Review of Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd

Her Dark CuriosityHer Dark Curiosity (The Madman’s Daughter #2)
By: Megan Shepherd
Release Date: January 28th 2014
Publisher: Balzer+Bray

A copy was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:
star

This review will contain spoilers from the first book, The Madman’s Daughter, and a minor spoiler for this book.

Summary:
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.

My Thoughts:
I had some issues with the first in this series, The Madman’s Daughter. You can see my review here, but the quick of it was that I did not care for the love triangle or the animal violence though I enjoyed the writing style. I was optimistic to read this follow-up since it was based on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Overall, I was disappointed in Her Dark Curiosity. I think that the story was very interesting and I enjoyed the pacing for the most part after the slow beginning. Shepherd is wonderful at gripping her readers and also creating a gothic aura. Her take on the classic was also interesting though I felt that it could have gone deeper and been more in the forefront of the story.

Spoilers ahead…

 

Instead, we were treated with a lot of ‘romantic’ scenes. Each scene felt awkward to me and not at all swoon-worthy. Somehow, beyond all logic, the love triangle continued and so much time was spent focused on Juliet pondering whom she loved. Everything surrounding the romance felt very convienant (especially the arrival of a character from the first book midway). I was so disappointed in the direction this aspect of the story went. Honestly, thinking back I don’t know how much real time was spent on the love triangle but it felt like entirely too much because I think I can safely say, we all hoped there would be none. The last book pretty well took care of that, right? Nope, it’s back.

One love scene in particular was so not romantic I couldn’t stop rolling my eyes. One of the characters was drenched in blood and somehow this was supposed to be intriguing to us as readers. I felt sick more than anything. It felt like a way to make the story darker but really it just made me say ick.

 

End Spoiler

This book was accurately titled. Throughout the story Juliet struggles with her internal darkness and the truths she learned on the island. She can not make amends with herself and feels that the darkness is eating away at her. This internal battle isolates her. I found her character more interesting in this book than the first until she is paired with a man. Again, the romance did not work for me in any way.

There is no question to me that Shepherd is a talented writer and I love her ability to weave classic gothic into young adult books. I only wish the love aspect wasn’t present and more time and energy was focused on the action, suspense and mystery, all aspects both books exceled in.

 

Comments

  1. says

    Hmmmm, I’m sure I’ll read this one eventually, but I’m not gonna hurry into reading it, not very happy to hear about the return of the damned love triangle!

  2. says

    Amazing review Kristen. <3 I would never have been able to give it three stars, lol 😀 Glad you didn't fully hate it, though. <3 But god damn it. That triangle shit? WORST THING EVER. I will never ever be okay about it. Sigh. Anyway. Thank you for sharing 🙂

    • says

      3 stars might be too high but I did read the entire thing so I must have been enjoying it to some degree. I liked the atmosphere and that darn cover is so pretty. I love the gothic tones just wish there was no romance.

  3. says

    I read this one recently too, and while I agree that Shepherd has a talent for prose–she’s always able to make everything feel so atmospheric!–I agree about the love triangle. It totally brought down the book for me to 2 stars, and I was rolling my eyes so much. The Madman’s Daughter was already outside of my comfort zone. I enjoyed it but didn’t love it, and hoped Her Dark Curiosity would improve upon the strengths the first book had, despite some of the flaws(the most annoying love triangle ever, that is), from Madman’s Daughter. I don’t know about you, but I thought the love triangle was even worse in this book. And the thing at the end seemed to come out of nowhere. I think maybe I’ll skip the conclusion to this trilogy, but pick up Shepherd’s next books.

    • says

      I might have rated too high but I loved the tone of the novel and I read the whole thing. It wasn’t that big of a chore to read so that’s why I rated it 3 stars. The romance took off 2 for sure. I imagine I could have rated it 2.5 stars instead. Might be more accurate to how I felt. Typically a 2 star book I’ll DNF. I think I’ll skip the conclusion as well.

  4. says

    I’m reading this soon, and I’m bummed because I haven’t really read a positive review of this book yet. I really loved The Madman’s Daughter (except for the animal violence of course) and I was hoping for a strong second book. We’ll see!

  5. says

    I can see that I won’t be able to deal with this one. I liked the first book, but really wished the love triangle hadn’t been incorporated into it. It sounds like things get even worse here in terms of romance. :/

    • says

      Yep, the romance was so, so badly done imo. It could have been such a strong book. I’ll be skipping book 3 though I’ll read another series by Shepherd because I do enjoy her style.

  6. says

    Gahhhhh, I am so nervous to read this one! I’m not a fan of the love triangle either, so knowing it just continues ad nauseam in this book does not sound like something I’ll enjoy. -_- I’m still giving this a try, as I have an eARC, but I guess I’m glad to know what I’m getting into. =/

    • says

      I hope you enjoy it more than I did. I’ll be curious to see your opinions. I’d say it’s worth the read for sure since Shepherd’s writing is very well done.

  7. says

    I’ll be reading this soon. I agree with your take on TMD — I loved the writing and many of the retelling choices but I was pretty squeamish about the animal cruelty stuff and thought love triangle was completely unnecessary. So we will see what I think – so far the reviews I’ve read are making me a little worried..
    Jen @ YA Romantics

    • says

      I’ll be curious to hear your thoughts on it. I wasn’t much of a fan of the triangle (again) but I do love her writing. Not sure about the next book to be honest.

  8. says

    I’m a little worried about all of the middling reviews I’ve seen for this. I really liked the first book, though it did have its issues, too, but I’ve really been looking forward to this one, especially as a retelling of Jekyll and Hyde. But, drat, that dreaded love triangle really makes a reemergence? Really? That’s unfortunate. Of course, my curiosity is piqued, so I’ll have to pick this one up soon, despite everything you mentioned.

    • says

      I am very curious to hear what you think. Yes, the dreaded triangle is back and more annoying than ever. If that aspect were removed my reading experience would have been greatly improved. I hope you read it soon and let me know your thoughts.

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