Juliet Moreau struggles with monsters, morals and family tragedy in this moving, if melodramatic sequel (The Madman’s Daughter, 2013).
Not content to relax in the well-appointed home of her guardian, professor von Stein, or to shop and gossip with her friend, Lucy Radcliffe, 17-year-old Juliet sneaks away to the slums to experiment in anatomy, botany and chemistry. Her father is gone—killed by her own hand—but his medical misconduct and her former poverty are not forgotten. When her former persecutors fall victim to a serial killer, Juliet suspects that someone or something made it off the island. Juliet finds herself torn again between her love for the faithful (if secretive) Montgomery and the tortured Edward Prince, who shifts between boy and Beast. Amid a whirlwind of romance, fancy dresses and death, Juliet uncovers a vast conspiracy that stretches into the highest ranks of society and touches everyone she knows. Although heavy-handed, Shepherd’s unsubtle allusions to The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Frankenstein draw readers’ attention to the classics and may provoke discussions about medical ethics and split personalities. The experiments are more fiction than science, and Juliet contradicts her supposed delicacy by dispatching threats with chemistry and violence, but the fast pace of the story overpowers the minor imperfections.
Secrets and mad scientists offer a gory gothic adventure. (Gothic thriller. 14 & up)