Hello everyone! I hope you all are safe and happy, and that you are spending this August with some amazing books! Today I am finally here with a review, and since I am way behind with those… let’s get going!
Thanks to NetGalley and to the Editor. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
Title: The Daughter Of Doctor Moreau
Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Publication Date: July 19th, 20222
Carlota Moreau: a young woman, growing up in a distant and luxuriant estate, safe from the conflict and strife of the Yucatán peninsula. The only daughter of either a genius, or a madman.
Montgomery Laughton: a melancholic overseer with a tragic past and a propensity for alcohol. An outcast who assists Dr. Moreau with his scientific experiments, which are financed by the Lizaldes, owners of magnificent haciendas and plentiful coffers.
The hybrids: the fruits of the Doctor’s labor, destined to blindly obey their creator and remain in the shadows. A motley group of part human, part animal monstrosities.
All of them living in a perfectly balanced and static world, which is jolted by the abrupt arrival of Eduardo Lizalde, the charming and careless son of Doctor Moreau’s patron, who will unwittingly begin a dangerous chain reaction.
For Moreau keeps secrets, Carlota has questions, and in the sweltering heat of the jungle, passions may ignite.
THE DAUGHTER OF DOCTOR MOREAU is both a dazzling historical novel and a daring science fiction journey.
This was my first Moreno-Garcia’s book. I have seen a lot of her books around, and I was tempted to read some of them, even if as a whole her books are not exactly my cup of tea, they sound like something that I can enjoy all the same. So I was pretty excited to read this one, because not only it would have been my first try at her works, but I was also quite curious to see how this retelling was. I haven’t read the original book, but I know the story, and I have read at least one retelling of it so… yeah, I was curious. And I am also quite happy to have read this book as a whole!
The best feature of the book was, to me, the setting. It is lush and vivid, and you really feel there, alongside our characters in the jungle and in the old mansion. The author did an amazing job with her description, and we get to really see the world of Carlota and Montgomery, to be there with them, surrounded by nature that is almost uncontaminated.
And the story is deeply routed in the place and in the time it takes place. It is not only about nature and the places, but the author did an interesting job of interweaving the lives of the characters with the historical events that took place in that period in Yucatan and Mexico. We are at the end of 1800, I think it is around 1880 but I can’t remember correctly at the moment (but the timeframe is that, given or taken), and we get to learn something about the tensions and the problems that the inhabitants of this area were experimenting. And I have to admit my complete ignorance. I didn’t know a thing about the events portrayed in the book, and it is nice to learn something new while you are enjoying yourself with a pleasant novel.
Sure, it is not really in-depth as it could have been, and I think that it could have been a bit more developed in this part but, all things considered, this is a well-balanced novel, and we get to learn something new while visiting an amazing place.
Then we have the characters, and they usually are the most important thing in a book, because I am a highly characters-driven kind of reader, and here… things start to get not so amazing anymore. Mind me, I enjoyed this book, and I would recommend it if you want to read something with a captivating setting, or if you are in search of an interesting retelling because both of these things are true, but I didn’t really care so much for the characters.
Carlota is an interesting MC, she is a young woman and we really see her grow and mature, her development arc was really well done, and I appreciated it a lot. We get to see her as a pampered little girl (pampered but not entitled or mean in any way, she is really good at heart, and she is well-mannered and educated. She is kind and smart, too, and she is quite loyal to her friends) who slowly become a brave and determined young woman. She grows in her potential, and it is done so slowly and well balanced, that it is almost like seeing a flower blossom: you see the plant growing slowly, day by day, and then one day you go and check, and here the flower is. And here it is almost the same. Even if I didn’t really feel for Carlota, even if I would have hoped to be more captivated by her, to be moved by her, I admit that she is an interesting character, and that the author does an amazing job with her.
Then we have Montgomery, and I think he was my favorite character, but not by much. He is the second voice in the story, we get a chapter by Carlota’s POV, and one by his POV, and I liked his chapter a tad more, but I wasn’t totally in with him, either. All things said, he was an interesting character, and his POV is a nice counterpoint to Carlota’s voice. And aside from the magical and luscious setting, I think that his relationship with Carlota is my favorite thing in the book.
Their friendship is a slow thing, that developed over years, and that has some depths in it. And it took also some unexpected directions and twists, so I have to say that this was masterfully developed.
These two are the MC, but we get to know some of the hybrids that the doctor creates, and two of them are Carlota’s best friends, and I really loved to see their interaction. Sure, maybe I would have loved to see a bit more of the hybrids around, and I am talking about the others, the ones that are not living inside the mansion with the Doctor and his family. But they are here all the same, they are part of the story, and they all are enjoyable characters. The one I liked less was Lupe, but this was more due to her being a strong-headed teen than some real faults.
And we can’t forget the Doctor. He is something for sure. He is maybe the most complex, in some ways, and the most cliches of them all. But I am not saying it in a bad way, it is as good as the others, but he is, in some ways, also the most predictable in his decisions and in what moves him. And yet he adds something to the story all the same.
And the story is interesting. It is even-paced and we get some different things going on: we have a coming of age story, but we have also some ethical points in there, and also some history is thrown in there. And we get the people because this is a story that is first and foremost about people.
And that’s all! What about you? Have you read this book? Or others by this author?? Let me know!