Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Me on Her Dark Curiosity

Title: Her Dark Curiosity
Author: Megan Shepherd
Release Date: January 28, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins imprint)

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 claw-like 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.

Her Dark Curiosity is haunting, mysterious, and deadly, gothic horror that leaves you suspicious of what could lurk in the darkness. There are mysteries and secrets in London's shadows, and Juliet fears the worst when she discovers her past, a past she thought she'd left behind on an island far away, has appeared in her present.

Juliet is searching for so many things. A new life in London. A cure for her condition. A way to forget what, and who, she abandoned on her father's island. Now she must search for a murderer, a dark monster from her past she never thought she'd see again. Faces from her past appear in her life once again and she must fight against the darkness through all of her struggles, for she fears it will overtake her and turn her into someone dangerous. Someone like her father.

What darkness hides inside our bodies, our minds, our souls? Where does it come from? Has there always a darker part of us hidden, tucked away, waiting for the chance to break free? Are we all capable of becoming monsters? And what of Juliet, human with the organs of a deer inside of her. Human she may be but she knows the darkness is inside of her, put there by a man trying so desperately to keep his child alive he would break the laws of nature. What is her darkness? What is lurking inside of her? How far will she go to hide it from those she cares about?

More and more YA books are appearing that call themselves retellings or re-imaginings of works of classic literature. Just about every book, in some way, could be considered a retelling. With The Madman's Daughter, it felt very much like a retelling of Wells' classic novel about a dangerous doctor named Moreau and his island of experimentation. Here, Shepherd's new story continues and goes beyond the source material, drawing this time from Stevenson. This is not a true retelling of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but I can see where Shepherd was inspired by it, the moments of Juliet hiding the most dangerous parts of her world from those she cares about. The moments of darkness and fear over what hides inside ourselves.

When I first saw the names Jekyll and Hyde in relation to this book, I was concerned, I worried about how it would come across, but I wasn't surprised. Looking at the first book, the monsters, the experiments, I figured I knew where the author would be going. An exploration into the darker side of Juliet and her experiences. But even with my assumptions I was held captive, turning page after page as quickly as I could, helpless to do nothing but satisfy my curiosity. The ending makes it rather clear which piece of classical literature has inspired the last book, and again I am skeptical, but I'm still very much looking forward to the conclusion of this dark tale.

(I received an advance copy of this title to review from HarperCollins Canada.)

1 comment:

  1. I have to admit I didn't care for The Madman's Daughter. But despite all my reservations I'm finding myself really curious about the sequel. I think it's because I'm a big fan of Jekyll & Hyde!