Cassandra Rose Clarke
The Mad Scientist’s Daughter
Angry Robot (US & CA: 29th January 2013; UK: 7th February 2013)
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TRIGGER WARNING: Domestic violence, gaslighting.
Someone ages, and someone doesn’t. They first meet when the ageing human, Cat Novak, is about five years old. Meanwhile, android Finn stays as an adult throughout the course of the novel. As a teenager, Cat falls in love with Finn, but at that stage he isn’t able to feel feelings as such. Is it okay for a human to use an android to serve their sexual and emotional needs? Finn doesn’t object, but had their genders been the opposite, would your answer change?
In various forms of media, it’s a common concept for a white man to fall in love with, and try to rescue, a female “other”. Cassandra Rose Clarke flips the genders, but the story doesn’t progress in the usual loud, revolutionary, overthrow-the-government, kill-all-opponents manner. Instead, it’s a quietly elegant unfolding, of two people just trying to cope with the way society works, though it’s not to their liking. Each of them tries to do the “right” thing, though their decisions turn out to be the worst for them. Rest assured that it all works out in the end, but this is a happy ending that must be worked for, and the characters are put through their paces to earn it. It’s often a sad tale, but one well worth reading.
I bloody love this book. This is sci-fi romance the way it should be – real and relatable; simple on the surface, but deeply exploring everything. Realistic characters and scenarios, keeping the heart of the story down to earth. It’s magnificent, and a must-read.