Sunday, April 28, 2013

Review: The Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke

 synopsis from the back of the book:

"Cat, this is Finn, He's going to be your tutor."

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 now is to tutor Cat. As she grows into a beautiful young woman, Finn is her guardian, her constant companion... and more. But when the government grants rights to the ever-increasing robot populations, however, Finn struggles to find his place in the world.

Lynne's review:

I finished reading The Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke last night and have since been thinking about what to say here. Honestly, I have a bit of a book hangover and I'm still a little overwhelmed with emotions from the ending. The premise is one of the most thought provoking I've read in a while and I was having a hard time trying to sum it all up without major spoilers. Fortunately, the tag line on the book truly covers it best. A Tale of Love, Loss and Robots

Ultimately, this is a love story. A beautifully rendered, heartbreakingly gorgeous story about a young girls first and truest love and how (like in real life) sometimes, you just never (ever) get over the first love of your life. -even if that person and that love is considered outside the parameters of social acceptance and you were taught it was taboo and off-limits.

The phrase 'love is blind' comes to mind with this book. In some cases it is ambiguous. Love is often blind to differences, be it race, religion, gender, species, etc. and then there is when a person is so blind to love (or in denial) that even the most obvious signs go unrecognized leaving the person loveless and lonely.. The Mad Scientist's Daughter has striking reflections of both examples.

There is definitely loss. I'm not posting spoilers, just be forewarned, there are some really, reeeally touching scenes. -have tissues handy.

And robots. *sigh* Possibly the best aspect of this book. The main robot character was phenomenal. Although at times he reminded me of Data from Star Trek, in the world of this book Finn is completely unique. He is one of a kind. Created simply to perform and please, and to serve needs beyond science. A machine created and programmed to be human, or as close as possible.

I completely loved and appreciated the futuristic world and era of this book. Robots, automatons, and high-tech electronics are portrayed in a realistic way, in a world that could very easily exist in the near future.
The world is far enough into the future that we/Earth have little natural resources left available and the nations have their sights set on colonizing space. In many ways, robotics has saved the planet and humans have benefited but it has also made many things obsolete. and when you build automatons to replace humans, they begin to have groups who demand, by law, specifications in the conscientiousness and sentience levels of a machine and what qualifies them of equal rights and recognition.

I loved the characters. Especially the main two. Caterina (aka Cat). She was relate-able, at least to me. Although with her icy exterior she made me want to shake her sometimes, well, for that and other personality flaws built into her character. And like I said before, I really loved Finn.
The entire cast of characters, from the main characters to Cat's parents, friends, love interests, to the various condescending co-workers, neighbors and well-meaning town folks were all layered and distinct personalities, complex and believable in their actions and thinking.
There were just a few things that sort of bothered me. And please remember that every book reads differently from one person to the next, so your experience may differ.
-Written in 3rd person. Such a tricky way to write. Sometimes it works for me, sometimes it doesn't. -several times throughout the book I was very aware of the 3rd person format. I also wondered how many sentences began with the MC's name, as in Cat said, Cat did, Cat went, Cat thought, Cat whatever'd, etc.,
-I felt there was a lot more <i>telling</i> about what was going on in the story and occasionally it felt awfully cold and sterile, which bothered me -but then considering this is a book about robots -who are often portrayed as unbiased, unfeeling- other times it seemed a completely perfect and logical way for the story to be told
-There were multiple instances of random words being needlessly/crazily hyphenated. Sometimes three or more of these mistakes would occur on a page and unfortunately, this one reeeally bothered me. It was like slamming into a brick wall in the story every time it happened. **This may be a formatting issue but also the edition I read was an ARC, so it's highly probable this formatting/editing issue will be fixed on finished copies (I sure hope so).
-Time flew by too fast. -as in time jumping forward months and years from the end of one chapter to the start of the next. The quick time progression was really unsettling for me (and left me wondering happened in all those years in between?!?)
-I wasn't crazy about how certain serious situations (ones *I* thought were enormously important) were glossed over completely. I feel like I still need closure on a couple of things that happened in the book.

Despite the few things that bugged me, I thought the story was amazing and overall very engaging. There were a few slow areas in the beginning, but by the end of the book, I was totally invested and my heart ached for the characters.
In the end, I really loved this book and I hope you do too.

I would recommend The Mad Scientist's Daughter for readers ages mature/late-teen and up (there are several scenes that are quite mature and/or adult in nature). Readers who love Romance, Science Fiction, Robots, Fantasy, Futuristic Lifestyles and Post-Apocalyptic Worlds. A lovely mashup of genres that will surely attract a lot of attention.

I won an ARC edition of this book from MK at  Hers was one of the first reviews I read of this book and I thought it sounded like my kind of story. Thank you so much MK for the giveaway and opportunity to read and fall in love with this fantastic book.

rating: 4.5 stars

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