Review: Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd

Sunday, January 19, 2014
Title: Her Dark Curiosity
Author: Megan Shepherd
Genre: young adult, retellings, horror
Series: The Madman's Daughter #2
Pages: 368
Published: expected January 28 2014
Source: publishers via edelweiss
Rating: 1.5/5

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.

Now you'll notice this is a review for the second book and I've never really reviewed or talked about the first in the series, The Madman's Daughter. (This gif dump of reactions clearly doesn't count.) And that's because this series is so utterly wasted. Both books have been nothing but a disappointment for me. A horror-filled, snore-inducing waste of time and effort. All the potential for plot and creativity was and is still ignored for mundanity; almost all fun erased by the tedious characters as they go through the motions of their hackneyed love triangle the plot.

Despite my overall antipathy for the story overall, I have to admit that The Madman's Daughter had a few things going for it. Main character and narrator Juliet had more than a few moments to shine, there were several fun and unpredicted twists, the writing was strong and often pretty (without veering purple), and the adaptation angle felt natural and not at all forced. I mention this because Her Dark Curiosity possess almost none of those qualities, and even manages to ruin a few from its predecessor through some terrible plot twists that tie back to events in book one.

Book two starts off six months after the end of the first and features Juliet dealing with a lot of grief and guilt (notice on the cover she is in black when she was dressed in white before?) from the revelations of the island--- not only was she the inspiration for his "work" but she is a murderer, and a patricide at that. In addition, she must dealing with Montgomery's "betrayal" and "the Wolf of Whitechapel" (the book's Jekyll ["Jakyll"]/Hyde character), a vicious killer with has a special connection to her. 

That all sounds interesting and actiontastic, right? Crazy and creepy and fun to read. Too bad Her Dark Curiosity ignores all possibility that for waaaaangst and gross romances.

I do like Juliet, but I hate how any relationship she has is based on attraction. Her two main conversants - besides those not human or not directly related to her - are her love interests. She has one friend, who is made of cardboard and used for plot reasons. She...likes science? And Montgomery? There's not a lot to grab onto, personality-wise.  And this is the best character of the bunch. If I can't invest overmuch in the characters, I need the plot to be spectacular enough to make up for the charisma lack. With this book, I can't get attached to any characters (exception: Sharkey), and I DESPISE how the plot was adapted to focus more on Juliet's lovelife. It's an almost complete wash.

I can't even call Her Dark Curiosity a disappointment, really. I expected little and that was what I got, in the end. Even the writing, though still strong and visual, is less impressive the second-time around. Shepherd can certainly write, but I am less convinced about her plotting skills. I am fast losing patience with these books and no matter finely-worded the boring, that's not enough to keep me reading for very long. This book, like The Madman's Daughter before it, could be so much better..... if not for the love-triangle black hole sucking out all the life from the story.

The book ends much like the first did, but I am not doing this twice. Fool me twice and all that jazz. There are some pretty obvious ploys to get readers on board with a book three of this series (with the retelling/adaptation yet to be named), but it's weak and transparent. There is little to recommend this book/series and the TL;DR version is: I don't.


  1. YIKES. I was only slightly considering reading this (Because I was not a fan of the first and think I only gave it 2 stars) but nope nope nope. This sounds dreadful. But thanks for taking one for the team. Now I know better. :P Fabulous review. :)

  2. I was NOT a fan of the first but I love the whole idea of it all- just not the actual execution. I think I gave the first one 2.5 stars..? *sigh* but I still feel an obligation to read this. Why am I doing this to myself. Wonderful review!

  3. I agree this was sadly not what I wanted from the book or series. I think Shepherd has a beautiful writing style so had to rate the book higher due to that. I wasn't much of a fan of the first book so didn't have any expectations for this one. I enjoyed a few aspects (the setting really). I think where things go astray for me is the romance. I HATE it. There is nothing I enjoy about either men or Juliet's constant ponderings. Ugh. SO much ugh. I wish the romance was dropped completely and time was spent on her self discovery and the other elements. I'm really not sure if I'll pick up the next or not.


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