Cover Image: The Daughter of Doctor Moreau

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau

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Member Reviews

Carlota Moreau lives in Yaxaktun with her father and hybrids, which are scientific combinations of humans and various animals. Montgomery Laughton joins them as a caregiver and Dr. Moreau's helper. Visitors arrive at Yaxaktun one day and threaten to upset the life of the locals. Carlota, Montgomery, and the hybrids will be forced to make difficult decisions that could lead to death.

The story starts out slow, but things start to get a little more intriguing about halfway through. The suspense begins to develop as the drama progresses. The twist was obvious from the start.  The romance passages were well written but I was disappointed that they did not amount to anything in the end. Part Three, in particular, was the strongest aspect of the story.  The story's best feature was witnessing Carlota change along with the vibrant descriptions of Mexico.

Overall, I felt the plot was a little lacking but Moreno-Garcia made up for it with lush prose, historical themes, and a great premise.

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From the very beginning I could tell there was something more than what was being shown. It had a mysterious air, and characters that were very suspicious as well.

I loved the setting, atmosphere and the lush descriptions all throughout, but the in the first half of the novel there were repetitions in the narrative of the two perspectives and this felt quite pointless to me. It did thankfully diminish as I went on. I appreciated the foreshadowing here, too. Blink and you’ll miss it.

The big twist in the book was something I predicted but the reason for the twist was - for me - insane. Though I think it wasn’t something completely new. I found it harder to put the book down as the tension rose. This was a novel that moved quickly, I made it far into the book faster than I expected. It wrapped up quite well but I don’t know, I was expecting something more, or different. I guess my rating was brought down by its predictability more than anything. My rating is between a 3 and 4, I need to sit on this more. Nevertheless, The Daughter of Doctor Moreau has Silvia Moreno-Garcia's signature prose and world building.

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I am not even sure how to write a review that will do justice to this outstanding book.

I have been a fan of Silvia Moreno-Garcia since Mexican Gothic, and this book has only deepened my love for her writing style.

She emotes so much in writing. Is that possible? I recently read a book where the dual narrators each sounded like they had a stiff upper lip. The technical in writing was there, but the heart? Not so much.

This is not a problem with Moreno-Garcia’s writing— she writes with the brain, the heart, and the soul. She makes the narrating protagonists come to life. She makes them feel real, even when surrounded by the fantastical.

Even if that means creating characters one may not always like.

For I did not always like Carlota and Montgomery.

Carlota was at times vain, ignorant, and naive. She frustrated me greatly, but I loved her no less for it. Because she was also kind, caring, loving, and oh so brave.
Montgomery was at times stubborn, spiteful, cowardly, and cold. He too frustrated me, and yes, I loved him still. Because he was also wise, good, and held onto far more emotions than he was willing to admit.

And so, I appreciate all their traits, it makes them come alive off the page. They are flawed individuals who will make mistakes, and it’s up to them how to respond to those mistakes. How to learn from them, or at least to confront them.

I wanted Carlota to learn to love sincerely (flaws and all) without infatuation; and for Montgomery to learn to let go of his self-loathing to accept love, in whatever form it may ultimately be.

Their voices come to life with vulnerability and hardness, flaw and virtue, with love and pain.

In terms of plot, it was intricately written, it is obvious great care was poured in the narrative. The twist is mind-shattering shocking yet makes perfect sense all at the same time.

Perhaps the only very slight hiccup for me personally was the beginning of the novel— its pace felt uneven compared to the rest of the book, a slow walk that took just a bit too long to gain its steady exhilarating pace we see for the majority of the book. It also took me a while to full come into understanding of the hybrid plot. But again, that’s just a small hiccup at the beginning, the plot found its right pace and every facet of it became well developed. I was 100% immersed.

I cannot stress enough how excellent this story was— and how much I hope everyone reads it once it’s released. I plan to purchase a physical copy when it does.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Del Rey for providing me an arc in exchange for an honest review.

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Silvia Moreno-Garcia knew what she was doing with “Mexican Gothic”, and “the Daughter of Doctor Moreau” is equally as dark, suspenseful, and full of culture!

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I have never read anything else by this author, but I will now for sure! A retelling of The Island of Dr. Moreau, but with a very distinctive time and place, this retelling nevertheless retains its sense of being a Victorian novel, a quality I loved! I will be recommending this book to anyone with an interest in historical, fantasy, and just good fiction!

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"The Island of Doctor Moreau" has an interesting concept, but like most Victorian sci-fi novels it lacks the execution that will appeal to modern readers. This makes it perfect ground for a retelling and I was so excited to see Silvia Moreno-Garcia tackle it. Things that make “The Daughter of Doctor Moreau” appealing to readers is that it is character focused, it has a distinct historical and geographical setting, and it moves quickly. Even though Moreno-Garcia is known for her horror novel "Mexican Gothic"--and I remember "The Island of Doctor Moreau" being pretty disturbing--this novel did not emphasize the grotesque and I think it would be a good entry into Moreno-Garcia’s novels.

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THIS COVER!!! Stunning. And you know the saying don't judge a book by its cover? Well in this case you can because the inside is just as lovely. It is provocative, intriguing, twisted, and impactful. Carlota is a character I will always remember and watching her growth was inspiring. Silvia Moreno-Garcia can do no wrong. I absolutely recommend this book! I will be recommending it on my Instagram @botoxandbooks and will post the review a week before the release date.

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“An interesting family we are, Dr. Moreau’s twisted mistakes.”

Carlota Moreau lives with her father in Yaxaktun, along with 29 hybrids, experimental crosses between humans and different animals. Montgomery Laughton joins them as caretaker and assistant to Dr. Moreau. One day, visitors arrive at Yaxaktun and threaten to disrupt the lives of its inhabitants. Carlota, Montgomery, and the hybrids will have to make difficult choices with potentially deadly outcomes.

The first portion of the novel was a bit bland. It had a moment of intensity, depicting a scene that was shockingly gross, but that didn’t make up for the rest of the drawn out storyline. Many of the scenes were repeated from both Carlota’s and Montgomery’s perspectives without any new groundbreaking revelations. The result was a frustrating and boring first 100 pages. After viewing the absolutely beautiful cover, I expected the story to be just as lush, but the writing fell short for me. The descriptions of the characters, their surroundings, and their movements in the space were written with a very matter-of-fact tone.

About halfway through, things start to get a little more interesting. The drama starts to build and you can feel the tension in the air. I predicted the twist from the very beginning, but I enjoyed seeing how it played out. The romantic scenes were a little too gooey for me but likely reflected the language of the times. I personally could have done without them. For me, the book really redeemed itself in Part Three. I could picture the events in the final 50 pages as scenes in a Western movie. I couldn’t stand Carlota’s meekness for most of the book, but she ended up winning me over in the end. Seeing her transformation was the highlight of the story.

Don’t skip the Afterword, where Moreno-Garcia explains some of the history of the region, which provides context to the story. 3.5 stars.

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There's a lot to love about The Daughter of Doctor Moreau, beginning with the signature style that is boldly rendered in this story, and complete with lyrical links back to the original story. A book that builds well upon the classics.

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Moreno-Garcia has such a gift for making monsters have humanity that is believable. There points of contention intermixed with science, gender, and political strife.I

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I was extremely excited to see how Silvia Moreno-Garcia would approach this well known classic. She did a fantastic job!! She included enough details that anyone who isn't familiar with the original work can still enjoy this book. Absolutely loved the setting and characters.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the digital ARC. All opinions expressed are completely my own.

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Moreno-Garcia has such a gift for making humans out of monsters and vice versa. The way she weaves in questions of science with questions of gender, identity, and race through the political unrest in 1800s Mexico is so impressive and her tenacious heroines never disappoint.

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Truly a genre-bending mastermind, SMG does it once again! The Daughter of Doctor Moreau is an evocative and lush story that immediately envelops you. Her writing instantly transports me back to a wilder Mexico, ensconced and lovingly embraced by the jungle, heat, and sun against foreign forces and conquistadors looking to cash in on its riches.

<b>“Women were butterflies to be pinned against a board.” </b>

Within this story there are many layers that echo the similar theme of subjugation. There’s the colonizer layer that is ever present, we’re reminded that Dr. Moreau is French, he is funded by rich Spaniards trying to break Mexico into lining its pockets, and the undercurrent of tensions between them and the rebels and native indigenous people is rampant. It demonstrates a country in flux, on a precipice in history as forces collide.

But there’s also Carlota’s layer, her quiet but growing chafing against her confines, no matter how gilded they are. We see her naïveté transform slowly as she begins to question her world, her father’s true motivations, and how to use the social constructs of the times to her advantage. We see how she comes into her own power and strength to upend the world of men, which was fascinating and satisfying.

I will say, having known the source material for this, I was prepared for more difficult passages on animal experiments. While there is one scene relatively early on that was a bit unsettling, by and large the hybrids are simply characters unto themselves with unique personalities, which I appreciated. While the health and pain of the hybrids is by no means brushed away, it’s not overtly or salaciously described so for fellow animal lovers like me - fear not, you can get through this!

While the main ‘twist’ or reveal felt like a long time coming by the time its revealed, it certainly landed with an impact and was very well executed. I will say the second half did have pockets of pacing issues, but in hindsight I think it did need those moments to provide space for the story. This isn’t about action back to back, but about small and some big moments that define the characters and their paths ahead. Giving this a few days in my head after finishing definitely makes me appreciate this much more. I will say though, Carlota’s stupid naïveté at the end was at odds with how quickly she was scheming and learning while courting Eduardo

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