I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Of Monsters and Madness by Jessica Verday
Genres: Gothic, Historical, YA
Published by EgmontUSA on September 9th, 2014
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A romantic, historical retelling of classic Gothic horror featuring Edgar Allan Poe and his character Annabel Lee, from a New York Times best-selling author.
Annabel Lee is summoned from Siam to live with her father in 1820's Philadelphia shortly after her mother's death, but an unconventional upbringing makes her repugnant to her angry, secretive father.
Annabel becomes infatuated with her father's assistant Allan, who dabbles in writing when he's not helping with medical advancements. But in darker hours, when she's not to be roaming the house, she encounters the devilish assistant Edgar, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Allan, and who others insist doesn't exist.
A rash of murders across Philadelphia, coupled with her father's strange behavior, leads Annabel to satisfy her curiosity and uncover a terrible truth: Edgar and Allan are two halves of the same person - and they are about to make the crimes detailed in Allan's stories come to life. Unless Annabel stops them.
Of Monsters and Madness is my first novel by Jessica Verday and I think I am keen on trying some of her others. This one was different, but an interesting different.
Annabel Lee moves from Siam to Philadelphia to stay with her father after her mothers death. She grew up in Siam and is not use to how the world works in Philadelphia especially the rich.
It seems that her father is not all the keen on her being there but her grandfather is happy to see her and makes her feel welcome. While she is there some horrible murders are being committed in town and there are some strange things going on at night in the house. Her father is a doctor and scientist and has a laboratory downstairs that is very strange. He also seem to have two assistants that are ‘cousins’ one is Allen Poe who is very well mannered and nice and Edgar Poe who is cold and unfeeling.
Annabel makes the discover that Allen and Edgar are two halves of the same person. Allen is a writer and before his alter ego came out he had problems writing but now with the help of Edgar he is bringing his stories to life, literally. What does Allen/Edgar have to do with her father and will Annabel survive living in Philadelphia?
When I first started reading this book I was a bit confused on what Annabel Lee had to do with this very strange story. I had read the poem and reread it trying to figure it out. Then I just figured that the author just took the female character of one of Edgar Allen Poe’s stories and sort of made her come to life in her own way.
I thought the story started off a little slow and it really wasn’t until I was about half way through that I started to get interested in what might happen next. The author takes an idea from another classic author and gives Edgar Allen Poe a split personality. Allen is sweet on Annabel Lee and spouts off lovely poetry around her, but Edgar is dark and cold and is the part of Poe that comes up with those dark twisted stories.
The story in itself is a bit dark and twisted but maybe not as much as I hoped it would be.
Annabel is sort of a timid character because of her upbringing in Siam, she is always doing something to make her father mad. She was brought up in a poor environment and now she is being fitted for dresses, so it would be a lot to take in for a timid girl. Annabel proves herself to be strong and brave near the end. She was an enjoyable character.
Allen and Edgar were your good natured half and your bad seed half and well, I kind of liked the twisted Edgar half because he is what made the story interesting.
I also enjoyed Maddy who was Annabel’s maid and Annabel’s grandfather.
I think the only thing I really didn’t care for was how slow I thought the first half was and my confusion about thinking it sounded more like Jekyll and Hyde retelling than a Poe story.
Other than that I really did enjoy it and I think if you are fans of the gothic type novels then you will probably enjoy this one.