“The Mad Scientist’s Daughter” by Cassandra Rose Clarke

Book Reviews 13 Comments 17th December, 2013

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

“The Mad Scientist’s Daughter” by Cassandra Rose ClarkeThe Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Published by Angry Robot in 2013
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 391
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Reading Challenges: The 2014 Science Fiction Experience
Buy the BookGoodreads

 

When I requested The Mad Scientist’s Daughter, it was actually by mistake.  I had confused it with a YA novel about Frankenstein’s daughter (proof that the …’s Daughter naming trend has gone too far), and thought I’d read it on a whim.  This turned out to be the best mistake of 2013.  The Mad Scientist’s Daughter made me alternately smile and cry like a baby.  On the metro.  It’s absolutely frickin’ amazing, and everyone should read it, right now.

The main character, Cat, is the daughter of a famous scientist who works on artificial intelligence.  One day he brings home Finn, a robot who isn’t quite like other robots.  Finn becomes Cat’s tutor and friend, and each teaches the other valuable life lessons.

As Cat grows up, she begins to fall in love with Finn.  She isn’t quite sure what to do with her feelings, and she’s not sure whether or not he’s sentient.  She rebels against her emotions, dating and sleeping with other people, and in the process, she hurts Finn’s feelings very badly.  And the thing that makes it so bad is that you can understand why she made the decisions she did.  You understand why she hurt Finn, and you feel bad for both of them.  You get why she allowed herself to get trapped in a loveless marriage, and you feel bad for her feelings of stagnation and frustration as she begins to realize that she’s made a terrible mistake.  you feel bad for her husband, who genuinely loved her, but who becomes abusive as Cat becomes more and more of a bitch, blaming him for her unhappiness.  And as much as you feel awful for each of the characters, you understand them, and you can see how easy it would be for your life to go the same way if found in a similar situation.  In writing a story about unrequited love with a robot, Cassandra Rose Clarke shows us a stark picture of our humanity and the way that feelings can make people act irrationally and against their best interests.  In short, Cat embodies the very essence of humanity, our ability second guess ourselves and to make mistakes.

It’s absolutely beautiful.

13 Responses to ““The Mad Scientist’s Daughter” by Cassandra Rose Clarke”

  1. Carl V. Anderson

    This was one of the books I was looking most forward to in 2014 and I snagged it right away when it was published…and loved it! I did a long, gushing review of it. I’m so glad the mistake was made and that you gave it a try. It really is a lovely, melancholy book. and it has a robot! Always a plus for me. It will be in my group of favorite reads of the year coming out here soon.

    • Grace

      It’s one of the best books that I’ve read all year. Melancholy, but hopeful. Finn was such a sweet character, and I felt awful for him the whole time. And his existential crisis was wonderful and suited him perfectly. And I like that the book focused on all the facets of what it means to be human and not just the comfortable ones…

      • Carl V. Anderson

        Have you read Love Minus Eighty? It is my favorite book of the year (as I blathered on about in the podcast). It too is a love story with science fictional elements and is VERY good.

  2. Christa

    I loved this book! It was so heartbreaking and Clark raises some excellent points about love and humanity no matter who you are.

    • Grace

      Yes! And I normally don’t like books that make me cry, but this was so different and unexpectedly beautiful that I couldn’t help but be enthralled by it.

  3. Kailana

    So… Are you and Carl in a rush to get through 2013? It’s too bad I didn’t request this by mistake. :( I have been trying to ignore Netgalley. On to the wish list…

    • Grace

      It’s the kind of book that could have easily gone wrong or been cliche, but instead the author captured the very essence of the messiness of humanity, and made it seem completely effortless. I was blown away by it. :)

    • Grace

      Haha, my to-read list is ridiculous. There are sooooo many good books out there and I wanna read them all.

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