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all hearthfires & holocausts

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The Madman's Daughter

The Madman's Daughter - 2-2.5 stars.I confess I was only slightly familiar with The Island of Doctor Moreau before beginning The Madman's Daughter, but from what I knew, I expected a dark, atmospheric and intense read with a heavy dose of science fiction. However, what I got was a very predictable, heaving romance with some sciencey stuff thrown in for color.We begin with Juliet Moreau, daughter of the once well-respected Dr. Moreau, now a madman's poor orphan, forced to work cleaning the university for survival. She is shunned from most polite society, but doesn't seem overly bitter. She does what she must to survive, and doesn't spend much time complaining. In the first couple chapters, she seemed a strong and intelligent character, with just a little bit of crazy to keep her interesting.She discovers one of the students performing a vivisection, a live dissection of an animal, using notes in her father's hand as a guide. With this evidence, she becomes convinced that her father is still alive, and tracks the note's origin to a pub. There, she discovers the son of her family's former servant, Montgomery, the boy she had a crush on as a girl.She learns that Montgomery has been living with her father on a deserted island, and convinces him to take her with him when he returns. On the journey to the island, a mysterious castaway is rescued. He is mad with exposure, but seems to quiet when he catches sight of Juliet.And here is where a potentially interesting story completely unravels. The focus shifts almost entirely to the (very weak) love triangle, with Juliet fantasizing about one boy, and then the other almost in the same thought. And though I'm never one to simply accept the all-consuming love at first sight trope of YA, Juliet's back and forth between Edward and Montgomery was annoying and unbelievable.The pacing was completely disjointed. Juliet's indecision between the two boys took up pages and pages, but the truly interesting plot points seemed to only be given minimal description. I wanted to know more about the village of creatures, their societal structure, and the religion they'd created for themselves. I wanted more background on just how Juliet's father was able to create these creatures; without it, it seemed unbelievable to me that an amalgam of animals could ever pass as a human being--even a massively deformed one. And unfortunately, the big reveals were entirely predictable from very early in the story. Which was a shame, because this could have been a very exciting, very dark and different story, instead of a mostly ordinary historical romance with brief snatches of brilliance.ARC provided by the publisher through Edelweiss.