The Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clark
A Tale of Love, Loss and Robots
“Many years later Cat still remembered the damp twilight on her skin and the way the dewy grass prickled and snapped beneath her bare feet as she ran up to the edge of the forest that surrounded her childhood home.”
At five years old, Cat is given a live-in tutor. A robot. A unique robot with the appearance of a human, whose sentience sparks controversy in this futuristic world. This novel details the relationship between Cat and her robot, Finn, spanning over two decades and many hardships and heartbreaks. While this would seem a sci-fi novel, it leans more toward the romantic, and gives an inward view of Cat’s life and character.
“In the evenings, when Finn disappeared into the mysterious recesses of the laboratory, Cat went out to the garden or down to the river and wondered what it would be like to be a stream of water, a cypress tree, a star burning a million miles away.”
Style/Diction: I appreciate how the style slowed down the plot and allowed for rumination. I like the focus on nature even in a world filled with technology. The descriptions and comparisons throughout were beautiful. I felt connected to the world Cat lived in just through the diction of the author.
Romance: The book mainly consists of romance. But it’s romance that’s done well, I thought. By the end, I was completely convinced of the relationship between Cat and Finn. And there are many moments throughout the novel that touched my heart, made me happy or angry, sad or annoyed, and regardless of the events that occur, a book that can touch me on that many levels is never a bad one.
Complexity: The complexity in this novel is my favorite aspect, and the reason that I kept reading. Cat is an artsy, tending-toward-the-liberal-arts type of person, yet she’s not against technology. Rather, she’s immersed in it. At first this annoyed me, but it’s merely a product of the time period, and the complexity of the world in which she lives. Without being too spoiler-ish, I’ll just say that I enjoyed the complexities of Cat and Finn’s relationship, as well. And how the differences between Cat’s parents plays out within Cat’s life. Both Cat and Finn are such complex characters. And the author plays with this so well, it’s inspiring.
“I had no idea what it meant, no idea what I was feeling. Love was never something I was supposed to experience.”
Exposition/Character Development: To start off, let me just say that the beginning of the novel is wonderful and hooked me almost instantly. I read few books from the perspective of very young girls, and I love Cat’s initial view of the world. Her innocence and her inner self are very compelling. Yet, the exposition of the novel (where we get to know Cat and the world she lives in) lasts for at least the first third of the novel. This is entirely because we go through such a large period of Cat’s life, from the age of five to somewhere in Cat’s thirties. And the younger version of Cat is so different from the older version (and we don’t exactly get to see her evolution entirely), so I spent the first third of the book trying to figure out who Cat is and what exactly is going on in her universe. ~Annoying and not necessarily exciting, to say the least. I found the middle of the book to be less than exemplary, and even repetitive.
Genre: I wish there were more action and adventure displayed in this novel. There was just a shocking amount of romance and drama. It was intriguing, once the romance gained a little traction and tension – leaving me with suspense and an eagerness to reach the end. But I was left wanting more action in the beginning.
“He’s not an it“, Cat said. “He’s a person.”
Tying of Ends/Conclusion: Throughout the entire book, the reader is constantly trying to figure out – along with Cat – whether or not Finn is capable of love and human emotion. Despite the fact that he is a robot, there are many indicators that he feels something more for Cat than a mere program would. There’s a complexity here that I adore, and it isn’t exactly commented on, but rather left to the reader to determine. …Until the end. Until suddenly we find that this complexity of strings have all been neatly tied up in a way that seems too easy and concrete for such an abstract concept. Finn is a complex being, but the author merely made him a simplified version of himself – to the reader, at least – in order to achieve the desired conclusion.
(*SPOILER*: i.e. Clarke gave Finn the ability to feel human emotion. –> which is unnecessary and only serves to undervalue Finn and Cat’s relationship)
This book is for more mature readers. There are some sexual references, though nothing extremely graphic. There are also references to smoking and drinking, as well as some violence. None of it is too graphically expressed, however.
All in all, there were amazing elements to this novel, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a new and interesting take on new adult romance.
Other books by Cassandra Rose Clark
Thanks for reading!
If anyone has any comments, complaints, or constructive criticism, let me know! ^_^
May your life have many creased pages,