Monday, July 22, 2013

[Book Review] The Mad Scientist's Daughter

Title: The Mad Scientist's Daughter
Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke
Date Published: January 29, 2013
Publisher: Angry Robot
Source: ARC
Genre: Science Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Rating: ★★★

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Book Information:
The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is the heartbreaking story of the journey from childhood to adulthood, with an intriguing science fictional twist.
There’s never been anyone - or anything - quite like Finn. 
He 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 is to tutor Cat. 
When the government grants rights to the ever-increasing robot population, however, Finn struggles to find his place in the world.

Engrossing, touching, heartbreaking - a story that cements the adage 'Love knows no boundaries'.

I'm not usually one to sound sappy and melodramatic. In real life, I'd be the kind of person in your group of friends that you'd least expect to ever sound emotional. Hysteria and feelings are just not my turf, but this story - oh, this story brought out all the feels in me that I just don't know where to start!

I suppose a fair warning is in order. I feel that whatever words I come up with cannot truly describe just what a gem this story is. This review is a mesh of the many things I felt in this roller coaster of a story. If some things don't make sense, I shoulder all the blame for my insufficiency in describing the many eloquent emotions this story has brought me.

Now then, for the review.

The story starts with an ordinary girl who lives a very extraordinary life. Being the daughter of two very smart scientists gave her an inquisitive mind, and being a child gave her boundless energy. Cat's parents chose not to enroll her in the usual educational facility for her age. This made Cat's early childhood enviable but very different than that of the other children.

Cat's world became a little more colorful upon the arrival of Finn, a humanoid robot. He became her tutor and constant companion to the point that Cat never thought of him as being any different from her or her parents.

Through the pages of this book, the reader gradually witnesses Cat's transition into her teenage years and finally, her adulthood. She struggles through life as any normal person do, the main difference is her deep relationship with Finn.

While it's clear at the onset that Cat and Finn had grown very fond of each other, it's also true that a romantic relationship between a human and an android was simply abnormal. It's ridiculous, completely illogical and taboo, especially since androids were treated more as machines. This was something Cat struggled for years, even until she was married. But of course, she couldn't deny the fact that she was head over heels in love with Finn.

Just to bring up a logical perspective into the story, yes, an android is technically a machine. It's made of wires, screws and metal parts. No matter how humane it looks, it will never be a human. It's behavior and actions were all programmed and created by man, so it can never be human. In short, an android can't possibly feel any emotion at all, much less love. But in this story, Finn wasn't just an android. He's so much more!

If I were to describe Finn, I'd say that Finn is an android. He's an android who can lie, an android who can love, and an android who can feel passion.

“There is nothing else like me in the entire world, said Finn. "That's what you wrote. I'm the only one. I can't tell you what it means to be the only one of my kind," he said. "I can't...There is a lack in myself. But your thesis almost filled it in. It was...a start.” - Finn, The Mad Scientist's Daughter

Personally, when I began reading the story, I came to loathe it. I loathed it for the simple fact that at the back of my mind, I knew it was going to make me shed tears. And I was right. It made me cry, and I hate crying. But I couldn't stop reading it despite the fact the I loathed it because I simply have to know the ending to Cat and Finn's love story.

Then came the parts in the story where I felt my heart breaking bit by painful bit. I felt my heart reach out to Cat, but I also couldn't help but mourn for Finn. They are two characters which really hit me straight to the heart! And the odd thing is, if I were to re-live reading the book, I would no doubt, say yes.

Had I known in the first place just how heartbreaking and angsty this story was, I wouldn't have picked it up. But now that I'm through reading it, I'm glad I did. It's definitely a story that I would carry with me in my favorite list for the rest of my life.

Just to set the record straight, this isn't the first story I've read about a human girl and an android. The first one was a manga (Japanese comics) by Yuu Watase entitled Zettai Kareshi and premiered in Japan way back in March 2003. I became such a huge fan of the manga that I also watched the live Japanese series (with subs, of course), and even the Taiwanese live series remake. It would suffice to say that in both the manga and the live remakes, I cried buckets of tears. So I wasn't in the least bit surprised when this story made me tear up, too.

All in all, this story is very engrossing. It's the kind that draws you in with its quiet charm, breaks your heart into pieces, and when everything comes full circle, you'd still love it!

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