Book Review: Our Hideous Progeny

Our Hideous Progeny
by C.E. McGill
Review by Mida

A feisty young woman in 1850s London is determined to become a scientist. However, with a husband who is debt ridden, no family to speak of and the patronising attitudes of her peers, she has no great luck in doing so. Until she discovers the letters of her Great-Uncle Victor Frankenstein and seeks to find a way to recreate his work for her own.

This book draws upon the story of Frankenstein in the same way that The Silence of the Girls and The Ballad of Black Tom take inspiration from their source material, in order to give otherwise unseen minorities a voice, and the readers the chance to hear a well-known story from a new point of view.

This book is less a retelling and more history repeating itself, with a spunky young woman as our focal character. It’s a fantastic tribute to Frankenstein. A wonderful exploration through Victorian London, this story is gothic and melancholic, taking us from the centre of London to the coast of Inverness. Each setting is vivid and distinct and perfectly fits the emotional beats of the story, as our characters travel through the countryside of Europe.

Each of the characters feels vivid and distinct. Mary’s frustration at constantly being overlooked, her husband’s friend Clarke and his gigantic ego, and Masie with her delicate strength. They all develop magnificently as we explore their hidden depths.

This book is perfect for fans of classical science fiction. Truly reminiscent of Frankenstein in both tone and story. The mad science is the same too, providing just enough detail to keep you enthralled but leaving out enough that it seems like a miracle when their efforts come to fruition.

If you’re looking for a moody, gothic, science fiction story to read as winter approaches, this is the book for you. Read it on a rainy day and ponder your own mad science. Enjoy!

You can also listen to Mida’s review from RDU below: