My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Historical
Juliet is the 16-year-old daughter of the very famous, very scandalous Dr. Moreau who fled the country after his controversial experiments became known to the public. Juliet’s mother dies soon after, leaving Juliet (for all intents and purposes) an orphan. Juliet is ashamed of her family’s dark secrets and keeps her past quiet while she establishes a life for herself as a maid. She is beautiful and early on, meets up with one of her childhood friends, Montgomery. At their very first meeting, Juliet can barely contain her physical attraction for Montgomery. Even though she’s angry with him and doesn’t trust him, she wants to touch his hand and her heart skips a beat when he is near. (Cue an early eye roll from me.)
Montgomery informs her that her father is in fact alive and still performing his (ghoulish) experiments on an island. Juliet decides to go. And there’s bloody stuff. And a love triangle. And more bloody stuff.
Here’s the thing… I loved the idea of this book: depravity in the name of science, the macabre atmosphere, and the feisty teenage girl who must deal with the aftermath of her father’s insane choices. It’s even a retelling of The Island of Dr. Moreau and I love retellings.
I also love gothic, creepy stuff. Ghosts tapping on windows, creatures who come to life, insanity. I love all that stuff. (There’s no ghosts in this book, to be clear. But ghosts are gothic.)
So I had high hopes for this book. I really did.
But here’s the truth: Between the boring, shallow characters and the torture of animals, this book was not for me.
Besides being boy-crazy, I found Juliet to be rude in a way that I couldn’t forgive. She sees a man with a facial deformation and when told his name, she remarks, “That beast has a name?” (34) …Charming.
Like I said, there is plenty of cruel torture of animals, too… in the “name of science.” And as a tender-hearted lover of all things furry (except spiders–some spiders are furry and I’m fine with squishing them), I couldn’t handle it.
I’ll be the first to admit that the great portion of my dislike for this book could be a matter of personal preference. Some people might not mind it and be able to see through the torture and rude main character into the story beyond.
But I couldn’t.