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A Cold Legacy Review

Published April 27, 2015 by Ashley Townsend


A few words to describe this story: poignant, maddening, beautiful, heartbreaking, marvelous, gripping, haunting, heartwarming, and just plain old fashioned AWESOME.

I finished the final installment in The Madman’s Daughter trilogy a little while ago and am just now getting my review together, but believe me, my excitement and heartbreak over this book are still perfectly fresh.

For starters, this series is amazing! If you look through my Goodreads reviews, The Madman’s Daughter and Her Dark Curiosity all get extremely high marks. Shepherd’s stories and characters are incredibly inventive, fascinating, and delightfully twisted—and by that I mean complex, although there certainly are some moments where Juliet and a few of the other characters appear a little warped. However, Shepherd draws in a highly redeeming factor in the story, which was just beautifully done, I might add. Now I realize that life before this story was meaningless and that it woke me from book-slumber. *snoring* “Oh, look, a new book!”

Not that Tumblr needed another SebStan blog...

The story begins exactly where Curiosity left off, with Juliet, Montgomery, Lucy, and Edward—I love you!—escaping from the repercussions of events that occurred in the previous book that you’ll just have to discover for yourself (insert evil cackle and lightning strike). Though this story is a slower, unfolding ride, the author has an amazing knack for packing each sentence with meaning and making your hair stand on-end as you read over haunting images; it’s a bit like an old-fashioned suspense novel in the sense that readers are constantly wondering what lurks around the corner as they flip madly to the next page. I love how Shepherd worked legends and other classic monster characters into her series: the first book revolves around the history of Dr. Moreau, Jack the Ripper was the center of Her Dark Curiosity, and the monster in Frankenstein (one of my favorite darker stories in classic literature) is what this installment revolves around. And these elements could not have been handled by a better author!

Now, for my actual reactions while reading A Cold Legacy, though I’ll try to keep it as spoiler-free as possible:

When it arrived in the mail on a delightfully dreary day, all beautiful and smelling of fresh ink—a book druggie’s greatest weakness—I was ready to bunker down and enjoy myself.

Basically right out of the gate, I got so excited that Edward was going to come out of his monster-induced coma and be just awesome and endearing and wonderful and heartbreaking once again…. But, no, the Monster is still trying to take control of his body, so he basically spends half the story in chains. My baby!

my emotions

And then there’s the matter of Hensley, the creepy, emotional child who basically lives in the walls of the manor, carrying secrets and squeezing his pet rats to death. Like, frequently, because he has super human strength and terrifies the entire staff. Nothing unusual about that.


Oh! Also, one of my favorite “SURPRISE!” moments was when one of the island dwellers–you heard correctly, from book ONE–makes an appearance in this story. Waaaaa???


That moment when we discover that Edward is awake, he’s fine! We’re all going to be okay. And then…


We find out that the Beast has taken over Edward’s body completely and that they’re going to have to kill him to finish the Monster off for good this time. “Just give me a blanky and chocolate and leave me alone!”


I won’t say how, but (chuckles nervously) sweet, adorable little Hensley has a big part in helping to terminate the Beast (a.k.a.: Edward is dead, too). Thanks a lot, idiot! You ruined everything!

thank a lot

And then I remember that this is a book about regeneration, like in Frankenstein, and that they CAN BRING HIM BACK!!!



But then we discover that stupid Lucy has been trying to mimic Frankestein’s science, though she is completely unqualified and stupid and annoying and crazy. . . Did I mention stupid?



Sorry, but I was particularly annoyed by her. I was also a little disappointed in Juliet that she would once again attempt to be like her father and create life herself, but I felt that I really understood her more; she was saving a friend this time, and loved seeing her actually struggle, because it made her more relatable. Plus, with Lucy (blegh) practically forcing her to do the operation so that the dumb-dumb doesn’t botch the procedure and ruin Edward’s body, Juliet basically had to do it. So throw the bloody switch!



So (spoiler! but you should have expected it, given the Frankenstein theme) Edward comes back to life, albeit a little changed yet completely devoid of the Monster. Yippee! But he totally broke my heart in the way that he didn’t wish to come back as a different kind of monster. And selfish Lucy’s just like:

sorry not sorry

But just before all this happens, something wonderful occurs between Juliet and Montgomery, your next stable, incredibly level-headed and amazing fictional heartthrob who’s like Tarzan and lived on an island with Dr. Moreau for many years. After going between Edward and Montgomery for what seems like ages, Juliet FINALLY commits.



Yeah, it’s that good.

Anyway, the gang this whole time was being tracked down by Lucy’s father, who is after Juliet’s knowledge of regeneration and wants them all dead. And, of course, Lucy does the absolute dumbest thing imaginable. So stupid, in fact, that I need several gifs to express my annoyance with her.

idiotsod onesee what you've done well done

So, anyway, Lucy does the-thing-that-shall-not-be-named (for spoiler’s sake), and gets the gang into a serious heap of trouble. It’s a really awesome, intense stand-off/fight club where the circus troupe they befriend and the manor staff team-up against Lucy’s father and his cronies.

During this rather fantastic scuffle, someone sacrifices themselves to save one of my favorite characters, but I was so ready for someone to actually die, and I also didn’t care much for the character at this point, so I was basically like, “Pass the popcorn!”

when she dies yay

So the story comes to a close, and I’m getting my heartbroken tears ready–you know, the ones I shed at the end of Book I and also the middle/end of Book II–when one of my favorite heart-wrenching characters decides to walk away from it all. And then Shepherd hits you while you’re down and gives Juliet the most beautiful discovery where she realizes that she has a choice in who she becomes and that she doesn’t have to follow in her demented father’s footsteps, something she’s feared since the beginning.

at the end when Edwrad goes off

*sniffs* Yes, this book is definitely worth the read. Shepherd is an incredibly vivid, emotional, and just all around hauntingly poetic writer. If you enjoy suspenseful, beautifully crafted literature that contains elements of classic gothic stories (Jane Eyre, etc.), then this book is definitely for you. But you CANNOT read these out of order; go and get yourself the previous two books. You won’t be sorry!


Published February 20, 2013 by Ashley Townsend

My sister Katie and I, spurred on by the inspiration of our better half—or third—Elizabeth, decided to create a list of our all-time favorite fiction couples in books. We promised not to cheat and look at each other’s’ lists until after we both posted, but I have a feeling that our fictional taste will be fairly similar. After you read this, be sure to check out Katie’s blog www.booksandwonderfulthings.wordpress.com to see if we see eye-to-eye, or not, when it comes to books. Though I have a feeling that she’ll have Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester on there, whereas I went with Robin Hood and Maid Marian. We don’t always agree, which will probably be a good thing when fictional men start entering the world. I’m still waiting on that, though…..

Michael Hosea and Angel/Sarah from Francine Rivers’ “Redeeming Love.”

As most of you know, this is why of my favorite novels of all time, and the fact that it holds one of my favorite romance stories doesn’t hurt. Firstly, I love the contrast between the two characters: Michael gives the relationship his all and is very open with his heart, whereas Angel has been hardened by life and always seems to pull back, even after she realizes she has feelings for him. The story is amazing and heart-warming, and the slowly developed romance between the characters is absolutely beautiful.

Wanda and Ian from “The Host” by Stephenie Meyer.

Ah. Their romance is just so delightful and pure. I went into the book wanting to hate it and ended up loving it, mostly because of these two. I liked their budding romance so much because after the selfish and obsessive romance from Twilight, it was really refreshing and endearing to have two characters that started out as friends and moved into something more. And they actually TALK about things and don’t just stare into each other’s souls.

Robin Hood and Maid Marian from anything and everything Robin Hood related.

Loved them in the books, loved the modern remakes, the BBC shows, the re-envisioned novels, and especially the Disney cartoon version. Who doesn’t love foxes?! I especially loved these characters in A.C. Gaughen’s “Scarlet.” The author really played with the idea while also staying true to the original story and characters, and I really enjoyed what she did with it. Scarlet is a little standoffish at the start of the novel, but as a reader you get a better feel for her towards the end and get endeared to her. And Robin was amazing, as always. ^__^

Marcus Valerian and Hadassah from “A Voice in the Wind” and “An Echo in the Darkness.” Yes, Francine Rivers again. While not always as sweet as some of the afore mentioned romances, the progression of it is delightful and slow. And for some reason, even when Marcus is being a Roman bad boy, you still love him! I think it has to do with the fact that you can see his attraction to Hadassah and the way that it turns into a sort of friendship for him, even though he sometimes has a difficult time with it.

Jane Bennett and Mr. Bingly. I don’t think I really have to mention that they’re from “Pride and Prejudice,” but just in case you’ve been living under a rock or don’t understand the beauty of literature—or watching the remakes—they’re two of my favorite characters in Austen’s novel. It’s very subtle and, yes, not quite as tortured or up-and-down romance as Darcy and Lizzy, but I love the subtle story behind their love. I like the fact that it’s sometimes more implied for them than all out there, because sometimes I like to take some creative license in my mind and write a little more back story for them. And both characters are just so sweet and endearing!

Jack and Nikki from “Everbound.” This was also one of my favorite new finds of the year, although I’m not so sure about “Everneath.” Anyway, it took me a little while to warm up to Jack, but once I did, I really loved him. Nikki is great throughout the book and is very unselfish, which is unusual for any YA female character. The fact that they had a back story, even before they rekindle their romance, was also very intriguing and added to my affection for the characters.

Kyle and Mackenzie from “Hemlock” by Kathleen Peacock.

There really wasn’t anything that I didn’t like about this book. Kyle was not only an amazing friend to Mac, but he was also a great and unselfish character. I enjoyed their relationship and banter, and they really leaned on each other. And, of course, readers always love a tenuous romance between a tough girl and a boy with Lupine Syndrome who’s being tracked by a secret agency that hunts down and kills werewolves. Yeah, just your average day in Hemlock.

Smith and Tessa from Kristen Heitzmann’s “The Edge of Recall.” My favorite novel of hers and by far my favorite two characters. Smith was clever and endearing, and while Tessa was somewhat damaged and overreacted, I really liked and understood her. I don’t know what else to say except READ THE BOOK!!!

Scott and Jennie McGrady. I used to read Patricia Rushford’s Jennie McGrady series as a kid, which is what got me started on my mystery novel kick. Scott wasn’t so impressive in Book II, but you love, LOVE him as the series progresses. He was a little snarky, but that’s kind of what I liked the most about him—that and the fact that he really was a fantastic guy and honestly loves Jennie. And I’ve always loved her as a main character. She stayed consistently smart, endearing, and realistic for 15 books, which is the mark of a great character.

Murphy and Elissa from Body and Brock Theone’s series. I loved them instantly in “Vienna Prelude” and continued on with the series only for a hopeful glimpse of them. John Murphy (*sigh*) is just plain wonderful, and while I didn’t always love or agree with Elissa, I did love them together. For some reason, I love stories where two characters are madly in love and are forced together by circumstances, but neither is willing to admit it. Ah, fictional romance is sweet, is it not? 

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