Title: Her Dark Curiosity (The Madman's Daughter #2) by Megan Shepherd Date Completed: August 15, 2014 Publishing Info: January 28, 2014 by Harper Collins Source: egalley approved by publisher via Edelweiss/audiobook borrowed from my local library Genres: Historical Fiction, Retelling, Science Fiction, Young Adult Find it on the web: Goodreads // Buy from Amazon
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, her past bubbling to the surface, and her life threatened by an obsessive killer—Juliet will be lucky to escape alive.
** NOTE: This review will have one minor spoiler because I feel like it’s something I need to talk about in order to fully explain my feelings for this book. If you haven’t read the book yet, just a word of warning! It’s something that happens earlier on the book, but still worth noting that it may be a minor spoiler for some. **
Admittedly, I was a bit mixed about how I felt about the first book in this series. After finishing THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER, I felt like I had enjoyed what I read, but the concept was just so strange… The book was a retelling of the classic THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU and I had gone into the book not really sure what it was about. Ultimately I had still enjoyed it and hearing that books two and three in the series were retellings of THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE and FRANKENSTEIN, I was just itching for more gothic horror and decided to take the plunge. I was hoping that there would be less focus on the beastly side of the plot since that wasn’t a huge selling point for me in THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER (I wasn’t horrified at the experiments but merely the fact that it seemed far too unbelievable to be true) so I was hoping that it would be less of a focus in the rest of the series. With a Jekyll & Hyde retelling, I guess I should have known what was coming.
HER DARK CURIOSITY was a complicated read for me. I had an egalley from the publisher but instead, I chose to listen to the book via audio to help me move through it and I’m glad that I did. I had a reason to keep going with the book even when I was frustrated with it (and that was plenty of times). The “beast” side of the plot doesn’t really go away. In fact, it becomes even more prominent in one major way, so that wasn’t a really exciting thing for me. I guess in the context of THIS book, it felt a bit more realistic, but I still wasn’t super keen on the whole concept.
The first half of the book was kind of rough for me. I was really, really not getting along with Juliet. The way she said things, the things she ended up doing, her poor decision-making skills… None of it really worked for me. Honestly, some of the words that came out of her mouth just shocked me, as in, “Did she really just say that and how does she think that is A) a good idea and B) okay in ANY way?” I really just wanted to smack her because she was living up to a pretty poor stereotype of a helpless woman (who somehow decides to do things on her own and makes poor decisions anyway). I was never fully on the same page with her throughout the book, though I think her crazy-talk calmed down a bit towards the end. (Or got even worse but with all of the other characters finally giving in to her ideas, it didn’t seem as crazy.)
Let it be known that the possible spoilers exist in this paragraph: Yet again, the love triangle continues in HER DARK CURIOSITY — something I was REALLY REALLY hoping would not happen. At least it wasn’t a love square like the first book (that would be a love triangle with four people instead of three) but UGH. It was incredibly maddening and ridiculous. This book pulled a silly (yet somewhat expected) turn when the reader finds out that *gasp* Edward in fact did NOT die at the end of book one and somehow he’s back in London too. Then *gasp* Montgomery ends up back in London too and love triangle gets EVEN WEIRDER. Firstly, we know Edward isn’t even human. He may or may not have human DNA or contributors (this is something that is investigated in the book) but even if he does, that makes him like, what? 90% animal? So just pretty ick that Juliet is even romantically and PHYSICALLY interested in him. Then some things happen that I wish had just never even been an idea in the first place. Not to mention Montgomery is also vying for Juliet’s affections and things get even MORE complicated and… yeah, I was just nooooot a fan. Really not.
You want to know what the worst part is? THINGS GOT INTERESTING. I was all ready to finish the book, ranting and raving about how much I did not enjoy it and how I had no interst in finishing the trilogy and BAM. I got sucked in. Once the hints at the Frankenstein tie-in started popping up, I got pulled back in. Now I’ll probably read book three. Sigh.
Overall? This book and I didn’t really get along, but somehow I got sucked back in towards the end. I’ll probably end up finishing out the trilogy, but I’m not happy about it haha. The characters were frustrating, the love triangle was irritating, and I’m tired of the beast story line but I’m guessing that’s not going away either. I wouldn’t exactly recommend this series but I think I’m going to try to see it to the end.
THE VIEW FROM GOODREADS
“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!
Juliet // Character Obsessions: Science, romance, not caring about society rules.
Oh, Juliet. We are so not friends. I had a reeeeally hard time with some of the things that she said and most of the decisions she made. She was such a frustrating heroine for me. Let’s hope she grows up some in the last book.
Kept Me Hooked On: Gothic horror. I liked the retelling of Jekyll & Hyde! I haven’t read a lot of gothic horror but that side of this book was really fun.
Left Me Wanting More: Solid choices. Don’t try to pretend that Juliet made wise decisions. She made some pretty wild ones. I understand following your heart or passion versus logic, but sometimes there was NO logic. Other times she was way too damsel-y when she should have been strong and strong when she should have let someone help her. Sigh.
I know I said I’d read the last book in the series, but I can’t really recommend this one. I was just way too frustrated and I’d say if you haven’t started yet, I wouldn’t suggest starting. The first book was interesting and this one finally came around for me at the end so… do I recommend that? Say try it? Personally, I wouldn’t. The series has been just okay so far and that doesn’t seem enough for me to put these books in someone else’s hands.
(Click the cover to see my review!)