Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publishing Date: January 28, 2014
Genre: young adult, gothic, science fiction
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.
With inspiration from Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, this is a tantalizing mystery about the hidden natures of those we love and how far we’ll go to save them from themselves.
Juliet is back in wintery London, desperate to search for a cure that will rid the animal part of herself. But as Christmas fills the air, so too does the electrical spark of fear and scandal when a murderer begins his rampage throughout Whitechapel. Juliet notices a pattern: every victim victimized her, and every victim’s heart was clawed out similarly to Edward’s Beast on her father’s island. She begins her search for the murderer, for the cause and justification of the King’s Club’s involvement in her father’s dangerous experiments, and for a way to become fully human mind and soul.
I thoroughly enjoyed this Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde inspired novel far more than Shepherd’s first — and part of it may have to do with the setting and the novella. I was not familiar with Wells, nor am I a jungle-setting fan; I’m very familiar with Stevenson, and deeply love Victorian London. Once again, Shepherd dives into Juliet’s internal conflict of animal within human, human within animal. But this is on a more meaningful scale. Juliet must come to terms with not what’s instinctual and animalistic, but what’s moral and humane.
Shepherd added another twist to this novel that was fun to read — ulterior motives of great and powerful men in London. Her father’s work was no secret, and they’re determined to replicate it. This is more than a Jekyll and Hyde scenario, but a book filled with political intrigue, global effects, and greater consequences. I liked that this layer was added. It drove the book into a new, fresh direction.
It should be no surprise that Edward and Montgomery are back, of course. Edward is blatantly the two-sides-of-the-same-coin character, but every character within this novel encounters similar confrontations. Although not a fan of love triangles — they can be quite exhausting, and for me it is very clear that Juliet should be with Montgomery and Edward out of the picture entirely — Juliet thankfully comes to her own conclusion in this novel, with promises of conflict to come in the next book.
Thank you, Edelweiss, for providing this book from Balzer + Bray for review!