Publisher: Angry Robot
Publication date: February 7th 2013
My rating: 3.5 stars
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 governmnet grant rights to the ever increasing robot population, however, Finn struggles to find his place in the world.
I absolutely loved Cassandra Rose Clarke’s debut novel The Assassin’s Curse, that when I saw a couple of friends mentioning The Mad Scientist’s Daughter I knew I had to request a copy. I know look at me branching out of my contemporary comfort zone. If someone told me this time last year that I would be reading more fantasy and sci-fi books I would have just given them a blank look. But I’m glad to say The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is another book I extremely enjoyed.
The concept of robots living amongst us I admit I find fascinating. I was a girl who grew up watching Short Circuit, Robocop and Terminator, films where scientists created robots (excluding Terminator) to live among humans. The Mad Scientist’s Daughter follows a similar concept, when Cat is just five years old her dad brings a robot to stay with them at their house. Cat being young doesn’t know what he is, he doesn’t look like a robot, and he acts human enough so she mistakes him for a ghost. The robot Finn, was only initially bought home to help Cat’s dad around the house, he’s a scientist and obviously needs an assistant. But before you know it Finn starts spending more time with Cat, he becomes her tutor much to the annoyance of her mother. And soon enough Cat forms a strong friendship with Finn, a friendship that most people wouldn’t foresee or accept. With more and more robots cropping up around the area, in stores as assistants, people are used to them being around but refer to them as it rather than a person. But that’s not the case for Cat; Finn was around for her when she was stranded, when she needed him to cover for her, so he became an important part of her life.
With the films I grew up watching (later on I became obsessed with I, Robot) I kind of thought I had a feeling which way this book would go, I honestly didn’t read the blurb but went with my gut instinct that this would be a solid read as it was by Clarke. And I’m glad to say it didn’t disappoint. I was quite surprised the route this book took, but I did like it. I liked the themes it explored, how different Finn was to the other robots, how Cat’s family were too late to really appreciate how lucky they were to have him around before it was too late.
Despite the solid start, however I did have a couple of issues, firstly Cat’s behaviour over the course of the story did begin to aggravate me, it was glaringly obvious how things were meant to be, but she was frustrating as she didn’t do anything about it. I wanted to shake her a few times until she saw sense. But I suppose the way things developed made her realise. Also there was a definite lull in pacing during the middle of the book, it did cause my attention to waver slightly, but thankfully the last third of the book was able to bounce back into its brilliant pace it had started off with.
The Mad Scientist’s Daughter was so different to what I would usually pick up, but I’m glad I gave it a go because it thoroughly took me by surprise.