For fans of Libba Bray, this first book in a gothic suspense trilogy is inspired by H. G. Wells's The Island of Dr. Moreau and has been hailed by New York Times bestseller Carrie Ryan as having "beautiful writing, breakneck pacing, a pulse-pounding mystery, and an irresistible romance."
Following accusations that her scientist father gruesomely experimented on animals, sixteen-year-old Juliet watched as her family and her genteel life in London crumbled around her—and only recently has she managed to piece her world back together. But when Juliet learns her father is still alive and working on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the old accusations are true. Accompanied by her father's handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward, Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father's insanity. 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.
Drawing liberally from The Island of Dr. Moreau, Shepherd debuts with a dark novel, the first in a planned trilogy, which explores many of the themes of the Wells book, including the ethics of scientific experimentation, progress, and civilization. Several characters have parallels in the original Moreau, the disgraced physiologist; his assistant, Montgomery; and a rescued castaway named Edward. Assuming the role of narrator is 16-year-old Juliet Moreau, who has eked out a living in London following her father's downfall and mother's death. When Juliet learns her father is possibly alive, she sets off for the island he escaped to, along with Montgomery, who is recast as a dashing former childhood friend of Juliet's. At times, the horrors of Moreau's experimentations take a backseat to the romantic passions that engulf Juliet ("Being so close to a half-naked man to Montgomery made me breathless"), as her affections vacillate between Montgomery and the mysterious Edward. Nonetheless, Shepherd's atmospheric interpretation ought to pull readers in, with unexpected twists and a cliffhanger ending that should leave them craving more. Ages 13 up.
I only am a few pages in but this is going to be great. What a promising new young author!
I was skeptical when I started this book, due to my inability to stay with science fiction/fantasy books. Not going to lie, the first 1/3 of this book was a tad slow. I found the characters a bit dull/flat. However, as the book picked up, I found myself more invested in the characters as the story began to captivate me in its mystery and danger. I finished the book hungry for more. Overall, a quite satisfying read.
This book was great! I can't wait until the sequel comes out