Friday, May 13, 2016

Book Review: A Cold Legacy (Madman's Daughter 3) by Megan Shepherd (JENNA DID A REVIEW!)

  A Cold Legacy (The Madman's Daughter, #3)
Title: A Cold Legacy
Author: Megan Shepherd
Genre: Young Adult, Gothic/Steampunk twist on a couple of classics
Page Count: 388
Source: The library
Rating: is like a 3.75 a thing. Maybe a 3.97. Round it up to a 4? But that's not right. I'll come back to that. Alright, I'm back to that. I feel that 3.95 is the most accurate number I can come up with. No, maybe that's too high. I still can't decide. You guys can round it up or down, I don't care anymore, I'm tired. 

Synopsis: After killing the men who tried to steal her father’s research, Juliet—along with Montgomery, Lucy, Balthazar, and a deathly ill Edward—has escaped to a remote estate on the Scottish moors. Owned by the enigmatic Elizabeth von Stein, the mansion is full of mysteries and unexplained oddities: dead bodies in the basement, secret passages, and fortune-tellers who seem to know Juliet’s secrets. Though it appears to be a safe haven, Juliet fears new dangers may be present within the manor’s own walls.

Then Juliet uncovers the truth about the manor’s long history of scientific experimentation—and her own intended role in it—forcing her to determine where the line falls between right and wrong, life and death, magic and science, and promises and secrets. And she must decide if she’ll follow her father’s dark footsteps or her mother’s tragic ones, or whether she’ll make her own.

With inspiration from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this breathless conclusion to the Madman’s Daughter trilogy is about the things we’ll sacrifice to save those we love—even our own humanity.


... Now that all that has been properly ignored, I shall skip promptly to the reviewing part.

In case you don't know: this is the third book in a trilogy, and yes, I will be spoiling things from the first two books. 

Hello world! Guess who made a post? It's Jenna! For those of you just joining us, I joined Cody for an interview post many months ago with the intention of joining his blog and then I promptly managed to disappear into the abyss of "Not Reading Anything for a Really Long Time". But now I've read a thing and I had some thoughts on it and here I am.

Alright, so if you know me (you probably don't but here's some free information on me to help you feel like you do), you know that I don't really read a whole lot of YA. I used to read it all the time, but truth be told, reading too much of it made me really picky about it as I became increasing desperate for new material that was original.

But this was a trilogy I had to read. When I heard that each of the three books would be based on three classic Gothic novels- The Strange Island of Dr. Moreau, by HG Wells, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson, and Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley-  I was super excited. I love all of those books, even if you may think they aren't that interesting to read because they are classical, they are certainly a very good source of inspiration and the concepts behind each novel fascinate me in their morbid-ness. 

Now on to the actual review of the actual book. Obviously, I liked the first two books pretty well, otherwise I would not be here reviewing the third one. The writing was pretty good but my major issues with that aspect was some repetitiveness and the fact that is easy to skip entire paragraphs and not notice somehow. 

On the repetitive factor: I'm mostly referring to the main character Juliet's fear of becoming like her father. I understand that it's a major fear of hers, I understand it haunts her all the time, but there are ways to refer back to that fear and let the readers connect the dots back to how she was feeling without explicitly stating it all the time. This also might be why the paragraphs were so easily skip-able as well.

Now my top priority in reading is characters. I have a whole spiel about why but I'm not going to give it now. But characters, my friends. Characters are the priority. They are what I live for. The plot can be the worst thing ever conceived, but if the characters are brilliant or just plain lovable, I will follow them through anything. And in this case, the plot wasn't the worst thing in the world. This was a battle of characters.

The problem was, I didn't really like Juliet. I mean, I liked her a little more in this book than the others, but not by much. My problem with disliking the main character of a book is the fact that now you have to suffer through all their decisions from then on. Some people like that. Some people find that interesting. I do not.

For one, it affects the way they interact with other characters. I'm not gonna list another reason because that's the one I'm focused on. Because unlike my opinion of Juliet and love interest Montgomery James, I really liked Edward Prince, and Lucy Radcliffe. 

What really turned me against Juliet and Montgomery for the first two books was the lack of compassion that they showed in particular to Edward. I get it, they were being cautious, the Beast is dangerous, etc. But it got kinda old. There were many fewer sentimental scenes to help show the characters' lovable side. Heck, I almost outright hated Montgomery until this last book. Good job, last book, you saved him!

But I adored Edward and Lucy, Lucy in particular shining in this book. I've always loved heart-bleed characters, but I think that Shepherd did a wonderful job of making the character more complex, since a character in his situation is bound to have a lot complex feelings and relationships. And, of course, it was easy to care about him, which is good, because in my experience, Caring About Edward Prince was about 90% of my life while reading.

And Lucy. I disregarded her for the first two books. But in this book, I was glad to see her shine. Shout out to Lucy for making up for the general lack of compassion. She developed far beyond Generic Best Friend and became The Hero No One But Jenna Knew They Needed and I adore her for it. Her role in this book was A+ and I appreciate finally having someone I can actually connect to, since Juliet and Montgomery were so isolating and hard to relate to for us bleeding hearts. 

Ultimately, my desire to know what happened to Edward and eventually drove me through all of these books more than any other motivation.

But one thing that disappointed me greatly... the romance between Edward and Lucy. It could have been beautiful, but as it is, I cannot support it. It felt rushed, almost last-minute, like it was only there to cause Edward and Edward Fans some extra "Emotions". But because it was so choppy and rushed, I couldn't really get into it, and those Emotions were lost in the Disappointment Abyss.

Side note, Elizabeth, Hensley, and particularly Jack Serra also deserve some shout outs... particularly Jack Serra. (But Jenna, you said Jack Serra twice! True, little readers. I like Jack Serra.)

And on that note, I'll end with the ending, or as I like to call it, The Other Thing I Didn't Like. It was, for one thing, rather inconclusive, and for another... Well, Edward's ending was so.. vague. I understand why he'd want to seek out someone else like him, but... that's it? We're just supposed to accept that our baby of three books is now just gonna wander off after something that was that was only kinda mentioned a couple of times before? It's just sad. And as much as I believe certain things that happened in the book were necessary and well timed, the extra Edward Pain was not necessary. The poor guy had enough. It wasn't even interesting anymore. Let him rest. Let Edward Rest 2k16, my new campaign slogan. 

TLDR: unbalanced/uninteresting characters and completely unsatisfactory ending kept this otherwise enjoyable book/trilogy from getting much higher than a 4, but much more interesting side characters and a very fantastic twist on some of my favorite classics cause a not-very-impressed-with-YA- reader to be pretty dang impressed. 

Jenna out *mic drop*

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