The Madman’s Daughter – Read-n-Feed

For this week’s Read-n-Feed post I’m featuring a book by another writing friend: Megan Shepherd. I met Megan at the Highlights Writers' Workshop at Chautauqua in July 2009. There were people there from all over the world, so it was fun to run into another Carolina girl (she’s from NC). Then in the fall of 2010, at the regional SCBWI-Carolinas conference, Megan and I were randomly assigned to the same red-eye critique group. Such a small-world moment! It was great to catch up and then follow her writing journey on Facebook.
I was thrilled when I learned Megan had sold a trilogy, and even more excited for her as I started reading the advance praise from places like Entertainment Weekly. It was even optioned for a movie almost a year before its release date. So awesome!
Megan signing Jocelyn's bookMegan’s book launch was in January, and she had it at her parents’ bookstore in NC. As luck would have it, I was visiting my sister that week, and she lives about an hour away, so we decided it would be fun to attend. And it was fun! They’d created a creepy signing corner to match the creepy vibe of Megan’s novel, and there were drinks and snacks (always a bonus!). It was very inspiring to see Megan on her big day and to get my very own signed copy of The Madman’s Daughter.
Then life interfered, and much to my embarrassment, I entered another reading drought. But now that I’ve gotten back on the reading bandwagon, Megan's book was at the top of my towering TBR pile.
Category: Young Adult
Genre(s): Gothic Thriller
Publisher: Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins (2013)
Pages: 432
Amazon Description:  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.
Even though I was familiar with the story of The Island of Dr. Moreau, I’d never read the original. After I finished The Madman’s Daughter, I found a detailed summary of TIoDM and was impressed with how Megan pulled things from the original, but manipulated them in a way to make them completely her own. 
She also did a masterful job of twisting the clues for the mysteries she created through plot points and characters from the original, so it all ended up weaving together into a beautiful whole. I know that’s really vague for a post that’s supposed to share the writerly things I learned from reading, but to be more specific would risk revealing spoilers. Let’s just say that she’s inspired me to take another look at my WIP (a mystery/thriller) to make sure I’m seeding my clues in the best possible way – subtle, but the reader will still go, “Well, damn!” when they reread sections. Lots of really clever writing by Megan.
There was also lots of beautiful writing. Megan takes full advantage of her tropical island setting, making it drip with menace in the same way it drips with humidity. Her descriptions do that double-duty thing that’s so hard to achieve – establish the setting but also create mood and atmosphere.
I’m looking forward to reading the next part of Juliet’s journey in Her Dark Curiosity. Check out the gorgeous cover here.
While I was at Megan’s launch, I bought an extra book for her to sign, and I’m giving it away this week to celebrate my super fantabulous news (read about it here).
Since Dr. Moreau is infamous for his experiments on animals, I’m asking: If you could be spliced with any animal(s), what would it be and why? To enter the giveaway, leave your answer in the comments.
I’ve had a lifelong obsession with dolphins, so I’d want to be part dolphin to zoom through the water. But maybe also add in something with huge wings, like the condor, so I could zoom through the air, too.
There are also social media related ways to receive extra entries – just fill in the Rafflecopter form, and I'll use it to pick a random winner.
The giveaway is now over - congratulations to Wayne D. for winning!
I’m willing to ship internationally, so this is open to everyone. The giveaway will be open for a week, and I’ll announce the winner next Friday, August 9th. Good luck!


Alyssa Susanna's picture

Ooo, that's so cool that you got to meet Megan! :D

Spliced with any animal... a snow leopard. For all the warmth ;)

Thank you! <3

Valued Visitor's picture

I say a Panther so i could call myself The Black Panther!

Kathy L.'s picture

I'd splice with a wolf because I'm a dog person and I would like to be a wild person even if I'm the farthest thing from it.

Sarah's picture

I would say bird so I could fly..probably not very original but I would really love to be able to fly :) Thanks for the giveaway!

Caryn Caldwell's picture

I've heard wonderful things about this one. It sounds amazing!

Oh, and I'd probably want to be spliced with a bird, just so I could fly sometimes.

Klaudia's picture

First of all, thank you for hosting this giveaway! I have been meaning to read The Madman's Daughter for a while now and winning a signed copy would be the icing on the cake! As for the question, I would want to be spliced with a tiger, because they are so gorgeous and dangerous at the same time. And besides, it would be awesome to have stripes! Hahaha. :)

Mackenzi Lee's picture

I was up ALL NIGHT reading this book...partly because it was so good I had to finish, and then because it was so creepy I couldn't sleep! I loved it!

I would be spliced with...gosh, don't know. A bat maybe, for the wings. Makes me think of Madrigal in Daughter of Smoke and Bone. So I'll say a bat!

Mable's picture

I would have to say that I want to spliced with a bird because I always wanted to know what it's like to really fly with my own set of wings.

julie's picture

Spliced with a tiger, seems like fun (: thanks for hosting this giveaway by the way!

Lea Krnjeta's picture

I would like to be spliced with a chowchow dog like my dog Frodo because all he does is sleep and have fun :)

Vivien's picture

Definitely a Jaguar. Stealthy!!

Debra Rook's picture

A dog. More specifically, a Vizsla. They are the best dogs around.

Ashfa's picture

An Eagle!! Majestic!

Michelle Cristobal's picture

Definitely a Swan! They are so pretty! :D

Carmel's picture

It would be a lion because my friends call me 'the lioness'. Partly also because of my fierce attitude and Partly because of my hair color which resembles that of a lion.

SarahO.'s picture

It would probably be a monkey. I would love to swing through trees =)

SameeraS's picture

First, thank you for the giveaway, I have been ding to try and get a signed copy!

I would want to be spliced with a Wolf. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a great fan of the whole werewolf thing. It would be the a Wolf because wolfs are loyal. Once they find a mate they don't divorce. I love their strong yet silent presence, it tends to weigh on the mind and you think of it forever. Not to mention, they are gorgeous when trotting around and they hide the beast in them so well. They look harmless until you mess with them, then all you see is blood stained on fur and that doesn't mean its their own. The Wolf is the way to go for me.

Jocelyn Rish's picture

So many great answers - thanks for sharing, everyone! So far birds seem to be the clear favorite - I guess we all want to fly.  :-)

Keep the answers coming, y'all!

William L.'s picture

I'd love to be a lazy cat or an awesome eagle. :-)

Natalie Aguirre's picture

So cool that you're friends with Megan and that it worked out to go to the book signing.

Suz Reads's picture

I would love to be spliced with a big cat like a jaguar because they are fierce and can run fast! Thanks for this amazing giveaway - I would love to win!

magan bagan's picture

I think I'd liked to spliced with a panther or a lion. I've always wanted a tale and if I could that way I think that would be cool.

Fly to the Sky's picture

I would like to be spliced with a marmot. Just so I could be unique and also because I like the word marmot!! That way of anyone ever said, what's your other half? I could answer with a totally straight face and using my super creepy voice, say maaaarrrrrrmmmmoooootttt......

Medeia sharif's picture

I'd like to be spliced with a raven, so I can fly and be spooky.

Thanks for the giveaway. I'd love to read this.

Carina Olsen's picture

Hmm, I don't know to be honest (A) but I do love cats :D Maybe a huge cat, like a lion, hih :) But I've also always wanted to fly, so maybe a big bird. Hmm. Not sure :D Thank you for perfect giveaway. <3 I loved The Madman's Daughter, and I'm dying for a signed copy :D
Love, Carina

Jocelyn Rish's picture

Looks like felines were the big winner in this second group of answers. Thanks for sharing your answers!

Jessica R's picture

Ooh, interesting! I'd want to be spliced with something graceful, like a deer, maybe. I could use the extra grace ;)

Alyssa L.'s picture

I'd love to be spliced with a unicorn. Because it's so rare and well, I just love unicorns!

Emily's picture

I can't say why, but the first animal that came to mind was a black panther. I suppose since I already have the dark hair and it would be cool to be spliced with a wildcat!

Jocelyn Rish's picture

I loved reading all the answers! Thanks for entering, everybody!

Jocelyn Rish's picture

Closing down the comments for this post because of a persistent spammer.