'Reading a book is like re-writing it for yourself. You bring to a novel, anything you read, all your experience of the world. You bring your history and you read it in your own terms.'- Angela Carter

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

REVIEW: 'The Mad Scientist's Daughter' - Cassandra Rose Clarke

The Mad Scientist's Daughter - Cassandra Rose Clarke
The Mad Scientist's Daughter


The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is the heartbreaking story of the journey from childhood to adulthood, with an intriguing science fictional twist.

There’s never been anyone - or anything - quite like Finn.

He looks, and acts human, though he has no desire to be. He was programmed to assist his owners, and performs his duties to perfection. A billion-dollar construct, his primary task is to tutor Cat.

When the government grants rights to the ever-increasing robot population, however, Finn struggles to find his place in the world.

My Review: 5/5*
*This ARC was received in exchange for an honest review, a big thank you to Angry Robot Books*
*May contain spoilers*

This book took me on a rollercoaster of emotions. One minute I was happy the next minute I felt like my heart had just broken into bits. I did not expect to feel so much emotion for a robot. I should have known better really considering how much Debra Driza's Mila 2.0 choked me up too! This is the first book by Cassandra Rose Clarke that I have read, and am now eager to get on to reading The Assassin's Curse. It is a mesmerizing  original retake on a romance novel and delves into so many real-life issues allowing us to sympathize entirely with the main protagonists of the novel.

The novel takes the form of the German coming of age novel, the bildungsroman, with our full attention being devoted to Cat. Our path throughout the novel follows her as she learns to live with an uneasy familial relationship, to be tutored by a robot, Finn, to then be forced out into the real world - away from her isolated home in the forest - to her life in college in which she studies an artists degree (something which was looked down upon - not too different to now! - as apposed to the 'useful' science degrees), to her life following college and onward. Cat is consistently on the outside of society, she is constantly othered. She is distanced from her family - both physically and metaphorically - through her interest in the arts over the sciences, but then more tragically distanced later in the novel. She belongs to what are considered as the 'other' within society, that being  the artists, homosexuals, drug takers etc. I hasten to add that Cat only ones partakes in the use of drugs, and that is through no fault of her own.

I'm going to stop myself going into literature-analyze-mode and give you guys a review of the book :). I loved it. Absolutely 100% loved it. It was intense, emotional, filled with characters who were lovable but flawed. There was nothing to dislike about this book. I liked how Ms. Clarke wasn't afraid to seep into the more taboo subject areas and to explore them within the book. Cat has a pretty rough time of it once she is forced into the outside world. She suffers, she has to take on other characteristics in order to support her absolute ass of a husband, and worst of all, she has to spend time away from Finn. The relationship which develops between Finn and Cat is so heartbreaking and I wanted it to work so, so badly right from the beginning. It was painful to see all of the obstacles thrown in the way of their happiness - including their own ways of thinking.

One of the main issues within the novel was the fact that Finn was the first realistic human robots created. He was created by a scientist but then abandoned. He was picked up and taken in by Cat's father, Dr Daniel Novak, who treated him like an equal. A rarity for any robot. The general attitude towards robots is made clear at the beginning as Cat's mother is incredibly against the idea of him being around Cat, living in the house, and becomes even more disapproving of the relationship which develops between them. This doesn't prevent them from getting closer and to developing an intimate relationship, something kept secret out of fear of complete rejection.

As the events unfold through the novel we suffer alongside Finn and Cat. As we read from Cat's perspective, we don't often question her actions as we are aware of her motives behind them. However, once Finn leaves and she realises the selfishness of her actions and her neglection of Finn's emotions, we begin to learn more about this human robot. I found it interesting that as Cat learns and changes, we learn with her. We learn of the inner workings of Finn, the process taken to create him, his history, the relationship which developed between him and her father. We learn of the secrets withheld from her by both Dr Novak and Finn, some with incredibly heartbreaking outcomes. 

I found this novel absolutely fascinating. I wish that it had been out last year - I would have certainly done my undergraduate dissertation on this book! It has so many themes and issues running through it and it's absolutely brilliant. If you're a science-fiction lover, a robot lover, or even a lover of  books which delve into romance, tragedies and the issues of real life then this book is definitely for you! I don't want to give too much away about this book, but you should all definitely read it! :)

1 comment:

  1. Glad you enjoyed the book, it sounds amazing!



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