ARC Review: A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd

A Cold Legacy***SPOILER ALERT*** IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE FIRST TWO BOOKS, THERE ARE MAJOR SPOILERS CONTAINED IN THIS REVIEW. DON’T SAY I DIDN’T WARN YOU!!

I got a copy of this e-ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Here’s your synopsis from Amazon:

With inspiration from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this breathless conclusion to the Madman’s Daughter trilogy—perfect for fans of Libba Bray—explores the things we’ll sacrifice to save those we love . . . even our own humanity.

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

1. Here we go. I really hope you’ve read the first two, and if you haven’t, go read them now and come back to this review when you’ve finished, okay?

I absolutely love this series, for many many reasons. The first book – if you haven’t read it – is based on The Island of Dr. Moreau – while weaved into this fantastic tale of Juliet Moreau. The second book is based on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and both of these books are amazing. This final book in the trilogy is no different. This one is based on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and I couldn’t have been more happy. Have you ever read a series and been so disappointed in the last book that you end up just loathing the entire series? It’s happened to me too much. However, not here. This kept me enthralled through all 400 of its pages. Now that we’re past this lengthy introduction, I’m going to get into the meat of it.

2. The themes of fate and one’s own wickedness and morality are still highly at play here – which is one of the reasons I adore Juliet as our heroine.

So, Juliet Moreau constantly struggles with the memory of her father. Her father’s blood runs in her veins, but so does his intelligence live in her brain. She struggles throughout the trilogy because she doesn’t want to end up like her father. However, his ghost and the ghost of his work follows her always. Will she decide her own path, or will she end up a madwoman as her father was a madman? Will she be able to overcome her ghosts and fears in order to become her own person? I can’t tell you that; the book will tell you all of these things. This is one of the many reasons why I love Juliet. She is so flawed and so haunted that she is so realistic. Don’t we all struggle with our own demons? She definitely does, and she does it in a corset.

3. I hate love triangles. There is a love triangle through the series, but it is shattered in this third book.

So, when we left Juliet and Montgomery, they were engaged, riding in a carriage with a chained up Edward (who has just swallowed an insane amount of arsenic in order to get rid of the Beast), and a distraught Lucy – who we’re pretty sure is in love with Edward. Enter the discovery of Elizabeth’s “von Stein” roots being those of Victor Frankenstein and owning a manor in the north of Scotland, and you’ve got yourself one crazy story. So we know Juliet totally banged Edward out of loneliness, longing, and need. But, we also know that she LOVES Montgomery (and honestly, who doesn’t?) and she would do anything for him. At the end of the second book we’re kind of left wondering what will happen between Juliet, Edward, Montgomery, and Lucy. But here in the third book, there are clearly lines drawn. Of course, we have to see the reappearance of the Beast, but Edward is still Edward and Lucy continuously takes care of him while he is chained and ill. I fear I may give away some spoilers, so just know, Edward and Lucy are totally together and Montgomery and Juliet are totally together. No more love triangle. Boom.

4. So there’s this super creepy kid named Hensley…

Hensley is the weirdest, creepiest character in this entire series in my humble opinion. I really can’t say more than that, even though I really, really want to! I get freaked out about creepy kids in movies and books. I hate zombie children, vampire children, or any mix of those undead things and children. Even kid ghosts. *shudder* All I’ll tell you is that he has one milky white eye and he creeps through hidden passages in the walls. That already sounds creepy, even as I’m just typing it. Just know, Hensley is a creep.

5. All secrets are revealed and we even see some faces from the past.

I HATE SECRETS IN REAL LIFE AND I HATE THEM EVEN MORE IN BOOKS. Everything is tied up so well. However, I will warn you, there is no epilogue. I was hoping and praying to the book gods for a epilogue because I desperately want to live in Juliet’s world and I want to be her best friend. Anyway, I digress. There is no epilogue, but it actually ends up being okay because we find out everything. Everything the Beast alludes to, everything Montgomery alludes to, and everything that happens in the past is tied up so beautifully. I loved how this ended. When I finished, I was in tears, but I won’t tell you whether my tears were happy tears or sad tears. You’ll have to have your own tears to figure it out.

6. The research done for this book is absolutely extensive and I have to pay mad respect to Megan Shepherd.

So, not only does Shepherd write this amazing book, but she OBVIOUSLY had to do a ton of research in order to write this and the preceding two. She had to research source material (I wonder how many times she read the source work, because it is blatantly present, which is impressive) but she had to do research on scientific experiments, surgery, and human anatomy. The science stuff is so over my head – it always has been, there’s a reason I’m an English teacher and not a science teacher – so I really can’t tell you whether or not it’s 100% accurate, but it sounded good to me! There is a particular scene with an inflamed gland and a bone saw that had my stomach churning, but I couldn’t stop reading. It was both realistic and tense, and it was AMAZING. Way to go Shepherd, you may have taught me some science.

OVERALL: FIVE STARS!!! I feel like I’ve been giving out a lot of five star reviews lately, but I’ve just been on one of those kicks where I’ve just been reading a ton of amazing books. So please don’t see this as I’m a bad reviewer. I’ll try to find a bad book soon, I promise. Anyway, you will not be disappointed in A Cold Legacy, especially if you adored the first two books as much as I did. As a teacher, I’m adapting The Madman’s Daughter into a unit to (hopefully) teach my high school students next year. The research done in these books is amazing, and I need my kids to experience this awesomeness. This book comes out on January 27, 2015. Click the link to pre-order. Believe me, you’ll want to start this on release day.

Click here to pre-order!

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