Monday, May 20, 2013
The Mad Scientist's Daughter
Cassandra Rose Clarke
Reviewed by OFW editor:
Published: January 15, 2013
From the cover:
“Cat, this is Finn. He’s going to be your tutor.”
Finn 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 now is to tutor Cat. As she grows into a beautiful young woman, Finn is her guardian, her constant companion… and more.
But when the government grants rights to the ever-increasing robot population, however, Finn struggles to find his place in the world.
The Mad Scientist’s Daughter
, the line between robot and human is blurred. Finn is an android who feels, and Cat is a human who is referred to as “the ice queen.” They’re the same, but different, and their parallels are written subtly, allowing the reader to discover them for themselves.
Cat is one of the most complicated and wonderfully written female leads I’ve read this year. The reader is given the opportunity to grow with Cat, from preschool until middle age. Everything she experiences, the reader experiences alongside her, and becomes attached to her because of it. Her development is written smoothly – the reader is never told of the internal conflict during Cat’s many confrontations with men, her parents, herself. It is witnessed in full color and surround-sound.
I’ve read many novels (and seen many movies) in which an android aspires to be human, or at least, looks and acts as though it could be. What makes
The Mad Scientist’s Daughter
unique is the relationship that develops between Cat and Finn. There is real, and really confusing, desire involved. Clarke is not afraid to show you more than sidelong glances of affection. Yes, Cat has sex with a robot. One could argue that this is no different than, say, a vibrator, but this vibrator has a face and skin and hair and Cat cannot sate her desire to touch it, preferring Finn to flesh and blood men. At first, it is unclear if Finn can reciprocate, but he does not turn her away.
But this novel is more than just a strange love story.
In the backdrop of toe-curling android sex, a political battle is developing. In a kind of post-apocalyptic world where places like Paris and New York City exist only in history books, politicians and special interest groups fight over the rights of androids: the right to live freely, to be given employment with pay, to be treated the same as humans. The parallels drawn between this fight and the one facing our real world today ring in the reader’s mind, causing the reader to see Finn and his android brethren in a different light and add another layer of intensity to the story.
The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is the ideal blend of story for story’s sake and a story that leaves you thinking after the final page is turned.
Look for this book on January 29, 2013. I recommend you give it a read.
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