Blurb (from Goodreads):
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.
My rating: 8.5 out of 10 stars
(I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Angry Robot and Netgalley.)
Cat is 5 years old when she first meets Finn. He’s an android, he doesn’t eat, he doesn’t sleep, and he helps her scientist father with his work. He also tutors Cat instead of her going to school, and he’s her best friend in all the world. As she grows up, she comes to rely on him more than anyone, and misses him when she goes away to college.
Cat loves Finn, it’s obvious, but as he is ‘incapable of love’ she knows that nothing can ever become of her feelings, and she tries to keep them hidden. One day after the death of her mother however, her feelings escape, and she kisses Finn. Things escalate, and it seems that Finn is more human than she ever considered, and they have sex.
Cat and Finn can’t really be together though, it’s illegal and immoral, and so she goes back to her normal life. Certain events change things though, and suddenly Finn announces that he is leaving – he’s a machine, not a man, and so he has sold himself to the highest bidder.
This book tells the tale of Cat’s life, and her love for Finn, even though he is a ‘robot’ rather than a man. Can Cat live without the love of her life though? And if robots are sentient, should they have rights?
This book was so rich and so emotional; it made me cry on more than one occasion. I really felt for Cat, who loved Finn but kept talking herself out of admitting it, all because she believed that he was incapable of love. She tried to hide her feelings even from herself at times which I found really sad.
I have to say that even with the story, when Cat and Finn actually had sex for the first time I found it weird. I know that they did have feelings for each other, but she’s asks to have sex with him and he tells her he is capable of it, although obviously he doesn’t get any feeling from it the way she does, and it’s really weird how one-sided the sex was, like, well…. Having sex with a robot!
I liked Finn strangely enough. He was sweet to Cat, and he did seem to have sentience, and he did seem to have feelings for her, even when he told her that he was incapable of feelings. I also thought that the way he behaved when she was with someone else spoke volumes about how he felt, even if he couldn’t put the feelings into words himself.
This story covers a large period of time, from when Cat first meets Finn when she is 5, to the end where she is in her 30’s. Parts of the story I liked more than other parts, but the writing throughout was just so captivating, that I wanted to keep reading, even when I wasn’t loving that part of the story.
The tagline for this book is ‘A tale of love, loss and robots’, and I think that it fits the story really well. The story basically follows Cat’s life from quite a young age, and her background and her love for Finn are a constant background noise within her life, so much so that no matter where she is, she never stops missing him. There is also a lot of loss in this book. I cried on more than one occasion, the story was just so sad in places, but it was so beautifully written that even the sad parts were heartbreakingly good. I actually find it really difficult to tell you how emotionally taxing this book was, and still I loved it, and I’m not going to forget this one in a long time.
Overall; a beautiful and heartbreaking tale of a girl and a robot.
8.5 out of 10.