The Mad Scientist's Daughter, by Cassandra Rose Clarke

mjfmjfmjf's review against another edition

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I like the outside of this author's books. I like the write ups. I've been putting her on my to-reads lists for awhile now. And now I've read one. And I'm tired. This took a long long time to read and was not a fun read. And I didn't particularly enjoy it. It definitely was both science fiction and speculative fiction but those elements weren't necessarily the important ones. Mostly we stayed in the eyes of Cat, our main character - I just didn't like her very much. I wish we had followed the android or her father. 2.5 of 5.

cheeriope's review against another edition

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I enjoyed this book a lot and I cried waaaay too much.

The ending though was lack luster and the third part itself was long and painful to read.

I guess I prefer to reas about a human falling in love with a sentient ai Android and not deal with the depressing parts of Cat being a horrible fucking person.

corbear's review against another edition

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I love the cover. The story, not so much.

definitely_not_hitler's review

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emotional reflective sad slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


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renbooks's review against another edition

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alienor's review against another edition

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Slow and atmospheric, this book is nostalgia at its finest - the one we feel while looking at our past and our forgotten dreams - except Cat's nostalgia wraps every part of her life : past, present, future. Readers have been saying that she's selfish and thoughtless, going through life without never thinking about anyone else than herself, and yes, it's true. I should hate her for it, and yet, I can't. I can't because the way she's portrayed let me see how much her life seems... pointless to her.

"She felt like a seashell, pretty enough but empty and easily broken."

When the only path leading to happiness is unthinkable, how to find the strength to care?

A better person might have found it. Cat is not that likeable person, and that fact itself added so much layers to the story. Who wants to read about a perfect character whose choices are always wise? Definitely not me. She uses people's weaknesses to make her life easier, she lies, cheats and doesn't think about the consequences of her actions. She's reckless, and yet, the sense of doom constantly hovering over her head touched me and let me unable to hate her.

"Something inside of her - her calcified heart, her numbness - had cracked in two, and she was trembling and she thought, Here, this, this is what it feels like to feel something."

Her life is filled with the tragedy of caving in. To the world. To other's expectations. And while she loses herself along the way, Finn is the only one who can pick up the pieces of her shattered life. At what cost, though?

What makes you human? Is it your ability to love, to hate? Is it your consciousness?

Finn's character brings all these questions to life - can I just say? He is a fantastic male-lead in my opinion and I'm not even ashamed to say that I fell a little more in love with him each time he made an apparition. Yes, he is an android. He is one of a kind and is crushed by the loneliness of it. His hesitations, his sensibility (yes, I realize how paradoxical it appears) resonated in my heart and made me feel so, so much. I adored him.

But above all that, this book speaks to me because of its undercurrent of pessimism. I know, it seems awful, but hear me out, okay? The way people are portrayed here, the way they act, the way they judge is so realistic unfortunately. Everybody wants to live in a world where differences are not an issue and where everyone respects everyone. If you know this world please tell me where it is, because it's not the world I'm living in.

No. I'm living in a world where your sexual life, your genre, your job, your appearance, your origin are under the judgment of others, and if I don't live my life to fulfill these endless expectations, I can't deny that it is here. However, every day as a teacher I feel hope, and in the end, with Cat's growth, that's also what this book gave to me. Hope. It might seem cheesy, but to me there's nothing more important, even more because my knee-jerks reactions are those of a pessimist.

[b:The Mad Scientist's Daughter|13642704|The Mad Scientist's Daughter|Cassandra Rose Clarke||18229799] caused such a visceral reaction in me - slowly building from the start, never wavering - that it will keep a special place in my heart. For that, I'm grateful.

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maryrobinette's review against another edition

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I absolutely loved The Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke. It's a science fiction novel that is about a young girl who is raised with an android for a tutor. What I find remarkable about the book is that the story stays intimate and never veers into The Fate of the World. In many ways, it feels more like mainstream women's fiction than classic SF. At the same time, it uses the SF lens to explore real issues of self and personhood in ways that I don't think would be possible without the science-fictional concepts in it.

By focusing so tightly on one person and her journey, it gave a real sense of the wider world. Plus, I thought the language was hypnotic, which is always welcome. It just pulled me through the book.

leah_reads's review against another edition

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Amazing! Review to come.

*This ARC was received in exchange for an honest review, a big thank you to Angry Robot Books*
*May contain spoilers*
This book took me on a rollercoaster of emotions. One minute I was happy the next minute I felt like my heart had just broken into bits. I did not expect to feel so much emotion for a robot. I should have known better really considering how much Debra Driza's Mila 2.0 choked me up too! This is the first book by Cassandra Rose Clarke that I have read, and am now eager to get on to reading The Assassin's Curse. It is a mesmerizing original retake on a romance novel and delves into so many real-life issues allowing us to sympathize entirely with the main protagonists of the novel.

The novel takes the form of the German coming of age novel, the bildungsroman, with our full attention being devoted to Cat. Our path throughout the novel follows her as she learns to live with an uneasy familial relationship, to be tutored by a robot, Finn, to then be forced out into the real world - away from her isolated home in the forest - to her life in college in which she studies an artists degree (something which was looked down upon - not too different to now! - as apposed to the 'useful' science degrees), to her life following college and onward. Cat is consistently on the outside of society, she is constantly othered. She is distanced from her family - both physically and metaphorically - through her interest in the arts over the sciences, but then more tragically distanced later in the novel. She belongs to what are considered as the 'other' within society, that being the artists, homosexuals, drug takers etc. I hasten to add that Cat only ones partakes in the use of drugs, and that is through no fault of her own.

I'm going to stop myself going into literature-analyze-mode and give you guys a review of the book :). I loved it. Absolutely 100% loved it. It was intense, emotional, filled with characters who were lovable but flawed. There was nothing to dislike about this book. I liked how Ms. Clarke wasn't afraid to seep into the more taboo subject areas and to explore them within the book. Cat has a pretty rough time of it once she is forced into the outside world. She suffers, she has to take on other characteristics in order to support her absolute ass of a husband, and worst of all, she has to spend time away from Finn. The relationship which develops between Finn and Cat is so heartbreaking and I wanted it to work so, so badly right from the beginning. It was painful to see all of the obstacles thrown in the way of their happiness - including their own ways of thinking.

One of the main issues within the novel was the fact that Finn was the first realistic human robots created. He was created by a scientist but then abandoned. He was picked up and taken in by Cat's father, Dr Daniel Novak, who treated him like an equal. A rarity for any robot. The general attitude towards robots is made clear at the beginning as Cat's mother is incredibly against the idea of him being around Cat, living in the house, and becomes even more disapproving of the relationship which develops between them. This doesn't prevent them from getting closer and to developing an intimate relationship, something kept secret out of fear of complete rejection.

As the events unfold through the novel we suffer alongside Finn and Cat. As we read from Cat's perspective, we don't often question her actions as we are aware of her motives behind them. However, once Finn leaves and she realises the selfishness of her actions and her neglection of Finn's emotions, we begin to learn more about this human robot. I found it interesting that as Cat learns and changes, we learn with her. We learn of the inner workings of Finn, the process taken to create him, his history, the relationship which developed between him and her father. We learn of the secrets withheld from her by both Dr Novak and Finn, some with incredibly heartbreaking outcomes.

I found this novel absolutely fascinating. I wish that it had been out last year - I would have certainly done my undergraduate dissertation on this book! It has so many themes and issues running through it and it's absolutely brilliant. If you're a science-fiction lover, a robot lover, or even a lover of books which delve into romance, tragedies and the issues of real life then this book is definitely for you! I don't want to give too much away about this book, but you should all definitely read it! :)

bluedaisyjo's review against another edition

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I'm putting this steaming pile of crap in recycling to save someone else from the misery of reading it.

lisalark's review against another edition

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This is an incredibly beautiful and well-written and very human book. I wouldn't be surprised if this one wins some awards. The subject matter and setting are very believable as a future we may be creating now.

Loved it!