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Review: Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd

Monday, January 20, 2014

Her Dark Curiosity
Megan Shepherd

Series: The Madman's Daughter #2
Genre: YA GothicHistorical, Science Fiction
Hardback: 368 Pages
Publication: January 28, 2014
by 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.


Her Dark Curiosity takes place a while after the events of the first novel. The first pages summarize what has happened since Juliet left the island and what she is doing now that she's back in London. The summary is choppy, and I'm not fully satisfied with the explanations for various happenings. I didn't connect with the weariness of her long journey back to London, and I don't really get the reasoning for how she got out of jail (for stabbing that creep who tried to rape her back in book one). It just doesn't seem realistic. How Juliet gets away with a lot of things is questionable in general, like sneaking around the university in a fashionable red dress.

The writing is as poorly organized as in book one. There is a good amount of internal dialogue with Juliet pondering over her situation and the murders. However, they often come in an order that doesn't really make sense, or her thoughts come in at an unusual time, isolate from the incident that takes place. A combination of the writing style and the way Juliet's thoughts are portrayed makes it hard for me to connect with Juliet. I know that she is supposed to have a scientific mind like her father, but there could have been a better way of showing it. Juliet often notes how she doesn't really fit into society. While it does show that she's a thinker, I would have preferred for the novel to show it a different way, such as with Juliet analyzing the situation and reacting in a contradictory way instead of, for example, directly stating that she's different from all the other young ladies out there.

I'm not feeling the romance either. I don't like Juliet's indecision about the guys and how she treats them without respect for their feelings. One moment she thinks one thing about a guy, the next she thinks of him in another light. Rather than a romance, this is a girl changing her mind about how she feels about the guys based on whatever she desires a particular moment, and there's nothing romantic about that. It's plain using people. It's not just the guys. She easily dismisses peoples' feelings and later rationalizes why she is in the right. She seems to believe that she has a cloak of invulnerability around her that will protect her from bad things. Fortunately for her, she has a group of loyal friends who don't judge her but who support her, albeit with a few questions.

What saved this book—and perhaps the series—for me is the ending. When the threads connecting the "King's Men" to Juliet's father in the present come together, the plot comes together, revealing events moving on a larger scale. While I am disappointed that these events don't play a more prominent role for more of the story, it really gets moving towards the end, and though I still can't fully sympathize with Juliet, the ending had me feeling for a few of the characters. And finding out what classic the third novel is drawing inspiration from! Juliet isn't going to be playing with mere curiosity this time....

Additional Information
  1. The Madman's Daughter
  2. Her Dark Curiosity
  3. Untitled
Similar Books

  • Kissing
  • Sex
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On another note
I'm not really feeling that cover. It doesn't really set the mood for the story. The way the model is positioned makes her look vulnerable and in need of saving. Something more along the vein of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, except maybe with Juliet poking around some mystery, would've been cooler. Plus, it'd portray that independent, intellectual side of Juliet.

6 comments on "Review: Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd"
  1. Oh, I'm sorry this one didn't work for you, Kris! I absolutely loved the first book, and I had high hopes for this one, but I've seen a couple of really poor reviews for this one today. Such a shame, but I appreciate your honest take on it. Great review :)

    1. Thanks, Melissa. I think another reason that I didn't like this one is also because I didn't like the first book, and it mostly has to do with the writing style, though I've seen poor reviews from readers who loved the first book, so responses may vary depending on the reader.

  2. Had such potential but sorry it didn't work out the best for you.

  3. I really liked the first book, and I do have this one. I haven't read it yet though. I am a little worried, especially with the whole romance thing going on. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it. I will have to keep the not so great love stuff.

    1. Thanks, Jenea. Let me know what you think about this! :)


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