By Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Publication Date: July 19, 2022
Carlota Moreau has never known her mother. She was raised by her father, the brilliant Dr. Moreau amongst the hybrids – her father’s half animal/half human creations. To Carlota, they are simply friends and family. To her father, they are his attempt at creating something wondrous, at removing human frailty and imperfections.
Montgomery Laughton is Dr. Moreau’s overseer. He cares for the hybrids and acts as the intermediary between the doctor and his patron. After several years in his role, he feels he’s finally found a place of peace. However, his painful past has taught him that peace is fleeting.
Dr. Moreau’s patron grows weary of waiting for hybrids who are strong enough to work his plantation and threatens to pull his funding. When Edouarde Lizarde, the young, spoiled son of Dr. Moreau’s patron pays an unexpected visit and falls for Carlota, Dr. Moreau sees a way out of his financial straits. But Montgomery knows that no good will come from Carlota marrying Edouarde and their blossoming romance threatens to expose Dr. Moreau’s secrets and destroy Carlota’s paradise.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. I never read The Island of Doctor Moreau so I didn’t go into it with any preconceived expectations, nor can I comment how close it is to the original story. Honestly, I’m not concerned if it followed the original story well or not since this novel stands strongly on its own. The unfolding of the hybrids and the life that Carlota lives is so skillfully presented, I was actually taken by surprise that Carlota’s playmates were hybrids.
The story is told in alternating viewpoints between Carlota and Montgomery. Despite his painful past and penchant for trying to drown his regrets in alcohol, Montgomery is a sympathetic character with a strong moral compass. Carlota’s arc flows naturally from a young girl who idolizes her father, to a young woman craving independence and realizing her idol is flawed. And the setting – an isolated area on the Yucatan Peninsula – it’s practically a character in its own right. Lush and evocative, full of secrets and passion that I knew would boil over.
The only thing that kept my rating down a little bit was that in several chapters early in the book, events overlapped between the two points of view. Repeating the same thing wasn’t necessary and drained the tension so I found myself skimming to get to something new. Fortunately, it didn’t happen often.
The last word – an extremely well-crafted novel that I recommend to anyone who wants to immerse themselves in another world.
I rated this novel 4.25 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐+
Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine for providing the ARC copy. I have left my review honestly and voluntarily.
Until next time, thank you for visiting.
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