This is a young adult novel with a love triangle. You have been warned.
“Edward and Montgomery were suddenly both by my side, each taking an arm.
My face burned as I looked between them. Two boys, two sets of hands on my wrists. One rough and calloused, the other strong yet smooth. My emotions knotted tighter, threatening to cut off my circulation.”
Meh. Have 'em both. See if I care.
I picked it up knowing this and expecting the above because I was seduced by the plot. The “madman” is actually Dr. Moreau. Yes, that Dr. Moreau. The one who, in my dreams, creates these lovelies:
Dr. Moreau was basically run out of town and his reputation ruined after his nefarious experiments came to light. He abandoned both his wife and young daughter and high-tailed it to an island. Flash-forward a few years and Juliette is now a teenager eeking out a living as a maid. She stumbles across some evidence to the location of her long-lost father and, though she is haunted by memories of him, he is the only family she has left so she sets off an adventure to track him down. She may wish she had never found that first clue before it’s all said and done . . .
I really enjoyed most of this book. It has a very well done sense of place and maintained its creepy gothic “what the heck is going on” atmosphere throughout. The love triangle was unnecessary and I didn’t give a rats patootie about it but I’m too old to care about teen crushes and flip flopping between handsome boys. I wanted more gruesome surgery scenes but what is here was enough to make me happy.
“To me, blood smelled like home.”
I liked Juliette. She fears she is too much like her father; cold, a little blood-thirsty, perhaps, maybe even a little mad. She is very honest in her thoughts and I found this realistic as well as refreshing. She was the only character who really captured my attention.
There are many twists and turns and secrets to be revealed and I was surprised more than once at a few of the reveals but if I’m being honest it was way too long. Probably 80 or so pages too long. The backdrop, the horror (quite repulsive at times) and the evocative writing elevates this above most of what’s out there and the ending was perfect. If this interests you check it out. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Oops, almost forget to mention the narration. This copy was narrated by Lucy Raynor and her voice was lovely and well suited to the material. No complaints from me.