“In short: The Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke is an angst-ridden robot love story. Unfortunately, it wasn't the book for me.
Don't be fooled by the mention of robots in the summary for The Mad Scientist's Daughter; the story is more of a tragic romance than science fiction. The Mad Scientist's Daughter tells the story of Cat and her relationship with an android named Finn. The story spans several decades of Cat's life, starting at age 8 and continuing to her mid-thirties, and follows her struggle to come to terms with her feelings for Finn. I was surprised at how different The Mad Scientist's Daughter was from Cassandra Rose Clarke's debut YA novel, The Assassin's Curse, which is a book I LOVED. Where The Assassin's Curse was light and fast-paced, The Mad Scientist's Daughter was almost depressing in tone and quite harsh to read in comparison.
The source of this depressing tone is Cat, the mad scientist's daughter, and the novel's narrator. She is also the main source of my frustration with The Mad Scientist's Daughter. She is a terribly broken person, struggling to find meaning in her life, and I am sympathetic to that - I am, really. But at some point I just wanted her to take control of her life, rather than drifting through it and letting bad things happen to her. She does do this eventually, but unfortunately very late in the story. Prior to that, she agrees to enter into a marriage she knows will not bring her happiness and that leaves her hollow and miserable. And she returns to an abusive relationship time and time again. She is also a terrible user - using Finn as an object for sex, never once bothering to think how that might make him feel despite her supposed care for him. I was never able to form an emotional connection with Cat.
The Mad Scientist's Daughter is above all a romance. An incredibly angst-ridden one, at that. Now, the focus on the romance is an automatic dislike for me as I prefer to read plots where the main source of conflict doesn't revolve around the romance. And throw in the angst into the equation and it was almost too much for me to take. I was bored. The plot DRAGS and though I felt this was a good reflection of the lack of meaning and tediousness of Cat's life, it was still incredibly boring for me to read. I would have liked to explore the world more as I felt there was loads of untapped potential surrounding the ethics and rights of owning a sentient being, and THIS was what I was interested in most.
Ultimately, The Mad Scientist's Daughter clearly just wasn't the book for me and my critiques are all reflective of my personal biases. I do still maintain that Cassandra Rose Clarke is a great writer with a talent for enduring romances. I also really enjoyed the subtle world building and the fact that it was light on the science fiction elements. I believe that there are many people that would enjoy and appreciate The Mad Scientist's Daughter more than I did and I hope it finds its audience. Recommended for romance and robot sex enthusiasts.”