Release Date: January 29 2013
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.
The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is a beautiful book. Even if you’re not a science fiction fan and don’t care for stories about robots (side note: Robots are cool! What’s wrong with you?) this book has definite cross genre appeal.
There is just SO much to this story. We follow Cat from childhood to adulthood and experience everything in between. Her first boyfriend, bullies at school, university, marriage, the death of her mother. All the highs and lows of her life. I think this grand overview worked in the context of this story – though at the expense of some secondary character development – because we got to see the relationship between her and Finn develop, adapt and change over time. Sometimes it was sweet, other times it was pushed to the limits. There were no easy so solutions or fade-to-black happily ever afters. All actions had consequences – both positive and negative and their relationship didn’t exist frozen in time. I really appreciated the authenticity and honest of it all.
In addition what made this book so heart warming for me was the way if raised questions about the nature of love. What does it mean to love someone and be loved in return? Can love conquer all? What lengths should you go to be with the one you love. The list goes on. I thought the constantly evolving relationship between Cat and Finn (from tutor-student to potentially more) was beautifully constructed and more romantic than I would have ever expected.
Now before you begin worrying that this book is all about love, I think The Mad Scientist’s Daughter also raised some fascinating questions about the nature of human consciousness. Specially, what makes someone human and when does “sentience” become human thought and intelligence. Where is the line and how will we know when we’ve crossed it. I think these are interesting questions to be asking ourselves in an age of constantly evolving technology and ideas of Artificial Intelligence. There was one particular scene that reminded me A LOT of Hal in 2001: A Space Odyessy and I think Cassandra Rose Clarke drew some interesting parallels.
So though, The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is science fiction, it is also a romance. And it is an interesting blending of the two. There are no heroes or heroines. It is simply the story of their lives over time. I think some amazing conversations can spring from the reading of this novel and it will definitely have a home on my shelf for years to come.
Recommendation: Even if you don’t consider yourself a science fiction fan READ THIS BOOK. It is gorgeous and thought provoking and fascinating. Even better – try and get someone else to read it at the same time. It’s a novel that demands to be talked about.
About the Author
Cassandra Rose Clarke is a speculative fiction writer living amongst the beige stucco and overgrown pecan trees of Houston, Texas. She graduated in 2006 from The University of St. Thomas with a bachelor’s degree in English, and in 2008 she completed her master’s degree in creative writing at The University of Texas at Austin. Both of these degrees have served her surprisingly well. During the summer of 2010, she attended the Clarion West Writers Workshop in Seattle, where she enjoyed sixty-degree summer days. Having been born and raised in Texas, this was something of a big deal. She was also a recipient of the 2010 Susan C. Petrey Clarion Scholarship Fund.