Friday, January 23, 2015

Me on A Cold Legacy

Title: A Cold Legacy
Author: Megan Shepherd
Release Date: January 27, 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins imprint)

After killing the men who tried to steal her father's research, Juliet—along with Montgomery, Lucy, Balthazar, and a deathly ill Edward—has escaped to a remote estate on the Scottish moors. Owned by the enigmatic Elizabeth von Stein, the mansion is full of mysteries and unexplained oddities: dead bodies in the basement, secret passages, and fortune-tellers who seem to know Juliet's secrets. Though it appears to be a safe haven, Juliet fears new dangers may be present within the manor's own walls. Then Juliet uncovers the truth about the manor's long history of scientific experimentation—and her own intended role in it—forcing her to determine where the line falls between right and wrong, life and death, magic and science, and promises and secrets. And she must decide if she'll follow her father's dark footsteps or her mother's tragic ones, or whether she'll make her own.

A Cold Legacy is the conclusion to a story dark and dangerous, mysterious and frightening. It explores the impossible and the macabre, what lurks in the shadows and what lurks inside ourselves. With enough knowledge, enough skill, enough determination, does that make mankind the most dangerous monster of all?

Juliet is still running from her past, a past filled with unspeakable horrors and death, but is escape even possible when she's pulled in every direction? Towards Montgomery and the idea of a normal life. Towards Elizabeth and the secrets of the mansion. Towards Lucy and an extremely dangerous idea. Towards her father, his actions and experiments that continue to haunt her. She still has her curiosity, her unflinching and unwavering desire to know why. And even thought it might not be the best thing, or the smartest thing, she'll uncover as many truths as she has to in order to know the reason behind everything. But it's not fair when she does something incredibly foolish and keeps a secret of her own, one that could destroy them all.

The role of women in this book is intriguing. Elizabeth desires to teach Juliet what she knows, to one day see her as the new mistress of the mansion. Here, women are in charge. they are the holders of secrets, the gatekeepers of knowledge. They keep it locked away from those who would use such power for their own gains, for their own desires instead of for the greater good. They keep it locked away from men, preventing monsters like Juliet's father from experimenting with life and death and playing God.

But who is to say that such knowledge would benefit the greater good? Who is to say that what Elizabeth knows should be shared at all? It is the most dangerous and impossible science, bringing the dead back to life. How can such a thing ever be used for good? Where does morality belong in such a world? Where do we draw the line between monster and genius? If we are meant to live forever, to be brought back to life, why are we so fragile?

With the addition of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein as inspiration, the exploration into how far science could go at the turn of the 19th century continues. Altering animals into people, dual personalities, and now reanimating the dead. This trilogy digs down into the deepest and darkest of places, where all rules are broken and logic and reason are cast aside. This is science fiction as it once was, not looking out at the stars but at ourselves. At the secret parts that we keep hidden, the parts that question how far we can take medical science. The parts that dream of immortality.

This series is dark and mysterious, it explores human nature and curiosity, but there were times when Juliet made what I thought was the wrong decision. She can be indecisive, afraid of all possible outcomes, fearing that she will turn into her father the most. There is a moment in this book when I thought she made the worst decision possible, one that would destroy them all. Whether or not it happened how I thought it would, I'm not going to say. Recommended to fans of the previous two books and fans of gothic horror and late Victorian era science fiction.

(I downloaded an e-galley of this title from Edelweiss through HarperCollins.)

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