Genre: Science fiction, dystopian
Synopsis: “Cat, this is Finn. He’s going to be your tutor.”
Finn 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 now to tutor Cat. As she grows into a beautiful young woman, Finn is her guardian, her constant companion…and more. But when the government grants rights to the ever-increasing robot population, however, Finn struggles to find his place in the world, and in Cat’s heart.
Review: Okay, so first things first. This? This was beautifully written. Like, crack-your-heart-open-and-make-you-bleed kind of beautiful. Every word had thought behind it, every character was real and complex and emotive. This is a book that you have to take a break from every once in a while to just lay there while your brain takes it all in. It’s powerful and poignant and deep, and it’s like reading something vast and tiny at the same time, a small story that feels big.
The main character, Cat, is someone with a plethora of faults, which in my case made her more relatable, although I can see how she might grate on some people’s nerves. Her journey through life is very tumultuous and she makes a ton of mistakes, but I liked that about her, and she certainly isn’t the only one with issues in this book. Her parents, her friends, and the other people around her have their own flaws, and I really enjoyed how much thought Ms. Clarke put into every single character. I grew especially fond of Finn, which is probably due in part to my love of the awkward-male-turtle role, but Finn really did make my heart ache. Reading about Finn’s struggle to understand his surroundings and his own capacity to feel made me think about human nature and emotions, and how powerful they really are. How ironic that a robot should be the one to teach readers about humanity.
One thing that I didn’t care for was the plotline concerning Cat’s marriage. For one, a lot of Cat’s interactions with Richard made her seem, well, catty. And also, while I understand this part of the story is crucial, I didn’t like the way it was done. Richard’s character was horrid, yes, but it didn’t feel authentic. His violence and mistreatment of Cat were done in a way that made me feel like the author was just saying her lines, and there was nothing raw or cutting in their final interactions. Cat’s behavior toward Richard seemed like a shallow effort by the author to show her strength of character, as though by publicly embarrassing him or saying “You hit me, so I’m divorcing you” automatically makes her a woman of steel when in reality, it felt like there was very little thought behind Cat’s actions, like the author was shoving words in her mouth and situating her just how she liked.
I don’t read books like this very often simply because I end up walking around for the next week with a hangover. It’s a lot to take in, and it’s very draining, especially in my case since I read it in a day. But at the same time, this book was completely and totally worth the energy. The author put such care into it, and it’s so stunning both stylistically and thematically that even if I didn’t like the story, I would love the book anyway for the writing.
Rating: 5 stars
Recommend it? Yes
Other Books By the Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke has also written a YA series called The Assassin’s Curse, which from what I can tell looks pretty awesome.