“And desperation could lead a person to things one might never do otherwise.”
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.
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From The Madman’s Daughter, a story based on H.G. Well‘s classic novel, Island of Dr. Moreau, we are introduced to Juliet Moreau’s dark world. Through Juliet’s eyes we visited a mysterious island and discover Dr. Moreau’s mad creations and personal dealings. We also witness her escape from the Island leaving those people who grew close to her.
Now in Her Dark Curiosity, with the elements of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde classic tale, Juliet is back to London after escaping the island. With the help of her father’s former colleague, Professor von Stein, Juliet is trying to rebuild her life and reputation. Having a high class gentleman to support her, she was easily accepted by London’s society, almost forgetting her previous status as low worker and daughter of a mad man. Though Juliet is living a much nicer life now, she still can’t remove herself from her past and her father’s legacy. Her illness is getting worse, desperate to cure herself she set-up a lab where she works for a serum that will cure her.
While she is busy experimenting, Scotland Yard is harboring a murderer. The street of London is not safe anymore. As the victims continue to rise, Juliet cannot help but notice that she has some sort of connection to each casualty. Add the familiar claw-like slashes, maybe Juliet past isn’t exactly left behind in the Island. Thinking that she is the link and with the possibility that she knows who the killer is, Juliet is determined to stop the killer before it’s too late.
When I first found out that this second installment is based on the classic novel, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde I get excited to read the book because I know that Edward from the first installment will surely return playing an important role to the story. I assumed that Edward will finally get his spot light in this installment and lucky for me he did have his moments.
He is still mysterious, though not as mysterious as he is in the first book but still intriguing enough. His dual personally guaranteed him a bigger role just like Juliet.
I’m still not a fan of the love triangle in this series, not because I don’t like any of the gentlemen involved but more on I like Juliet when she is not into boys. I like her better when she is more focus in discovering her father secrets, or when she is analyzing and doing her own experiment than her thinking of Montgomery and Edward. I think she is a smart woman but when her thinking is clouded with boys, she is capable of making unintelligent decisions.
Though this second installment is as thrilling and intriguing, it is not as daring and gruesome like The Madman’s Daughter, which makes me miss the creepy tone of the first book. I expected to get more horrifying descriptions, like the vivisection and the creepy experiments, though there are murders in here they are not as gore as expected.
The plotting is well executed. Megan Shepperd’s story flow works perfectly as she intertwines all the characters and the happenings from previous book. She bring her stories together in a way like two pieces of the puzzle fit perfectly together. The way she weaves the classic stories together with her own retelling is both subtle and seamless. I really salute Sheppard in her clever way of connecting different classic novels into one series.
The way Shepperd utilized The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde story in this installment is brilliant. The theme of dual nature not only reflected in her characters but also in her settings. As Juliet’s continue interact with the London’s upper class society we see the wealth, beauty, and extravagance of the upper class which contrast to the damp and grimy underside of the King’s College where murder and secrets experiments happen.
As for the characters, two major characters shown a great deal of battle between darkness and light. Edward, the most obvious representation of dual nature theme in the story is defined in the most conflicting but believable way. The distinction between the good and evil side of him is well executed. He is clearly a representation of two side of the same coin. Readers may like and hate him at the same time. As for me, I enjoy reading about his character whether he is The Best or Edward. I even think that the Beast side of him though a killer is the most honest and straightforward character in this book.
Another character that represent the dual nature theme is Juliet. Her inner struggle in fighting her dark curiosity is interesting to read. She clearly hate what her father has done, all the experimentation in the Island that cost a lot of lives, but still she can’t help but get curious with the experiments at the same time. Her desire to learn more about her father works and discover more about the science and experiments while trying to a fight or accept her dark side is really well done.
“I could only stare at him, lost for words. I didn’t like what he was suggesting—that he and I were the same. I hadn’t killed my father because I’d hungered for blood. And yet the results were the same. What did motivation matter, when death was the result?”
Beside the dual nature theme of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Sheppard also added other twist with bigger motives in the story. There are secret groups, political intrigue, bigger issues and even bigger consequences which all makes the story more intriguing and engaging.
As always Sheppard’s writing style is sleek and beautiful. The lovely prose like in the first book, The Madman’s Daughter is still present. Sheppard’s words are flowing and engaging that I can’t help but read more and more.
Overall, Her Dark Curiosity is an entertaining follow up to The Madman’s Daugther. Megan Shepperd’s done a great job in delivering a thrilling retelling of one of the most read classic tale. And with a very promising ending, I can’t wait to read the final installment of this amazing series.
* This review is based on an advance readers copy I received courtesy of the publisher, HarperCollins International in exchange of honest opinion.