Leah’s ARC Review of “The Daughter of Doctor Moreau” by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

By: Leah

Originally posted on Leah’s Books.

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau

  • Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  • Genre: Sci-Fi
  • Publication Date: July 19, 2022
  • Publisher: Del Rey

Thank you to NetGalley and Del Rey for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

CONTENT WARNING: mention of abuse, alcoholism, mention of suicide, violence, bigotry, blood, death, gun violence, body horror

Plot Summary

From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic and Velvet Was the Night comes a dreamy reimagining of The Island of Doctor Moreau set against the backdrop of nineteenth-century Mexico.

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.

Overall Impression

I’ve read three other SMG books and loved them, but for some reason, this one just didn’t hit the same for me. She brings the same beautiful writing style and historical flair, but I struggled to connect with the story the same way as I did with Mexican Gothic, Gods of Jade and Shadow, and Velvet Was the Night. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that the story was based (loosely) off The Island of Doctor Moreau, a story I haven’t read and had little interest in, until I saw that SMG had provided a take on it? 

I enjoyed the MCs and the side characters. We get to experience the story through the perspectives of both Carlota, the eponymous daughter of Doctor Moreau, and Montgomery Laughton, the majordomo of the estate, who from what I could gather kind of took care of everything that needed to be done.We get insight into what they’re thinking and experiencing, as well as seeing the relationships that they build with the people around them. And this includes the hybrids, who are treated as family in most cases.

The pacing felt off in this story. For the first half of the book, it moved exceptionally slowly. But after reaching the mid-point of the story, the pace sped up significantly and things started happening one after another. Even so, the story was well-crafted and kept me intrigued. I was invested in the characters, and wanted to know what was going to happen next.

The one area where the story fell short for me was Carlota’s romance. I understand that things worked differently in the 19th century, but I felt like it was rushed to have her fall in love after knowing someone for several days.That aspect of the story didn’t feel as realistic to me, and was difficult to get behind. 

However, I do have to admit that SGM is the absolute master of body horror, and gothic stories. It’s a fabulous sci-fi/historical fiction crossover with racial, social, and political commentary, and I can honestly say that no one handles this as well as she does, making this one of her strengths, and this is what keeps drawing me back to her books. That, and the amazing characters and stories that she weaves together.

2 thoughts on “Leah’s ARC Review of “The Daughter of Doctor Moreau” by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Add yours

  1. Great review! I’ve read a YA book that does a take on Doctor Moreau, but I hadn’t heard of that story before that one. I usually can’t take body horror, though…

    Liked by 1 person

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