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Book Review: Her Dark Curiosity (Madman’s Daughter Series)

If you’ve followed my blog for awhile then you’ll know I absolutely adored the first novel in Megan Shepherd’s phenomenal The Madman’s Daughter trilogy, so it was a no brainer for me to pick up the sequel Her Dark Curiosity.

I can tell you right now before I delve into the full review that it didn’t not disappoint.

If you haven’t read my review for the first book, you can do so here.

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.


I finished reading Her Dark Curiosity yesterday and as soon as I put the book down, I raced over to Amazon to order the third and final book in The Madman’s Daughter series. While I wait not-so-patiently for A Cold Legacy to arrive, I’m going to tell you why The Madman’s Daughter may just be one of the best trilogies I’ve ever read.

I’ll admit that I was a bit apprehensive at the start. There have been very few series that haven’t managed to fall prey to the ‘second book syndrome’ and thankfully, The Madman’s Daughter was one of lucky series that remained as amazing and thrilling as the first book.

Her Dark Curiosity was everything I hoped it would be and more. It was creepy, twisted and so very, very dark.

Much like the first book, Her Dark Curiosity is based upon a classic story. This time, instead of The Island of Dr. Moreau by the terrific H.G. Wells, elements are drawn from The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and I’m very much aware that A Cold Legacy will involve some Frankenstein lore. It’s exceptionally clever the way in which Megan Shepherd weaves each of these classics into her books and as a reader, it’s fun to spot the little similarities whilst going along.

The last time we saw Juliet she was in a dinghy floating out into the vast seas after being abandoned by Montgomery. Heartbroken, she has returned to London where a kind professor has taken her under his wing. With the reputation of being the daughter of that mad scientist still hanging over her head, you would think that Juliet’s life couldn’t possibly get any more complicated? Alas, several bodies have begun to show up around the city. Each victim is connected to Juliet, having wronged her at some point in their life. To make matters worse? The serum Juliet’s father developed to keep her illness at bay is no longer working and her condition is getting worse.

Juliet is an interesting and fun protagonist to follow. While attempting to find a cure for herself, we get a closer look at the inner darkness that she finds herself fighting. A side that is torn between feeling sheer horror over her father’s experiments and feeling a sense of curiosity and conflicted pride over the creatures that he has created. Away from the island, we get to explore the inner battle she has with herself even more. Does Juliet want all her father’s research and journals purely to save her life or because there’s something about his mad science that fascinates her?

As always, to make everything even more complex are the two guys in Juliet’s life. Edward and Montgomery. I’m always going to be Team Edward on this one. No, not the sparkly vampire from those Twilight movies, I’m on about the rather charming Edward Prince who is one of Juliet’s father’s experiments. Similarly to Juliet, Edward is in desperate search for a cure. His transformations into the murderous beast are all too frequent and he’s beginning to lose control.

For some reason, I latched onto Edward in the first novel and I’ve been rooting for him and Juliet ever since. The beast within Edward’s body sort of tends to get in the way a lot in Her Dark Curiosity, but Edward truly loves Juliet and the heartbreaking sacrifice he makes to keep them all protected proves it. I mean, we are visiting Frankenstein in the next book so as far as I’m concerned, he’s coming back. We didn’t get to see a whole lot of Edward and Juliet love in the first book, so it was nice to be able to see their relationship play out more in this one. And they did the horizontal tango first, so in your face Montgomery!

I’m assuming that it’ll end with Juliet and Montgomery as canon, but I’m still holding out for Edward. Edward mentions a few times in the novel that Montgomery is hiding something sinister from Juliet that will change her mind about the engagement which makes me really eager to read A Cold Legacy and find out what shady secrets he’s hiding.

I want to quickly mention how much I liked being able to see more of the supporting characters in Her Dark Curiosity. Lucy is an odd character that I find myself feeling quite indifferent too. Perhaps that’s because I’m hellbent on Juliet and Edward having a happy ending and she keeps popping up trying to ruin it. Despite that, I couldn’t not go this entire review without talking about Balthazar. He’s such a sweetheart! What a beautiful and pure cinnamon roll that is far too good for this cold, cruel world.

Overall, this book was just as thrilling as its predecessor. It was plot-twists galore, intense, shocking and just downright emotional. I feel a sense of sadness that there’s only one book left because I adore these characters and I’m not ready to say goodbye just yet. However, I’m dying to see what next lies in store for Juliet and Co in A Cold Legacy.


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