[Review] Cassandra Rose Clarke: The Mad Scientist’s Daughter

13642704Cat is being tutored by an android, Finn. He accompanies her trough her childhood and her teenage years and she starts an affair with him. He refuses to being capable of love and she spends years in denial of her feelings for him, trying to build a normal life with normal men. Their existences meander around each other, not able to let go and not able to really be together until she marries and he decides to leave earth to work on the moon.

The first half of the story is told in an unnerving fast forward kind of way. The narrative rushes through 20 years of moments and encounters. I never felt “at home” in the story during that time. The second half portrays Cat’s struggle to get out of the mess and erase her mistakes.

The novel is set in the future after some climate changes and the author won’t get tired of including intense weather or strange weather phenomenons in the story. It doesn’t add much to the mood, just becomes very annoying after a while. The world building didn’t quite work for me. It was too thickly laid on in some parts (yes, the weather was crazy in the time the book is set. Yes, there had been climate changes, but it felt like EVERY time the weather was mentioned it HAD to be out of the order, a weird weather phenomenon or some other weather extreme.

No, the book and I we didn’t become friends. I wanted to love it because the story sounded unique and wonderful, but it just left me cold.

The way the story is told is very matter-of-factly, which is not really my thing, but here it was interwoven with strangely poetic descriptions of moments and places. It seemed all wrong to me.

My biggest problem were the characters, both Cat and Finn have great qualities and would sound like characters I like in a book. She is an artist, struggling to find herself, he is an android with a heart-warming edge. But I never felt a connection to one of them. She just felt like the most selfish and winy person I ever encountered in a book and he always stayed in the back, I never felt like the reader actually gets to know him, plus he is gone for almost half of the book. Cat constantly makes decisions she mourns over for ages afterwards. Even the moment she finally recognises, that she treated other people like shit all her life she does it wallowing in self pity.

The pacing. The story hurries through Cat’s life and covers a span of 30+ years. Every time I felt like settling into a phase in Cat’s life, the story fast forwarded to two years later and I had to get to know Cat and her life again. This made it really hard to build a connection to people and situations. I never felt “at home” in the story.

Plus the title. She has a father who is a scientist and yes some people call him mad, though he just seemed determined. I don’t get why the story around Cat’s life and her love for an android would be named after her father. It didn’t feel like the defining trait of the main character to have a scientist-father and the madness was simply non-existent.

All in all this was a boring read with characters I didn’t care about at all. The story has definitely potential and some might like the distant way the story is told but for me it didn’t work at all.

(I got a free digital copy of this book via NetGalley.) 1-stern-schw



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