Inspired by The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, this tantalizing sequel to Megan Shepherd's gothic suspense novel, The Madman's Daughter, explores the hidden natures of those we love and how far we'll go to save them from themselves. Back in London after her trip to Dr. Moreau's horrific island, Juliet is rebuilding the life she once knew and trying to forget her father's legacy. But soon it's clear that someone—or something—hasn't forgotten her, as people close to Juliet start falling victim to a murderer who leaves a macabre calling card of three clawlike slashes. Has one of her father's creations also escaped the island? As Juliet strives to stop a killer while searching for a serum to cure her own worsening illness, she finds herself once more in 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.
Her Dark Curiosity (The Madman's Daughter #2)FeaturedHot
I must be honest with you. I typically do not enjoy historical fiction, or even retellings of classic stories, but Megan Shepherd is continuing to challenge my preferences. I loved her subtle way of weaving the Jekyll and Hyde canon into her own strong story. Subtlety is something I really appreciate in YA fiction, and I know readers appreciate it, too.
Juliet is such a strong character, in that she is so much *herself* throughout everything that happens to her. She fights her true nature, yet is drawn to it, which is something all of us can relate to. The way she keeps the bloody flower from the crime scene, is intrigued by death and experimentation, compares herself to Edward, and the mystery of her illness are all so fascinating. And yet, her true self is so much darker than mine could ever be - I can't wait to discover what the truth about her really is.
I really enjoyed that we got to experience Juliet's friendship with Lucy. I appreciated that Juliet came clean with her best friend - and then benefited from it. Their working together against their fathers is a really strong plot mover, and I'm looking forward to seeing where that heads in the next book. There weren't a lot of characters in this story, and having Lucy was a definite bonus. I'm also looking forward to seeing how Juliet manages the conflicting love interests in her life. I definitely favor one of them, and the other just seems incongruous to me. Like something she should have gotten over by now. She keeps going back to both of them, and clearly has feelings for both, and they both have secrets, too! How will she know who to trust?
The only thing I really wanted more of in HER DARK CURIOSITY was suspense and thrilling moments like Juliet's wild escapes through the jungle of her father's island. I loved those introspective yet action-packed scenes from MADMAN'S DAUGHTER. I suspect there will be much more of that in the next book!
Ultimately this was a great follow-up to Megan Shepher's debut novel. She is a new master of YA fiction and I look forward to the next installment in the series!
In HER DARK CURIOSITY, Ms. Shepherd once again delivers a dark, gritty Gothic horror story sure to thrill fans of classic Gothic novels as well as fans of horror in general. Unflinching prose and a consistent escalation of suspense make for a page-turner. Ms. Shepherd pulls no punches with both her narrative and her characters. Expect blood, unsettling revelations, and a main character who is both compelling and sometimes terrifying. Readers who enjoy shows like American Horror Story or the I Hunt Killers book by Barry Lyga will enjoy this series.
I found the heroine Juliet's character arc fascinating. Her sharp mind, fierce spirit, and unquenchable thirst for knowledge are still paramount, and she's still markedly different from other girls of her era, but now she also struggles with the understanding that there are things inside of her that are frighteningly similar to the things that she believes drove her father into madness. Some choices she makes are uncomfortable, both for other characters and for the reader, and the line between what she thinks she must do and what she believes she should never do becomes blurred. While I didn't always agree with Juliet, or even always like her, I found her character consistently intriguing.
The plot is relentless. Twists and turns, conspiracies and revelations--all of it combines to ratchet up the tension chapter by chapter, making it hard to put the book down. The plot is consistently driven by character choices and raises important questions about ends justifying the means, the line between morality and progress, and what constitutes humanity and makes a person's life valuable. Even Juliet's most uncomfortable choices, choices that may not sit well with some readers, are interesting discussion points for those who love to dig into the deeper themes of a book.
What Left Me Wanting More:
The romantic aspect of the story didn't quite connect with me. While I felt strongly connected to Juliet in most circumstances, I didn't quite believe her romantic feelings and never got the warm swoonies over any romantic encounter. Perhaps that was due to the secondary characters involved in the romance. Perhaps it was intentional on the author's part as the horror that eclipses Juliet (from the inside out) becomes far more paramount in her thinking than something as innocent as romance. Whatever the reason, readers drawn to more romantic horror might not find what they're looking for here.
A note: there are a few scenes that more squeamish readers may find difficult. Fans of horror will take it all in stride, of course, but it is worth noting for those who are reluctant to read disturbing or bloody scenes.
Gritty, Gothic, and relentlessly suspenseful, HER DARK CURIOSITY will keep fans of the horror genre reading late into the night.
I am a huge fan of re-tellings and I especially love when there’s a dark twist to them. This one, a re-telling of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, was really hard to put down. I really liked the first book and the dark plot started there was present in the sequel as well. The writing was just as addicting in the first book and the pacing made it really hard to put down even when you know you have to work early in the morning.
Juliet was my favorite part of the first book but here, there’s a whole new cast of supporting characters who were all interesting in their own rights. I particularly liked Lucy, Juliet’s best friend, and their friendship. It could have easily turned into a girl-hate-girl-over-boy trope but instead we got this amazing female friendship that, while they did discuss boys, wasn’t built around boys. The professor who took Juliet in and his daughter Elizabeth were also great. I loved getting to learn details of Juliet’s parents through them, especially Juliet’s mother.
Juliet still was one of the best parts of the sequel. She’s this smart girl interested in science and medicine in a time when girls aren’t allowed to do much. She struggles with what her father did and what happened on the island; it doesn’t just disappear from her mind now that she’s back in London. Because of her fears and insecurities about being like her father, she makes some horrible decisions. She’s human, she’s flawed, she’s prone to bad decisions and mistakes. It’s great.
There is a love triangle that had been slightly present in the first book that gets more focus in this one. This is a triangle that makes sense to me. Juliet is torn between the boy from her childhood that she’s always liked and the boy who understands her in ways no one else can. Right now, letting go of either would be like letting go of a part of her and she’s not ready for that.
I was able to figure out a lot of the twists that came in the book. There was never really a jaw-dropping ‘did that really just happen?’ moment because of that. Even with that though, I did enjoy this one just a little more than the first. The ending has me really excited for the last book, especially if it’s the re-telling I think it might be. And with the cover art for the first two being so gorgeous, I really can’t wait for the reveal for the third one.