AH’s Review – 4 Skulls – A-
I enjoyed Ms. Clarke’s The Assassin’s Curse so much that when I saw another book by this author, I jumped at the chance to read it. The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is a very different read. It starts off quite pleasant and innocuous, then as the story progresses, it gets a little dark. The story revolves around Cat Novak (the mad scientist’s daughter) and her friend/tutor/companion Finn. The book follows Cat throughout her life from a very young and innocent childhood, her turbulent teens, her college days, her marriage, divorce, and life as a mother. Throughout her life, the one constant is Finn.
The writing is beautiful. Ms. Clarke has a wonderful way with words. I was enthralled and I really could not put this book down. Parts of the story moved me to tears, other parts had me shaking my fist at the obtuse Cat. The world building was intricate. The world was very similar to ours, but more technologically advanced. It was sort of futuristic and sort of not. Due to weather changes, there was a reduction in population and shortages. Permits are required to travel outside certain areas.
As for the characters, I adored Finn. He kind of reminded me a little of Data from Star Trek. It took me a while to realize what he was and why he lived with Dr. Novak and his family because for the first part of the book Finn is described through the eyes of a very young Cat. She first thinks he is a ghost. As she ages, he is a close family friend, someone she can depend on. Yet Finn has feelings and each time Cat leaves, he is lonely.
I loved Cat as a young child. Her innocence and wonder were very sweet. As she grew older, I could not help but dislike her. She always seemed aloof, almost an Ice Queen. Cat just didn’t seem to care about her relationships with others. In the meantime, the adult Cat has become an accomplished artist. When she realizes how much she misses Finn, she focuses on creating a piece of artwork especially for him. The love and care she took preparing this piece of work was touching.
While I loved this book, I am not sure that it is for everyone’s taste. Personally, I enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who likes a little robot love story. I can’t wait to see what Ms. Clarke comes up with next!
Thank you to NetGalley and Angry Robot for a review copy of this book.
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