Tuesday, 15 October 2013

The Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke



arc provided by Angry Robot through netgalley

I read Cassandra Rose Clarke's The Assassin's Curse duology and it must be one of the best works that came out in YA in recent times.

So I had high expectations when I started The Mad Scientist's Daughter.

Everything was very straight-forward in The Assassin's Curse, Ananna was an awesome no-nonsense lady even when circumstances were absurd.
The tone in The Mad Scientist's Daughter is completely different. It's dreamier, for one thing. And it's more adult.

I have to say I felt completely emotionally disconnected from Cat, the main character. I feel as if I've read Cat a thousand times, and I have - she's very reminiscent of Virginia Woolf's characters - there's that fanciful refusal to belong in the real world, there's the emotional detachment from all other characters, even the ones she supposedly loves, there's the selfishness and self-absorption. It makes for extremely pretty writing, it really does - The Mad Scientist's Daughter employed incredibly beautiful language.

But the thing is, you're not exactly meant to like a character like that. You're supposed to take it and examine it critically as a serious literary work. This is somewhat at odds, personally speaking, with the universe in which the action takes place: a post-dystopian world being rebuilt by AI. Not to say that there aren't serious literary works set in dystopias, Doris Lessing's The Memoirs of a Survivor is one - and I disliked it, to be perfectly honest, though being fully aware that it is good.

It's just a combination that doesn't work for me.

What this book proves is that Cassandra Rose Clarke's work can successfully span more than the YA genre. She clearly has the talent for serious literary fiction.

The thing is, literary fiction is not my favourite genre.
So, as in the case of The Memoirs of a Survivor, I can see that this is good, it's just not for me.

Can't wait for Cassandra Rose Clarke's The Wizard's Promise, though!

Cassandra Rose Clarke's official site

Buy The Mad Scientist's Daughter
@ The Book Depository (with free worldwide delivery!)

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