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The Mad Scientist's Daughter Paperback – 7 Feb 2013

4.1 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Angry Robot; paperback / softback edition (7 Feb. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857662643
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857662644
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 628,150 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"The Mad Scientist s Daughter" is a deeply engaging tale beautifully told. Cassandra Rose Clarke is a superb writer and this spellbinding novel should appeal to genre and mainstream readers equally. --Graham Joyce, author of The Silent Land"

Cassandra Rose Clarke has delivered a novel that is brave enough to take on one of the largest issue s confronting all of us today just what exactly it means to be human in a time when the definition of such seems to alter almost daily in the face of whirlwind technological change. "The Mad Scientist s Daughter" is a haunting, memorable, and very original love story, told in an alluringly graceful prose. --Peter LaSalle, author of Tell Borges If You See Him: Tales of Contemporary Somnambulism" --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Cassandra Rose Clarke is a speculative fiction writer and occasional teacher living amongst the beige stucco and overgrown pecan trees of Houston, Texas. She is a graduate of the 2010 Clarion West Writers Workshop and holds a Masters degree in creative writing from the University of Texas at Austin. Her short fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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I picked this up on a complete whim in Waterstone’s one day, based purely on the title, and I was so glad I did.

Cat is the daughter of two eminent scientists. She lives a pretty carefree existence, studying what she pleases and playing in the garden of her family’s isolated house, until one day her father brings home Finn, whom he introduces as Cat’s new tutor. Over time, she and Finn develop a bond, and eventually their friendship turns into love. The only problem is, Finn isn’t human. He’s the first and only one of a new breed of incredibly advanced robots.

The story spans thirty years, from when Cat is a young girl, through her adolescence and into womanhood. I don’t think a year is ever actually specified - artificial intelligence is common, the earth’s climate has changed and there is space exploration and colonisation - but the feel of the book is very current, in the way people speak and the things they do.

The writing in this book is beautiful and melancholy. I’m not really one to cry over books, but I did feel myself misting up on occasion and Cat and Finn’s story stayed with me for ages after I’d finished the book.

Cat is a flawed protagonist, and all the better for it. She is selfish and makes some really bad choices and she’s annoying as hell in some places, but you still find yourself cheering her on. And Finn... I kept having to remind myself: he’s a robot. But I think that’s the whole point of the book.

I guess really the author is asking us: at what point does something stop being a machine and start being a living entity? Is it with self-awareness? The ability to think and learn independently? The ability to love?

This book is so many things: romantic without being schmaltzy, sci-fi without being overly technical and philosophical without being inaccessible. I’d recommend it to anyone.

This review is also on my blog: www.bookblogbird.weebly.com
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Format: Paperback
(I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Angry Robot and Netgalley.)
Cat is 5 years old when she first meets Finn. He's an android, he doesn't eat, he doesn't sleep, and he helps her scientist father with his work. He also tutors Cat instead of her going to school, and he's her best friend in all the world. As she grows up, she comes to rely on him more than anyone, and misses him when she goes away to college.

Cat loves Finn, it's obvious, but as he is `incapable of love' she knows that nothing can ever become of her feelings, and she tries to keep them hidden. One day after the death of her mother however, her feelings escape, and she kisses Finn. Things escalate, and it seems that Finn is more human than she ever considered, and they have sex.

Cat and Finn can't really be together though, it's illegal and immoral, and so she goes back to her normal life. Certain events change things though, and suddenly Finn announces that he is leaving - he's a machine, not a man, and so he has sold himself to the highest bidder.

This book tells the tale of Cat's life, and her love for Finn, even though he is a `robot' rather than a man. Can Cat live without the love of her life though? And if robots are sentient, should they have rights?

This book was so rich and so emotional; it made me cry on more than one occasion. I really felt for Cat, who loved Finn but kept talking herself out of admitting it, all because she believed that he was incapable of love. She tried to hide her feelings even from herself at times which I found really sad.

I have to say that even with the story, when Cat and Finn actually had sex for the first time I found it weird.
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Format: Paperback
Last year I read - and loved - Cassandra Rose Clarke's debut YA novel, The Assassin's Curse. Having been struck by her writing and powerful voice, I was already looking forward to The Mad Scientist's Daughter based on that alone, but the cover reveal and the cover copy sealed the deal. Because look at that cover; it's completely glorious. And Clarke didn't disappoint with her first novel for adults. The Mad Scientist's Daughter is stunning. A gorgeous exploration of love, the ability to feel it and other emotions, and the lies we tell ourselves in order to attain happiness that probes the border between human and AI to see how far they stretch. Perhaps it has a little too much romance in it for those who think all SF should be hard, but for me it was a perfect blend.

While this is as much Finn's story as it is Cat's, the narrative is told strictly from Cat's perspective. We follow her from the time she's five years old and Finn is brought into her home to tutor her until she's about thirty-six. During all this time Finn is an integral part of her life, even once she moves away from home and even when they don't speak for years. Her voice is distinctive and Clarke isn't afraid to let her be unsympathetic. Cat is very human, with very human flaws, and we see her making choices which are unwise and say and do things that are unkind out of self-interest or ignorance. Despite this, I never lost my connection to the character, even when she strives to confirm to what she believes her late mother would have wanted for her and tries to lead a `normal' life and she takes some tremendously stupid decisions. Even if I was sitting there, going `no, no, no, don't do it' at her, Clarke so skilfully built her character that her decisions are plausible and I understood why she made them.
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