Thursday, June 5, 2014

"The Mad Scientist's Daughter" by Cassandra Rose Clarke

If you have trouble with the idea of love befalling a human and a robot, you probably won't like this book, as that is the bare bones plot. I had trouble with the idea myself, but not enough to put myself off of snagging this as an ebook when the chance arose. When I think of robots, I think of I, Robot, and rogue robots running amok: I obviously lack the creative juices this author is sweating, because never in a million years would I say "romance", with regards to one between a robot and human.

This is one of the seemingly few slow-build romances nowadays, as a lot of authors are prescribing to the insta-love epidemic- love isn't so easily won, in my opinion. Even in cases where "lust-turns-to-love", it should take some time, and I didn't feel like that was an element in this plot. The robot arrives when the heroine is little, and it progresses as more of a friends-turned-lovers plot, quite uncommon in the modern romance arena.

The Plot:
Finn is a robot, who when Cat is little, is brought to live with her family, the Novaks. Originally, he is intended to be her tutor, but when testing reveals he hasn't taught her basics such as math, her parents enroll her in high school, where she is set apart from others due to being "the mad scientist's daughter", in addition to being rumored to have a robot in her household. Finn is given a job as Dr. Novak's assistant, but in a world where robots are considered less than animals, will Finn ever find acceptance beyond the boundaries of the Novak household?

As odd and twisted as this story was, I found myself really enjoying it. Sometimes sci-fi is a bit beyond my abilities in terms of imagining the world, but with this book, it was enough like our current world that it wasn't difficult. In the first part of the book, the author covers many years of Cat's life, but it is done in such a way that you have a feel her personality at each stage of growing up, making her seem more real. And while Finn's character remains static, there is a sense of growth in him as well, which I feel would be difficult to do when the character is a robot.

While the main gist of the plot is romance between a human and a robot, the story also includes ethical questions in regards to robots- will robots have rights? Will we, as humans, abuse robots in a world where they are prevalent among us? Will robots rebel against our slovenly ways? It's difficult for me to imagine robots living in every household, but I like to think that people will treat robots nicely: I haven't heard of people hating Siri yet (other than asking her ridiculous questions), and she is basically a disembodied android.

The Mad Scientist's Daughter is a feat of imagination in the relatively stale market of romance books, and though it is a book that deals with love, it can easily transcend the romance category. And while some books I read and review often disappear from my head as soon as a year passes, I can guarantee I'll remember this book easily next year, and into years after that. After all, it isn't every day I read a love story about a human and a robot.

Rating: 4 of 5 stars for a memorable tale of "love, loss, and robots"!

Content: Sexual situations, domestic abuse, and robot prejudice. Better read when ages 18+.

Page Count: 400 pages in the ebook edition

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