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SA Partridge

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

The Mad Scientist’s Daughter

A tale of love, loss and robots.

There is no better feeling in the world than being swallowed whole by a book. The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is one of those rare novels that keeps you spellbound to the point where everything else literally disappears around you. I read the novel in a day, totally forgetting about food and everything else I needed to do. This hasn’t happened in a while.

The book follows Cat Novak from child to adulthood; a girl whose father has created the perfect android and attracted all the wrong attention because of it. Cat doesn’t understand why everyone treats the robot Finn like a lifeless machine, when he’s been her closest friend and mentor her entire life. Their relationship shapes her life, resulting in a story that’s so captivating and tragic, that I was in tears at one point (Another thing that hasn’t happened in a while).

The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is set in an era where a series of natural disasters have depleted much of the human population, but the setting is a secondary focus. This is so much more than a science fiction novel. It’s a touching human tale about searching for meaning in a world filled with judgement. The prose is lovely, and rich in detail, creating a magic that kept my eyes locked to the pages.

Author Cassandra Rose Clarke’s writing reminded me of the stunning word-weaving achieved by Karen Russell, another favorite author. It is equally whimsical, and lyrical and lovely.

The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is a beautiful tale, one I would recommend to everyone.


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