The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Madman's Daughter has an amazing premise--the daughter of Dr. Moreau seeks out her infamous scientist father on a remote island only to discover the truth of his work--but it's the writing that really shines in this story.
As writers, we often wrestle with the concept of theme. How should themes weave through the narrative? How overtly do you build the connections? How much is too much, or not enough? Well, Megan Shepherd is a master of theme, and I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a flawless example of building thematic connections without overwhelming the reader.
As we follow young Juliet's journey (which is a journey of the heart as much as across the sea), the themes of strangeness and otherness build effortlessly on every page. This story is not just read, but felt, from the scurrying, insect-like movement of the people and animals to the pungency of the salt air and suffocating heat of the jungle. As you read, you begin to feel Juliet's desperate need to escape at the core of your being, clawing away at you, worrying your stomach with the same fear she faces--what if you escape one terrifying existence only to discover you have fallen into another, more horrible reality?
If you aren't familiar with the classic story, The Island of Dr. Moreau, never fear. You don't need to know it to enjoy this story. The Madman's Daughter will sweep you up and take you on a terrifying thrill ride all on its own.
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