Book Review: The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd


Young Adult > Horror  | Science Fiction

(The Madman’s Daughter #1)

In the darkest places, even love is deadly.

Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father’s gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.

Accompanied by her father’s handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father’s madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island’s inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father’s dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it’s too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father’s genius—and madness—in her own blood.


1st half? horrifying yet interesting.
2nd half? f*cking love triangles.

Suffice it to say that the horror part of The Madman’s Daughter is intriguing enough to have me looped in Juliet’s crazy life. It was pretty intense at the start, with Juliet’s desperation and hopelessness, to her unexpected visit to the island, to see if her father is indeed alive. But when the love triangle emerged, the book was a chore to finish.

His father’s genius was viewed as madness, but I reveled in his insanity. Who’s to say he’s really crazy? He might be deluded, true, but he was fluidly intellectual with his work at the island. And how bloody it was! How… mad. I liked that. =)

Juliet did not know who to believe, who to trust in her father’s island. Montgomery? Edward? Her father? Can she believe him when he says that he was only protecting her since the day he left her to fend on her own, the way only a good father will do? I tell you, Juliet is going bonkers herself out there. 😀

The twist was somehow predictable, but still bewitching when I saw it unfold.

The Madman’s Daughter can still be good, I think. So less on the dramatic love triangle, please. It takes the sweet out of the horror, and I want my horror to be … sugary. In blood. Wee!



Ebook, 432 pages

Published January 29th 2013 by Balzer + Bray

3/5 stars

Book Review: The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna


Young Adult > Science Fiction

Eva’s life is not her own. She is a creation, an abomination—an echo. She was made by the Weavers as a copy of someone else, expected to replace a girl named Amarra, her “other,” if she ever died. Eva spends every day studying that girl from far away, learning what Amarra does, what she eats, what it’s like to kiss her boyfriend, Ray. So when Amarra is killed in a car crash, Eva should be ready.

But sixteen years of studying never prepared her for this.

Now she must abandon everything and everyone she’s ever known—the guardians who raised her, the boy she’s forbidden to love—to move to India and convince the world that Amarra is still alive.

What Eva finds is a grief-stricken family; parents unsure how to handle this echo they thought they wanted; and Ray, who knew every detail, every contour of Amarra. And when Eva is unexpectedly dealt a fatal blow that will change her existence forever, she is forced to choose: Stay and live out her years as a copy or leave and risk it all for the freedom to be an original. To be Eva.


Ray, you motherf*cker. *shakes fist*

What did you think of that ending? Abrupt? Less than what the Eva deserves? Sigh. That woeful ending broke my heart a bunch of times. This is one of those rare moments that I really, really wanted a sequel. *sniffs*

Early on, I noticed that Sangu Mandanna writes with emotional fervour. It was just so beautiful, reading about Eva’s dreams, hesitations, conflicts, and convictions. This was a good hurt, I should say. That no matter how haunting or how bleak Eva’s story was, it is worth a reread.

It occurred to Eva that while the few people around her deeply cares for her, people outside who are opposed of echoes will find her an abomination. And that pained her. She did not choose to be Amarra. She was made from her likeness. But she also thought, am I killing Amarra (and her family) just by existing?

The Lost Girl was never about the science behind the Echoes (although the Weaver’s history was fascinating). This story is about a girl who longs for a life outside an isolated home, a life that will speak freely of who she is (and not Amarra), a life with Sean. =( How can my heart be breaking still as I wrote this?

I curse you, Sangu Mandanna for being so talented with words.

And Sean. I ache for this boy. (Gah, that ending, Pffft.)


THE LOST GIRL by Sangu Mandanna

Ebook, 432 pages

Published August 28th 2012 by Balzer + Bray

4/5 stars

Book Review: Sapphique by Catherine Fisher


Young Adult > Fantasy | Dystopia

(Incarceron #2)

Finn has escaped Incarceron only to find that he must defend his right to the throne from another challenger. His life and Claudia’s hang on Finn convincing the Court that he is the lost prince, even though he has his own doubts about being the true heir.

Book 1: Incarceron review


This is really, really inventive.

You cannot box Incarceron series into one sub-genre alone, for it encompasses dystopian, fantasy, and science fiction. The connections are seamless, as Catherine Fisher weaves this rich story, so intricate that you will be smiling at the ingenuity of it all. Dare I say I understood Sapphique the way I did for Incarceron? In some ways, yes. Because while prequel sets the stage to an astonishing story, Sapphique drew the curtains with a flourish that only fantasy lovers will appreciate.

The complexity of the characters is a strength. Finn is defiant, Claudia is stubborn, Jared is brooding, Keiro is immovable, and Attia is determined. The web of their relationships is askewed at best, but when I think about it, it is best that way. For everyone has a claim, everyone has a motive. Who will triumph in the end? Or could Incarceron herself outplay them all?

It will always be Incarceron who is the star of this series. No matter how deceitful, ruthless, or vindictive she may be, I can identify something in her that is human. Well… why not? a bunch of scientists created her. Incarceron was animated with human antics, and that’s the most enjoyable in this series. =)

The richness in fantasy of Sapphique was mesmerizing. I might favor Incarceron more, but this sequel more than sums up the core of Finn’s story. It was executed astoundingly.


SAPPHIQUE by Catherine Fisher

Hardcover, 462 pages

Published December 28th 2012 by Dial

4/5 stars

Book Review: Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers


Young Adult > Fantasy | Historical fiction

(His Fair Assassin #2)

When Sybella arrived at the doorstep of St Mortain half mad with grief and despair the convent were only too happy to offer her refuge – but at a price. The sisters of this convent serve Death, and with Sybella naturally skilled in both the arts of death and seduction, she could become one of their most dangerous weapons.

But her assassin’s skills are little comfort when the convent returns her to the life that nearly drove her mad. Her father’s rage and brutality are terrifying, and her brother’s love is equally monstrous. But when Sybella discovers an unexpected ally she discovers that a daughter of Death may find something other than vengeance to live for…

Book 1: Grave Mercy review


A triumph indeed. 🙂 R.L. LaFevers? I am now a fan.

This was an emotional read for me. Dark past and even darker memories of Sybella are too raw to comprehend in just one sitting. I remember being emotionally spent after reading Dark Triumph. You just don’t get that kind of heavy story everyday in YA! And Sybella and Beast’s story is so, so good, it left me in a melancholy mood for awhile. A contradictory effect, is it not? I know. I really liked Dark Triumph, but the feels stirred in me was not good for my health. Haha!

(I’m going mad like Sybella. Please, don’t mind me.)

In Grave Mercy, I thought Ismae had it worst. But Sybella takes the cake. Family is important, right? Very important especially in protecting their own. Sybella’s? Man, what crackpots they are. Unbelievable, even. But Sybella used the hurt to become a better person, a worthy assassin. It took her a long time to see past the ugliness of what she calls her life. And with Beast? wow, it was truly beautiful to love despite the torment of her past.

R.L. LaFevers‘s writing was intense and moving. I cannot count how many times I want to get depressed with Sybella, or exact vengeance with her. The experience left me tired, but I think it’s a good one. A hopeful ending for someone as scarred as Sybella.

Dark Triumph is a sequel you don’t want to miss. If I was the one who wrote this, and you ask me what do I think of it? I would say that the book was very, very personal.


DARK TRIUMPH by Robin LaFevers

Ebook, 400 pages

Published April 2nd 2013 by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children

4/5 stars