Friday, April 19, 2013

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Title: The Mad Scientist's Daughter
Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke
Narrator:  Kate Rudd
Series: n/a
Publisher: Angry Robot on Brilliance Audio
Publication Date: January 29, 2013
Source: purchased audio/received from publisher via Netgalley
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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.

**Some material in this novel may only be suitable for ages 17+ due to sexual content.**

What is it about this author's books that makes me impatient to click that button and request them, only to feel hesitant and lukewarm toward them when it comes time to actually read them?  Clarke had already proven to me with The Assassin's Curse that she's a gifted writer, and I'll be reading the sequel to that novel very soon.  So, tell me again, why I decided to put off reading The Mad Scientist's Daughter, only to be coerced and nagged into reading it by my good friend Em?!?  Because ultimately, I loved this novel.  It's like nothing I've read before, but it felt so familiar because of how genuine the story and characters were.

This novel is adult in nature...I can't stress that enough.  And I do so because when I requested it on Netgalley, I was under the impression that it was a young adult novel.  In all fairness, the first half of the novel does focus on a young Cat and her growing pains, but she does mature into a woman over the course of the book, and there are definitely some situations that might not be suitable for younger audiences.

This book served as a reminder of every bad decision I ever made along the way to adulthood...and then some.  They might not have been as monumental as Cat's mistakes -- not all of them, anyway -- but they led to the same type of emotional suffering Cat endured for much of this story.  And it IS a sad, lonely, painful story.  At one point, I remember asking Em why she was making me read this because my poor heart almost couldn't take it.  Talk about realistic.

I liked Cat's progression as a character, though there were definitely times I was ready to give up on her.  It wasn't just her bad decision-making skills but also her handling of the consequences and how that affected those she cared about.  Initially, I sympathized with her, then I blamed her for her selfishness, and then I went  back to sympathizing.  Cat was an oddly likeable character for me, despite her many flaws.

And then there's the matter of the android Finn, who I loved from the moment he was introduced, despite how unnatural and robotic he was in the beginning.  As the situation changed, he adapted, thanks to programming installed by Cat's father.  And despite the fact that he was Cat's emotional opposite, I still felt he was every bit as human as she was, regardless of how much wiring and circuitry inhabited his body.

I was trying to think of the best way to describe this impossible romance and the world it dwells in, and the one example that kept coming to mind was Blade Runner.  Not that the technology in TMSD is anything like that of the movie...there are androids and a mission to Mars, but people still drive cars and use slates, which sound pretty comparable to the iPad of today.  But it was the illicit love affair between a blade runner and a replicant that I was reminded of when I thought of the forbidden relationship between Cat and Finn.  I felt like this should have been squicky, but I just thought it was hot.  Finn was a man in nearly every way, after all.

I listened to the audio for The Mad Scientist's Daughter despite having the galley because I knew Em wasn't going to leave me alone about it.  But that was a great decision, anyway, because the narrator is the same as for The Fault in Our Stars and she was terrific...for both books.  Kate Rudd made Cat sound every bit the hapless, helpless daughter of a brilliant physicist.  Finn was made to sound just robotic enough not to be human, which worked well since some of the characters in the book didn't even realize he was an android until they'd been told as much.  Rudd is definitely working her way into the ranks of my favorite audiobook narrators.

If you liked The Assassin's Curse, I definitely suggest giving this one a try because the writing is just as good, though the story is entirely different.  Cassandra Rose Clarke is definitely going on my auto-buy author list.  And not just because she's a Texas author, though that doesn't hurt.  =)

Rating:   photo 4-1.png

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. She was also a recipient of the 2010 Susan C. Petrey Clarion Scholarship Fund.

Find Cassandra:

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Tumblr


  1. I am so glad you liked this, I just bought the audiobook from Amazon and plan to start it when I finish listening to The Darkest Minds! I am glad you gave me the heads up that it is an adult review, for some reason I was under the impression it was YA.

    Ashley @ The Quiet Concert

  2. Great review. I'd love to read this one.

  3. We keep talking about Blade Runner -- I really need to watch it again :)

  4. I was tempted to get this one as well but for whatever reason I didn't Sounds like I missed out. An adult read is nice every once in awhile, right?


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