Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Early Review - The Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke (5/5 stars)

Reading Level: Adult
Genre: Science Fiction
Size: 400 pages
Publisher: Angry Robot
Release Date: January 29, 2013
ISBN: 978-0857662651
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: eGalley from NetGalley.com
Rating: 5/5 stars


I got an eCopy of this book to review through NetGalley(dot)com. Thanks to Angry Robot and NetGalley for the opportunity to review this book. Previously I had read Clarke’s young adult fantasy, The Assassin’s Curse, and loved it. This book is very, very different from The Assassin’s Curse; but I still loved a lot.

This is the story of a girl named Cat and her relationship with an Android named Finn. While the story explores the whole concept of android rights, and questions about whether or not an Android can have emotions and feelings, that is really not the focus of the story. The story focuses on Cat and covers a long period of time. It starts when she is a young girl and Finn is her tutor and follows her into her adult years.

The pace of the story is deliberate, but it is no less riveting for that pace. As I said this is very different from the Assassin’s Curse. It is definitely an adult story (there are sex scenes and swearing). It is more of a science fiction story with a theme of self-exploration. The pacing to the story reminded me a lot of The Time Traveler’s Wife.

Cat is a troubled woman and leads a rather crazy and tumultuous life. Her life seems more defined by her ability to float through life without really making any decisions. For large portions of the book she doesn’t really seem engaged and it makes her situation all the more painful and sad to read about. Cat has loved Finn from a young age and is convinced something is wrong with her since she’s fallen in love with something that’s not human.

Finn is an absolutely stunning character. He is completely respectful and loving to Cat, but the whole time a question is hovering...is Finn really like this or is he just programmed this way? Finn has a lot of dimension as a character and learning about him and his origins was fascinating as the book progressed.

There is a lot of emotional turmoil in this book. Cat struggles to become what her mother wanted her to be and constantly fights her instincts to be an artist. She is constantly at odds with who she thinks she should be and who she is happy being. Cat and Finn dance circles around each other. Cat wants Finn to be human and Finn knows he’s not. There are some truly heartbreaking moments in this book and it is a pretty heavy read at points.

The world is also interesting. The book is set on Earth in a future time following some massive war that almost wiped out humanity. This history comes into play when Android politics are discussed, but isn’t the focus of the book.

The book is incredibly engaging, beautifully written, and haunting. Clarke does an excellent job of describing the surroundings and the characters. The book really comes alive and is also incredibly hard to put down. You are just constantly driven to wonder: what will happen to Cat? What will happen to Finn? What will happen to Androids as a whole?

Overall I just absolutely loved this book. The characters are spot on, the writing is beautiful, the pacing is deliberate but still absolutely engaging. This isn’t an action packed book, but is more that story of girl who grows into a woman and finds herself struggling with society’s expectations both of love and of her life. There is also a lot of discussion about Androids and whether or not they can feel emotions. Although not completely original, it was still a very creative book that was beautifully written. Recommended to those who enjoy science fiction coupled with a life story.

This book goes towards the following reading challenge:
- 150+ Reading Challenge

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