A lavish historical drama 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. — Goodreads
This was a fun read, and honestly I have yet to read anything I didn’t like by this author. She’s an amazing story-teller! I loved the way things developed throughout, and the descriptions of the hybrids.
At times I found Carlota a little irritating, but it was often during Montgomery’s chapters. She was a neat character, and given her age I can see why she would come across as childish in the chapters from Montgomery’s perspective. From her chapters though, you get a more complex character who is both trying to come into her own as an adult, but who desperately wants to live up to her fathers expectations. Carlota is not perfect, and she grapples throughout the novel with her feelings for Eduardo, her love for her father, and her friendships with Lupe and Cachito that as they’ve grown are now becoming more and more fragile. I love that she isn’t perfect, because it reflects on her anxieties of being the doctors perfect daughter, and it makes the events in the story that much more powerful.
Montgomery was one of my favourite characters because through his eyes you really take notice of the oddities of the doctors experiments. Montgomery is an outsider, being hired to come work there, so through his perspective the others that dwell at the peninsula are revealed. Some feared at first, but as time goes by a bond is formed between them. There were times when I didn’t quite know how I felt about this character, but he grows on you. He too is flawed in many ways, but no one in this story is perfect, and they all struggle with their own battles. Montgomery buries so much inside himself, and often comes across as a bit gruff, but it is clear when you read his chapters that this gruffness is merely a front to protect himself, just as the alcohol is his escape.
My other favourite character is Cachito. Absolutely the best. I adored this character from their initial introduction. His friendship with Montgomery is so sweet, and the loyalty he has to his fellow hybrids is heartwarming. That’s all I’ll say about him because I don’t want to spoil too much.
Silvia Moreno-Garcia does an excellent job of bringing the reader into this world, building a setting at Yucatán that is so clear and vivid, you almost feel as though you’re there in certain passages.
I think I would recommend this novel to those who enjoyed reading books like House of the Scorpion or The Daughter of Black Lake. Especially those who like historical fiction, with a fantastical twist. It isn’t a horror novel, although it is listed as one on Goodreads. The author has stated as such several times since the novels release, so I thought I would add that in my review. This is a historical fiction/fantasy novel.