Why The Daughter of Dr. Moreau only half worked

Spoiler warning: While I’m not going to directly spoil the ending of The Daughter of Dr. Moreau, I’m going to say some things that will make certain parts of the ending fairly clear. You’ve been warned. 

I feel dirty even writing this post. Because I’ve read other books by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and I loved them. You can check out my review of Mexican Gothic here, Velvet Was The Night here, or God of Jade and Shadow here. They were great books! 

The Daughter of Dr. Moreau was, at best, okay. 

Let’s discuss.

The book did have a lot to love. Moreno-Garcia has a knack for writing endings that aren’t the anticipated happy ending but are so much more satisfying than that ending would have been. And for sure, this ending fit that bill. 

I fell in love with our main character, Carlota, right away. Just like I always fall in love with the main characters. I devoured the lush description of the jungle, just like I always love the descriptions in Moreno-Garcia’s work. These are the reasons I kept reading. 

My problem with this book is simple. It tried to be two things and didn’t manage either.

The book is supposed to be a sci-fi thriller and a romance. All of Moreno-Garcia’s books have that romantic element. I don’t adore that, not being a huge romance fan, but it fits in so well normally that it’s hard to argue with it.

But the romance genre has certain expectations. One huge expectation is that the love interest is going to end up with the main character. That didn’t happen. Worse, there was a gross age difference between Carlota and the man in love with her. 

This wouldn’t have bothered me that much, since it’s unrequited love if so damn much of the book hadn’t been devoted to Carlota wanting to fall in love!

She does fall for and has a full-on relationship with another man named Eduardo Lizalde. A lot of the book centers around what a bad match this is, how everyone knows it’s a bad match, and how Carlota’s father wants this match to work because Eduardo is rich. How much this is all hurting Langdon, our other MC.

At this point, I’d like to remind you that they are surrounded by hybrid monsters. I do not give a damn if Langdon is drinking himself sick because he doesn’t want Carlota to be hurt by some callous rich boy. At least, I don’t care half so much as I do about the hybrids meeting up with the rebel leaders to overthrow the elite of the area and bring freedom to the land.

That’s the book I want to read! 

But the hybrids and their plight seem like little more than a backdrop. I know we were introduced to more hybrids, but we only really get to know one of them, Lupe. 

This wasn’t enough to make me lose interest in this author. The other books are strong enough to tell me this was a temporary issue. But The Daughter of Dr. Moreau isn’t one I’ll be re-reading anytime soon. 

To sum it up, here’s what you can learn from The Daughter of Dr. Moreau.

-Don’t go halfway in a story. 

-Understand your genre expectations, and either meet or subvert them. 

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