ARC review: The Daughter of Doctor Moreau

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau

⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 out of 5 stars

Carlota Moreau is a young woman growing up in an exotic location of Yaxaktun property in the Yucatan peninsula. She divides her days between books, lazy walks and helping her bellowed father. Her peaceful and pleasurable life is disrupted by the unexpected arrival of the son of her father’s benefactor, the handsome Eduardo Lizalde. Enchanted by Carlota’s beauty, he stays at Yaxaktun and unwillingly discovers its secrets. The true nature of the place was hidden from the outsiders, as Carlota’s father is no one else, but the mysterious Doctor Moreau, known from The Island of Dr Moreau by H. G. Wells, and Yaxaktun is where he conducted his experiments…

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau is an exciting position. The plot could probably be called a schematic historical romance if it wasn’t for the characters and the elements taken from Wells. The novel is a fascinating retelling of a science fiction classic. Instead of an isolated island, we have a secluded property surrounded by the jungle. Instead of a shipwrecked man, the narration is written from the point of view of the Doctor’s daughter Carlota and the English overseer Montgomery Laughton. Both are well written, complex and realistic, and their personalities affect their narration. Carlota is young, hopeful and slightly naive, while Montgomery is not exactly old but experienced, tired and sarcastic. Having the events presented through two entirely different voices was very engaging.

I found it very hard to classify this novel. It is a mesmerizing mixture of gothic, romance, science fiction and historical fiction. Set against the historical background of the Maya rebellion, the story diverts into a dream-like world of Moreau’s hybrids and his despotic rule over them. The realistic events blend with those more fantastical seamlessly, creating a truly original narrative. What I also liked about this book is that the romantic theme does not take over the book completely. It is a crucial part of the plot but only one of the many ideas pushing the action forward.

In conclusion, I enjoyed this book. It reads more like slower, thought-provoking literature than fast-paced fiction, but I believe the world created by the author might enchant many readers.

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