July 2, 2021

The Mad Scientist's Daughter: A Rambling Review

The Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke

This is a quiet sci-fi story about relationships, consciousness, and growing up, so if you're wanting an action-packed sci-fi read about robots, look elsewhere. If you want something introspective, though, and you don't mind a main character who may disappoint and frustrate you (especially in the first half of the book), you might want to check this one out. The writing style is very readable, and Clarke does a good job of giving an impression of a scene without going overboard with description. I never felt like I really understood Cat, but I didn't find that necessary to keep on reading. The premise of a woman falling in love with an android is compelling, and while neither the scientific plausibility or the philosophical ramifications of an android potentially falling in love right back are explored deeply enough for my liking, the case for Cat and Finn fitting together is made in an easy, unforced sort of way. One just feels like they make sense together, somehow, even though in theory they shouldn't. (Which some of the best romances do!)

I was left with a lingering question about Daniel, however. Spoilers, highlight to read: it was repeatedly implied that Daniel did not resemble Richard at all, and comparisons were made to Finn instead. However, this was not resolved by the end of the book. Are we supposed to believe that he is Finn's son? And if so, how exactly is that supposed to work?

3.5 shooting stars.


Short & Sweet: The Silent Companions and Paper Chains

The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

This was a weird read, all things considered. By the end it was definitely more violent/gruesome than I had expected (to the point where it seemed rather over-the-top). I don't entirely understand the "reveal" at the end (spoilers, highlight to read:
 I am assuming that when Sarah cut her finger on one of the companions, the "spirit" of Hetta took her over, and she's the one who murdered everyone else?). I was intrigued by the mystery of what happened in Elsie's past (with her parents), and wish we had gotten more explanation for that as well. I did think that the question of whether or not Elsie is delusional/hallucinating or whether there is something supernatural going on here was handled pretty well towards the end of the story; it did have me flipping back and forth between the two theories! 

I also sometimes found it difficult to take the companions all that seriously in their menace. I mean, we are talking about a bunch of wooden paintings here.

3 shooting stars.

Paper Chains by Nicola Moriarty

This read definitely required some suspension of disbelief -- there are a lot of coincidences and ways things are linked together that err on the side of cheesy. However, I found the flashbacks of Hannah's past very gripping, particularly in how her mental health issues are depicted (spoilers, highlight to read: her postpartum depression felt very real). I could connect with Hannah better than I could with India, although I did sometimes find that Hannah's thoughts, particularly about herself, came across as over-the-top (granted, she was struggling with a lot). I feel like the reader only really gets to know India genuinely right at the end (spoilers: because we find out that she's sort of been trying out a new persona to distance herself from the "sick Lily" version of herself). I did think that India's and Hannah's friendship developed quite quickly and felt sort of forced. The writing style, though, made this a quick read.

3 shooting stars.

Short & Sweet: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill and The Mask Falling

This book might've gotten a slightly higher rating if I hadn't been in a reading slump, but the pandemic has been doing weird things to my reading. Anyway, I found the main character Nina highly relatable, and I think that was probably the stand-out aspect of the book to me. I felt like I connected with her quite well, from her love of books to her anxiety to her quirky sense of humour. Plot-wise, this is not the most exciting story, and Nina ends up with a lot of relatives who I had difficulty keeping track of. But I liked that by the end, Nina was opening up more to others and being more proactive in her life.

3 shooting stars.


The Mask Falling by Samantha Shannon

I found most of this book to be slower-moving than its predecessors; I feel like it was more of a stepping stone to set up the next stage of the story than its own contained plot. It did pick up the pace towards the end, though -- and that cliffhanger! Lots of lingering questions about reveals in the last few pages, for sure. I liked that we got to spend time in a new setting (albeit another Scion one) and met a few new characters.

4 shooting stars. 


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