Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Book Review: The Curiosity by Stephen P. Kiernan

From Goodreads:
Dr. Kate Philo and her scientific exploration team make a breathtaking discovery in the Arctic: the body of a man buried deep in the ice. As a scientist in a groundbreaking project run by the egocentric and paranoid Erastus Carthage, Kate has brought small creatures -plankton, krill, shrimp - "back to life." Never have the team's methods been attempted on a large life form.

Heedless of the consequences, Carthage orders that the frozen man be brought back to the lab in Boston, and reanimated. As the man begins to regain his memories, the team learns that he was-is-a judge, Jeremiah Rice, and the last thing he remembers is falling overboard into the Arctic Ocean in 1906. When news of the Lazarus Project and Jeremiah Rice breaks, it ignites a media firestorm and massive protests by religious fundamentalists.

Thrown together by circumstances beyond their control, Kate and Jeremiah grow closer. But the clock is ticking and Jeremiah's new life is slipping away. With Carthage planning to exploit Jeremiah while he can, Kate must decide how far she is willing to go to protect the man she has come to love.
Although Kiernan is an accomplished journalist and has published two works of non-fiction, this is his debut novel - not that you could tell from the writing.  I was very impressed with how well done this book was.  I think it could have gone off the rails at several points (particularly when dealing with time travel/reanimation of frozen corpses), but he handles the scientific details nicely.  He doesn't get so involved that the novel drags, but he covers enough details to make the book plausible and keep the reader from second guessing how things happened.  The characters are well-developed and, while not always sympathetic, compelling.  I particularly like that we are given chapters in a second person voice from the villains point of view, placing the reader in his shoes.

Entertainment Value
It's on the long side (close to 500 pages), but I feel like I flew through it.  I just couldn't get enough of the story. Jeremiah's character, in particular, fascinated me.  My favorite scenes were the ones where he experiences modern life for the first time and his interpretation of the changes in the world.  I also enjoyed the authors take on how religious groups, politicians, and society as a whole would react to technological developments that allowed for the reanimation of a man frozen over 100 years ago.

I definitely recommend giving this one a try.  It's got a great love story, but I think that takes second place to the dynamic characters and the overarching implications of the book - and I appreciated that.  I think readers who enjoy contemporary fiction with a somewhat literary bent will enjoy this one as well.

Thanks to TLC for providing me with a copy to review.  Click here to see the other stops on the tour!

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I love books that have a romantic thread, but I like it to be subtle and not the focus of the book. Also, I'm curious on the author's take on how different groups would react in a situation like this. Interesting moral question, for sure!

    Thanks for being on the tour!