The imagination of Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a thing of wonder, restless and romantic, fearless in the face of genre, embracing the polarities of storytelling — the sleek and the bizarre, wild passions and deep hatreds — with cool equanimity ... the novel immerses readers in the rich world of 19th-century Mexico, exploring colonialism and resistance in a compulsively readable story of a woman’s coming-of-age ... The visceral horror of what Carlota has endured, combined with Moreno-Garcia’s pacing and drama, makes for a mesmerizing horror novel.
... enthralling ... makes a number of ingenious adaptations to Wells' tale ... Moreno-Garcia imagines that this island is actually the Yucatan peninsula, allowing the book to use a real historical conflict, The Yucatan Caste War, as a backdrop. This puts the political ramifications of the hybrids' otherness into even sharper relief ... f you're a they-don't-make-'em-like-they-used-to type of reader who longs for the romance and high drama of big 19th-century novels, The Daughter of Doctor Moreau is a flawless replica. But like the best historical fiction, this novel also speaks to the heart of what contemporary readers turn to literature for, as it draws out the colonial and racial implications of Moreau's 'research,' enlarging Wells' own moral message. Ultimately, it's a good thing Moreno-Garcia is so prolific: It's likely we won't have to wait too long to see where she'll take us next.
Over the 300-ish pages that comprise The Daughter of Doctor Moreau, Silvia Moreno Garcia breaks your heart just to help you put it back together again. An emotional novel dense with both mystery and the unsettling sense that something is slightly off, Garcia instantly captivates you through vivid imagery and characters that tug at your heartstrings from the book’s first few scenes ... The novel is initially set in 1871 and spans six years, placing the characters at the forefront of the uprising and using it as a decisive plot point that makes Moreno Garcia’s historical fiction even more mesmerizing ... While Moreno Garcia borrows some elements from H.G. Wells’s original novel, she gives us the gift of Carlotta Moreau, the Doctor’s intelligent and alluring daughter who assists him with his experiments. A stunning character in her own right, Carlotta is faced throughout the book with existential and moral questions that make her ponder her faith, the way people frequently 'play god' with others, and what exactly family means ... Moreno Garcia’s ability to write characters in a way that makes you instantly adore them despite their flaws ... While the swift action, layers of deceit, bloodshed, and fantastical creatures she concocts are intriguing, what makes The Daughter of Doctor Moreau so enchanting is the fact that it has heart. Of course, the science-fiction elements add a layer of surrealism to the novel that makes it almost impossible to put down, but the raw emotion that Moreno Garcia bestows upon her characters is what truly grabs you ... By no means a light novel, The Daughter of Doctor Moreau commands your attention at every turn and asks heavy questions about some of the beliefs we hold most dear. With sentimental character arcs and a haunting feel that will have you mulling over the novel for days, Moreno Garcia delivers one of the most evocative books of the summer, if not the year.
This isn’t simply a sequel or updating; instead, Moreno-Garcia has drawn elements from the original novel and created something wholly original, powerful and thrilling on every level ... a sublime reading experience, threaded through with philosophy, romance, history and thrills enough to keep the pages turning. The issues of colonialism and the subjugation of Indigenous peoples (in addition to using technological means to remove the human factor from economic exploitation) are pressing concerns, in the book and in contemporary culture ... Moreno-Garcia demonstrates an impressive scale of imagination and a keen, empathic focus on the nature of humanity, even of the hybrid humans, who don’t meet the standard definition. The core characters, including several of the hybrids, are well-drawn; even Lizalde, who could have been a boilerplate villain, has a richness to his depiction ... Despite its roots in a recognizable classic — though one likely better known as a cultural touchstone than as a book — The Daughter of Doctor Moreau is a powerfully original work, sui generis, from one of our most compelling and daring writers.
... touches on themes found in Wells’ book such as the morality surrounding science and religion, but it also touches on topics that Wells ignored, such as colonialism, racism, and how women struggled (and still struggle, frankly) to claim their own power and their own inherent worth in a world that treats them as less than human ... This isn’t happy stuff, but it’s Carlota’s love of Yaxaktun and the hybrids, as well as the others around her, that keep the story afloat. You find hope through Carlota’s strength, and you can’t help but be swept up in her journey as she struggles with the changing world around her and the inevitable pain that comes from realizing that some love comes with strictures on how she must act and, fundamentally, the role in life she is expected to play ... Through all of these characters, however, Moreno-Garcia weaves a story about how life is often hard and full of unwanted surprises, and how finding your own inner strength to face these challenges is as important as accepting help from those who love you, just as you are ... It’s a story you can get lost in, and it’s a tale whose bittersweetness will pull on your heart just enough for it to ache but will also leave you with hope that the characters are moving on to something better, no matter how hard getting there may be.
... this wholly new novel paints a vivid picture that is as alluring as it is unsettling, filled with action, romance, and monsters. However, it is Moreno-Garcia’s ability to mesh the unease of the scientifically created beasts with the real-life terrors of a life on the margins and the horror of colonialism that elevates this story. Readers will fall into this tale immediately, enchanted.
When the creatures and the Moreaus are threatened, Carlota extends her claws literally and figuratively. Her gradual awakening is hypnotic and a nod to Moreno-Garcia’s ability to write female characters whose self-discovery empowers them ... You may guess how this plot unfolds, but it still surprises ... This setting adds a powerful historical sensibility to a tale that reflects an era fraught with anti-feminism, misogyny, racism, and class and caste differences. As in the original, Daughter also features a thought-provoking consideration of the moral responsibilities of scientists as well as the controversies surrounding eugenics ... Despite its dark story of oppression and cruelty, Moreno-Garcia instills the novel with action sequences showcasing violent conflicts between humans and hybrids. And she injects the novel’s gory battles with cinematic energy equal to that seen in the Universal Studios’ monster movies and other genre classics ... What Moreno-Garcia really does, though, is explore who the real monsters are in the world. Those are definitely not the hybrids, despite 'the fur and fang and fury' that Moreno-Garcia unleashes as justice claws its way through the book’s final pages.
... a rousing and romantic anti-colonial novel ... This history adds nuance to the way the doctor's hybrids are treated by outsiders who are too ignorant, or rather afraid, to look beyond the 'curse made flesh' with 'razor-thin teeth' and cat-like features ... Carlota's love and empathy for the hybrids is the heart that keeps the story of The Daughter of Doctor Moreau beating ... Moreno-Garcia breathes new life into the classic story by mixing horror with historical fiction and feminist themes. The Mexican Canadian novelist keeps a steady pace, and her prose instantly draws you in and has you cheering on all of her flawed characters. It's the end when we reach the uprising between the Lizades and the hybrids that feels a bit rushed ... another page-turner from Moreno-Garcia, but having Carlota and Montgomery tell the story leaves the reader craving for more on the hybrid creatures.
... like all good reboots, Moreno-Garcia takes the key ingredients and reimagines them in a notably different manner but in keeping with the source material ... a depiction of faith that’s far more subtle and meaningful than Wells’s satirical approach ... I know I’ve spent the entirety of this review comparing The Daughter of Doctor Moreau to The Island of Doctor Moreau, leaving the impression that you need to have read that book to fully appreciate Moreno-Garcia’s fine novel. But that’s not the case. With its evocative prose, post-colonial historical setting that drives the plot, and the introduction of vibrant, fascinating characters, both familiar and new, The Daughter of Doctor Moreau very much stands on its own.
Silvia Moreno-Garcia proved her gift for haunting storytelling in Mexican Gothic and Velvet Was the Night, and she takes her talents to a whole new level in The Daughter of Doctor Moreau. Her writing transports readers right into the jungle and the eerie, isolated world of Carlota and her father. Though I have not read HG Wells’ The Island of Doctor Moreau, I have no doubt that Moreno-Garcia’s retelling is the perfect modern-day tribute with a feminist spin. Gothic in the best sense, with creative sci-fi twists and characters full of passion, The Daughter of Doctor Moreau is a gripping tale for readers of all kinds.
Moreno-Garcia’s ability to evoke sympathy and empathy in readers is much closer to Geek Love than to The Island of Doctor Moreau, which initially seemed to me like a peculiar choice for extrapolation into a Mexican gothic context. I soon realized that The Daughter of Doctor Moreau dismantles Wells’s inherent patriarchy and affect ... Sometimes authors lay it on too thick and become overly didactic; Moreno-Garcia finds a good balance between storytelling and social commentary ... Moreno-Garcia has written a case study about dominant and marginalized peoples (and nonpeoples) under the auspices of patriarchal power, aggression, and abuse ... In capable, at times beautiful prose, Moreno-Garcia makes a sound feminist critique that decodes the patriarchal protocols of its source material and 19th-century attitudes in general.
Romance, mystery, and monsters combine to give us a compelling look at the human heart ... hearing the tale from Carlota’s viewpoint – along with the new setting – gives us a riveting, unique read ... Ms. Moreno-Garcia’s lyrical prose does such credit to the storytelling behind the enigmas that it is almost better to go in completely unaware of what is happening ... The centerpiece of any good gothic is the setting and Yaxaktun with its chilling, atmospheric, desolate, and dangerous location is perfect. From the moment the tale begins, we are transported to an other-worldly, sinister locale where danger seems to lurk in the very air, and the author does a fantastic job of transfusing a lurking foreboding into every moment of her text. Even when nothing overtly strange is happening, there is this lingering, delicious sense of impending doom that seems to hover over the ranch and its inhabitants, waiting for its moment ... The second most important factor to any gothic is the heroine, and Carlota is a fantastic one ... superficially a gothic/sci-fi/horror/action-adventure retelling of a literary classic but below the surface is an absolutely fascinating look at the human heart and the history of colonialism. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good book that is as thought-provoking as it is entertaining.
This is historical science fiction at its best: a dreamy reimagining of a classic story with vivid descriptions of lush jungles and feminist themes. Some light romance threads through the heavier ethical questions concerning humanity. Readers of Isabel Cañas’s The Hacienda will be drawn in by the setting and themes; fans of other classic remixes, such as Megan Shepherd’s The Madman’s Daughter, will also enjoy.
While she takes some liberties with her reimagining of H.G. Wells’ classic, they all work to make the story a more compelling, addictive read. The Daughter of Doctor Moreau is the perfect kind of retelling because it doesn’t try to serve the same story dressed up differently; it’s a truly inventive reimagining of the original ... The story has the same sense of drama and emotion as Moreno-Garcia’s previous novels ... Compelling and frustrating in equal measure, Carlota and her self-discovery make for a brilliant, exciting and thought- provoking read that is sure to stay with you long after you turn the last page.
With her well-crafted gothic style, Moreno-Garcia draws readers into the lush setting and asks them to think carefully about the morality of experimentation, the damage wrought by colonization, and the unpredictable fancies of the heart. From the European racism toward the Maya people, to the horrific work of Dr. Moreau, and the ways in which women are vulnerable to misogyny and violence, the author infuses her romantic vision with deadly serious themes and topics. The result is an entertaining and thoughtful tale --- a page-turner that is both creepy and fanciful, and always smart.
Readers may find the plot 'twists,' perhaps, anything but surprising (especially if they’ve read Wells’s novel), but that doesn’t detract from enjoyability. The unique setting is refreshing and innovative while still managing to feel true to Wells’s original jungle island isolation, and pacing works well. Characterization offers more for the hybrids in Moreno-Garcia’s take; while they may exhibit fur and claws, they show far more humanity than some of the humans in this tale. Threads of religion and the cultural and caste/racial aspects of the time period/setting add complexity to the pure escapism. For fans of sci-fi, colonial Gothic, and reimagined classics, Moreno-Garcia’s novel offers an engaging read.
Moreno-Garcia’s novel starts a little slowly, but there’s a reason for that—the setup is crucial to the book’s action-packed second half, and the payoff is worth it ... she deftly combines fantasy, adventure, and even romance; the result is hard to classify but definitely a lot of fun. This isn’t the first book to riff on H.G. Wells’ The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896), but it’s definitely one of the better ones ... A fun literary remix
Moreno-Garcia’s worldbuilding chops are on display as she creates a distinct, vibrant backdrop to her audacious retelling. The prose, however, exhibits a cold remove that occasionally makes it difficult to remain invested in the action, and though the characters’ arcs reach satisfying conclusions, wonky pacing makes the work of reaching them a challenge. The third act rights the ship, however, with an ending that will linger long in readers’ minds. Fans of cerebral, atmospheric historical horror won’t want to miss this.