is about science, and in that, it’s hard to not question or feel disbelief. Her father is making human/animal hybrid people and giving them emotions and the power of speech and things. If her were using magic, that would be easy to accept. But he is just doing it with his own medical skill, which is hard to believe. We never get many details on how this is done, except that he doesn’t seem to have any fancy machinery, and wondering about how the author expected us to take that without questioning bothered me. You do accept it while reading because you’re engrossed in the story, but afterwords, it starts to fall apart a little. Which is understandable, how is the author going to explain it to us when it can’t actually be done?

The other thing I liked about this book was that it explored some deep questions. It delved into what exactly makes us human, how we define that and separate ourselves from animals. It explored some psychological stuff, with Juliet exploring her own darkness, and witnessing her father’s madness. I really like when those big questions, the “what defines us” sort of questions, I like when they are smoothly integrated into a story and it makes you think.

This book really did satisfy my need for a spooky book, and I loved the author’s writing and tense build up, even if I despised the amount of romance. But the unpredictable plot twists and a number of gut twisting, horrifying scenes overrode my dislike, and I couldn’t put this book down, no matter how many goosebumps it gave me.

RATING: