Book Review: A Cold Legacy
By: Megan Shepherd
Published By: Balzer & Bray
Publication Date: January 27, 2015
Page Count: 400
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via Edelweiss
Audience: Young Adult - Historical Fiction, Classics Inspired
I have been anxiously awaiting this one since finishing book #2 last December. The year long wait for this one was excruciating. Her Dark Curiosity ends leaving Juliet, Montgomery, and company in dire straits. The companions are desperate to escape to the Scottish highlands to seeks refuge at Elizabeth's estate. Juliet is wanted for murder and hiding on the estate is the only possibility to keeping her safe from a jail cell.
The previous novels in this series took inspiration from classics such as The Island of Dr. Moreau and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I knew this one was going to have a Frankenstein influence which appealed to me. This was the perfect culmination of the dark scientific desires that flooded Juliet's mind. Juliet learns from Elizabeth that Frankenstein's research was real and that there is a way to defeat death. Juliet and Lucy are desperate to save Edward from the Beast's clutches once and for all. Could the dark science of Frankenstein hold the answer?
I loved that the tension is present from the first chapter and it doesn't let up until the resolution. The fast pace of this one led up to a thrilling crescendo of a conclusion. Shepherd kept me guessing and reading at a frantic pace. There were revelations in this one I never could have predicted. Shepherd weaves together the essence of the original tale while still giving her own special gothic touch to it. This was the ending that Juliet and Montgomery deserved. It was darkly beautiful with romance and blood smears along the edges.
In addition, I adore these characters. The darkness that has been growing inside of Juliet since the first novel continues to plague her. She has to decide if she will follow her dark inclinations or choose a path that is more about preserving life. Throughout the story, Juliet has to face this choice. It was not clear to me if she would choose dark or light. I think this reflects humanity well. As Dumbledore commented in the Harry Potter series, we all live with a combination of darkness and light inside of our souls. It's how we respond to those elements that forms who we are. Juliet wouldn't be the character I love without the darkness throbbing in her veins. Aside from Juliet, I also love Montgomery, Balthazar, Lucy, and Edward. Elizabeth was also intriguing as she is a symbol of progress in a time when women were not supposed to experience equal treatment. Elizabeth fights against the gender roles of her time to practice medicine and science. I love finding female characters who fight against gender oppression. Lastly, the introduction of a new character, Hensley, adds another creepy layer. He will haunt my nightmares for some time to come.
Another thing I loved about this one was the theme of technology not always being positive. As Juliet delves more into dark science that has the power to change humanity and the view of life and death, it made me realize that not every thing that can be done should be done. This theme has played itself out throughout history and fiction many times, but it doesn't hurt to have a reminder. There is often two sides to every issue and technology in the wrong hands can often do more harm than good.
This has become one of my favorite series; I fully intend to reread it. I might even make this one a yearly holiday tradition. I highly recommend this series to those who enjoy historical fiction and classics.
One Last Gripe: I was frustrated with Juliet and Montgomery for all of their secrets.
Favorite Thing About This Book: The characters
First Sentence: The last traveler's inn on the road from Inverness was no place to die.
Favorite Character: Juliet
Least Favorite Character: Lucy's Father
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.