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5 Star, Science Fiction

The Mad Scientist’s Daughter

One evening Cat’s father brings Finn home. He is to be her tutor. But Finn is no normal tutor; he is a robot, and not just any robot but a billion dollar prototype; one of a kind. To Cat, he is her friend. Her father tells her Finn’s kindness is a program but as she grows, so do her feelings for him. In a world where robots have helped humankind return from the brink of destruction, they struggle to be accepted. Is her father right? And if so what future can they have?

This book is just stunning; a beautiful story about the nature of love and the sentience of artificial intelligence. It’s a very intimate tale following Cat from her childhood through to adult via marriage and grief. The politics of the robot situation sits perfectly in the background, enough to fuel the plot but not so much that you need to be interested in robots to enjoy the storytelling. Cassandra’s prose is wonderfully descriptive and paints a vivid picture of Cat’s world. From the cottage that feels like an enchanting escape from the hostile world to the sterile environment of the glass house.

Cat’s a multi-faceted character and one you won’t always like. Home-schooled and isolated in childhood she can be a bit self-absorbed and has moments of selfishness. She takes far too much for granted but there is a prevailing sense of loneliness and your heart will break repeatedly for both her and Finn. She is a brilliant example of a flawed character that you can fall in love with. I cried bucket-loads and their story stayed with me long after the last page.

The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is Cassandra Rose Clarke’s debut novel for adult readers hot on the heels of her wonderful The Assassin’s Curse. It will be published by Angry Robot in paperback and ebook formats on 7th February 2013. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review.

This will be just one of the wonderful books included in an Angry Robot subscription if you are still looking for a last minute gift for a SFF fan.

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  1. kara-karina@Nocturnal Book Reviews

    Sounds like an absolutely fantastic read! Thank you for such an insightful review, Ellie!

  2. Bark At The Ghouls

    Oooh, thanks! This is a must-read for me now. I loved Asimov's "Positronic Man" and this sounds like a similar premise.

  3. Nikki

    The idea behind this story almost sounds like a commentary on equal rights, if you really think about it. I like books that delve into these more sensitive issues. And I also come to favour multi-faceted characters. They're just so much more interesting than the average "perfect" main character. I like to identify with them because they're flawed, just like we are. This was a brilliantly insightful review, Ellie! Great job! I'll definitely be on the lookout for this one.

  4. Lindsay

    This sounds like a beautiful and clever story. Lovely to read how much it moved you.

  5. Nose_in_a_book

    Ooh, this sounds great. As someone else said above, sounds like it might be influenced by Asimov, which is no bad thing!

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