The Daughter of Doctor Moreau

A remote community of outcasts, human and otherwise, is upended by the arrival of a young nobleman in The Daughter of Doctor Moreau, the lush, anti-imperialist reimagining of The Island of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Velvet Was the Night; Mexican Gothic).

Montgomery Laughton comes to Yaxaktun, Doctor Moreau's isolated estate in Mexico's Yucatán peninsula, to take a job as its mayordomo and as the latest step in his aimless journey to escape his past. He discovers that, apart from the doctor, Yaxaktun is populated by his devoted daughter, Carlota, and the hybrids, combinations of humans and animals created by Moreau's experiments. His patron, Hernando Lizalde, hopes that Moreau will produce hybrids for labor on his ranch to replace the locals he finds too rebellious. For six years the experiments continue, Laughton works for Moreau and Carlota matures. Then Lizalde becomes impatient with Moreau's progress and his son Eduardo encounters Carlota, setting off a chain of events that will change everything.

Moreno-Garcia's tale unfolds slowly, with little in the way of action until after the jump in time. But the setting of the stage at the wild, beautiful estate and the careful parceling out of the central characters' secrets is essential to establishing the gothic tone at the heart of the novel and showing readers how Carlota could easily become either her father's successor or his downfall. Fans of classic science fiction adventure, gothic suspense and fairy-tale reinterpretations, such as Naomi Novik's Uprooted, will find much to admire here. --Kristen Allen-Vogel, information services librarian at Dayton Metro Library

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