Book Reviews: Our Missing Hearts, Angelika Frankenstein Makes Her Match & The Daughter of Doctor Moreau

Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng

Goodreads blurb:Twelve-year-old Bird Gardner lives a quiet existence with his loving but broken father, a former linguist who now shelves books in a university library. Bird knows to not ask too many questions, stand out too much, or stray too far. For a decade, their lives have been governed by laws written to preserve “American culture” in the wake of years of economic instability and violence. To keep the peace and restore prosperity, the authorities are now allowed to relocate children of dissidents, especially those of Asian origin, and libraries have been forced to remove books seen as unpatriotic—including the work of Bird’s mother, Margaret, a Chinese American poet who left the family when he was nine years old. Bird has grown up disavowing his mother and her poems; he doesn’t know her work or what happened to her, and he knows he shouldn’t wonder. But when he receives a mysterious letter containing only a cryptic drawing, he is pulled into a quest to find her. His journey will take him back to the many folktales she poured into his head as a child, through the ranks of an underground network of librarians, into the lives of the children who have been taken, and finally to New York City, where a new act of defiance may be the beginning of much-needed change. Our Missing Hearts is an old story made new, of the ways supposedly civilized communities can ignore the most searing injustice. It’s a story about the power—and limitations—of art to create change, the lessons and legacies we pass on to our children, and how any of us can survive a broken world with our hearts intact. 

My take: 4.75 out of 5. This book was not what i expected. Really I don’t know what I expected but having gone in kind of blind to it, a dystopian family story was not what i expected. I thought i wasn’t going to like it. But I was very much mistaken. It started a bit slow but by the end i was pretty in awe of what Celest Ng had accomplished and was so moved. Moved in subtle but profound ways and with a lot of thoughts as to how to process it. I think this accomplishes so much better what school of good mothers tried to (and which I couldn’t finish)

Angelika Frankenstein Makes Her Match by Sally Thorne

Goodreads blurb: For generations, every Frankenstein has found their true love and equal, unlocking lifetimes of blissful wedded adventure. Clever, pretty (and odd) Angelika Frankenstein has run out of suitors and fears she may become the exception to this family rule. When assisting in her brother Victor’s ground-breaking experiment to bring a reassembled man back to life, she realizes that having an agreeable gentleman convalescing in the guest suite might be a chance to let a man get to know the real her. For the first time, Angelika embarks upon a project that is all her own. When her handsome scientific miracle sits up on the lab table, her hopes for an instant romantic connection are thrown into disarray. Her resurrected beau (named Will for the moment) has total amnesia and is solely focused on uncovering his true identity. Trying to ignore their heart-pounding chemistry, Angelika reluctantly joins the investigation into his past, hoping it will bring them closer. But when a second suitor emerges to aid their quest, Angelika wonders if she was too hasty inventing a solution. Perhaps fate is not something that can be influenced in a laboratory? Or is Will (or whatever his name is!) her dream man, tailored for her in every way? And can he survive what was done to him in the name of science, and love? Filled with carriages, candlesticks, and corpses, Angelika Frankenstein Makes Her Match is the spooky-season reimagining of the well-known classic that reminds us to never judge a man by his cadaver!

My take: 2.5 out of 5. I really wanted to like this book as I am a big Sally Thorne fan and love when authors do creative things and divert from their norm. It was all a bit weird and disturbing. It actually was not the storyline that was weird, that was strange in a cool way. No I felt that everything else was off and rubbing me the wrong way. First if its a period piece I expect some semblance of acknowledgement of the times, but this just felt like a modern take in a period time and caused some jarring anachronisms. Also the treatment of Angelika and her seuxalization was a tad strange. Also the love story felt to strained and weird and disturbing. A lot of the comments just rubbed me the wrong way and I kept being appalled for various reasons throughout (and since I did the audibook, i couldnt highlight my disturbance to share later with you) I was hate reading until the end, to figure out how it ended, and I cant even recall how it ends now, a few days off from reading it. Save yourself the trouble. If you want to read a weird book – read the below, Daughter of Doctor Moreau. If you want a Sally Thorne book read Hating game 😉

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno Garcia

Goodreads blurb: Carlota Moreau: a young woman, growing up in a distant and luxuriant estate, safe from the conflict and strife of the Yucatán peninsula. The only daughter of either a genius, or a madman.

Montgomery Laughton: a melancholic overseer with a tragic past and a propensity for alcohol. An outcast who assists Dr. Moreau with his scientific experiments, which are financed by the Lizaldes, owners of magnificent haciendas and plentiful coffers.

The hybrids: the fruits of the Doctor’s labor, destined to blindly obey their creator and remain in the shadows. A motley group of part human, part animal monstrosities.

All of them living in a perfectly balanced and static world, which is jolted by the abrupt arrival of Eduardo Lizalde, the charming and careless son of Doctor Moreau’s patron, who will unwittingly begin a dangerous chain reaction. For Moreau keeps secrets, Carlota has questions, and in the sweltering heat of the jungle, passions may ignite. The Daughter of Doctor Moreau is both a dazzling historical novel and a daring science fiction journey.

My take: 3.75 out of 5. This was a very interesting read with beautiful writing. Weird in a good way. I would call it a family drama science fiction, because although it had certain Sci-fi aspects, it really was all about the implications of those in the human condition and family and interpersonal relationships.

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