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.
I’ve been anxious to read this author and have had Mexican Gothic waiting on my Kindle for far too long. When I received an ARC of Moreno-Garcia’s newest release, I knew the wait was over.
The gorgeous cover perfectly complements the vibrant descriptions of Moreau’s secluded home, Yaxaktun, and the surrounding jungle. Because of this seclusion Carlota grows up very sheltered, and the villa hosts few visitors over the years. It’s a ideal place for Moreau to carry out his unorthodox scientific experiments – experiments Moreau’s patron, Lizalde, has threatened to stop financing due to lack of results for so long. Since Carlota is now of age, it seems logical to Moreau that the solution to his problems is for her to charm Lizalde’s visiting son into marrying her. Moreau’s utmost priority is his work. If you think he sounds selfish – bullseye.
This is a character-driven novel, and although I’m a fan of that style, I struggled to like any of these characters. Carlota is stubborn and determined, but also pretty spoiled. Montgomery at least has some redeeming moments, but both are kind to the hybrids. The character discussions of ethics, humanity, and abuse of power are interesting and will certainly have you mulling over some of the points made.
I liked the blend of sci-fi and history and the setting of 19th century Mexico, and the story provides some unsettling moments along with a few surprises. But don’t go into this anticipating a briskly paced adventure story. It’s more of a languid journey than a sprint. While it’s not exactly what I’d anticipated, I enjoyed this atmospheric tale.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.