Book Review: Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd


Title:  Her Dark Curiosity
Series: (The Madman's Daughter #2)
By: Megan Shepherd
Author Info: Website | Twitter | Goodreads
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre Type: Gothic, Romance, Horror
Publication Date: January 28th 2014
Pages: 368 pages
Format: ARC
Source: Edelweiss
Publisher: Balzer+Bray

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.

( Review may contain (very slight) spoilers for book one, The Madman's Daughter. If you have not read it, you can check out my review here. )

To defeat the darkness, she must first embrace it.

Infused with dark romance, elements of horror and macabre, and wonderfully descriptive Gothic overtones, Her Dark Curiosity is the second book in author Megan Shepherd's The Madman's Daughter trilogy.

Inspired by the classic tale from Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,  Megan Shepherd's once again gives her readers a tale filled with a chilling mystery, rich prose, and highly atmospheric setting, continuing the story of young Juliet Moreau. I was once again drawn back into Juliet's dark world and captivated by this story.

What is so wonderful about Her Dark Curiosity, and the series so far, is the unique way elements from classic Gothic literature are interwoven into each story, overlapping each other in the plot. I don't want to spoil the fun, but after reading Her Dark Curiosity's ending, (and The Madman's Daughter) I'm super excited about what I think the next tale might take inspiration from! Hint-hint- pay attention to those secondary characters.

With her first book in the series, The Madman's Daughter, Megan Shepherd gave us her take on H.G. Wells's classic The Island of Dr. Moreau from his daughter's Juliet's perspective. There, through Juliet's eyes we visited the mysterious island and saw the mad creations of her father, Dr. Moreau and learn about her illness. We witness her escape back to London, fleeing for her life, forced to leave behind her possible cure and two young men who both have a piece of her heart.

Now, Her Dark Curiosity picks up the story as Juliet returns to London as elements of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are interwoven into the plot, along with a murder mystery reminiscent of Jack the Ripper. With the help of Professor Von Stein, a former colleague of Juliets father, she is trying to rebuild her life, and once again she is socially accepted by London's society. In contrast to her socially acceptable life, Juliet hides a secret one. In a hidden laboratory Juliet desperately tries to create a serum to cure herself from her affliction and end her father's legacy. But when recent murder victims appear to have some sort of connection to Juliet, leaving it's victims with three claw like slashes, she fears one of her fathers deadly creations may have also escaped the island. Along with these murders are the reappearance of two loves from her past she thought she left behind.

The theme of dual nature runs throughout the book. With Juliet, as she tries to overcome hers fascination and horror over her fathers experiments, and her secret illness. And of course the murderer who suffers a fate similar to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Even the romance becomes a reflection of fighting oneself, and how far one will go in the name of love.

The setting of Her Dark Curiosity also reflects the themes of duality and nature that are going on in the book. Victorian London's dreary and bleak underside, and the macabre hidden within King's College are contrasted perfectly with the beauty and wealth of London's upper class society that Juliet is now part of, as well as the lush and verdant Royal Botanical Gardens where much of the mystery revolves around.

Juliet's character continues to fascinate me with her dark curiosity that remains over her father experiments. She is constantly battling her deeper desire to learn more, yet abhors what he has done. She is continues to fight her own inner battle, a dark desire that she tries to repress- her very nature. I love the quiet strength she represents, and cannot help but be fascinated by her "dark curiosity."

Although I was easily able to figure out who was behind the murders, it was other new and mysterious figures that kept me guessing as to where this trilogy might go. There is a much bigger mystery with fabulous clues helping to reveal the last book’s epic sounding completion.

And the romance was definitely a love triangle again. Juliet makes some mistakes in this book, and continues to be torn between two loves. And at first it all seems a bit pointless, choose already, right? But, by the end of the book and its awesome cliffhanger, it becomes clear why both young men are remaining Juliet's life. One represents her darker desire and sympathy and the other represents the good that she wants to be.

I was once again was thrilled by Her Dark Curiosity, and recommend to all those Gothic romance lovers out there and fans of her first book, The Madman’s Daughter. Megan Shepherd’s is leading up to something amazing, and I can’t wait for her epic conclusion.

My Rating: 4 Stars. I Really Liked it!

PLEASE NOTE: A courtesy review copy of this book was provided by Balzer+Bray via Edelweiss in exchange for my fair review. Thank you Balzer+Bray for the review opportunity!