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REVIEW: The Technologists by Matthew Pearl (and Giveaway!)

The Technologists by Matthew Pearl

Publisher: Random House

Release Date: February 21, 2012

Source: Publisher

Rating: 5 out of 5

 

Before I begin my review, I just want to say how excited I am to be doing my first TLC Book Tour post!

I discovered the author, Matthew Pearl, many years ago when his first book, The Dante Club, was such a huge hit across the globe.  Ever since then, I have read everything I can get my hands on written by him.  I have bought editions of classics that I already owned just because Pearl wrote introductions or essays in them.  He is just that wonderful a writer.  The Technologists is his fourth book, and it is just as amazing as the previous three.  The year is 1868 and Boston is in turmoil after several disasters have occurred in the town.  Ships crashed in the harbor because of malfunctioning compasses, and glass mysteriously melted away from every building in an area of town.  No one knows how or why these tragedies are occurring, but they all know that science and technology must be involved somehow.  The first graduating class of the newly founded Institute of Technology (now known as M.I.T.) bands together to save their university from blame, and to prove that technology can be used for good – not just evil.

As always, Pearl poses a wonderful historical setting in which he creates his own compelling and original characters.  From beginning to end, I was completely enthralled by the mystery which one of the students, Marcus Mansfield, is compelled from to solve no matter what the consequences.  Many have stated that the book is too long at almost 500 pages to really be a thriller, but that is what I find so amazing about Pearl’s own version of historical thrillers.  The pace is just right to create such suspense that I didn’t even know that I had finished another hundred pages.  In this day and age, so many people prefer brief chapters that make them feel as if they have accomplished something, but I much prefer the novel which I can sink my teeth into and become complete lost in the mystery.

This is also Pearl’s first novel that I feel captures the female characters correctly, more than most novels I have read written by men in a long time.  The character of Ellen is particularly compelling – she survived in poverty until she was able to pay her way in college.  After she graduated she could not find work, so she applied to chemistry labs across the area just so she could study and experiment.  The character of Agnes, Marcus’ love interest, is quite realistic about her situation in life, and she does not fall into flights of fancy every time she sees Marcus as SO many heroines do, but rather, she comports herself with dignity.

Overall, I recommend this novel to EVERYONE who loves history, mystery, science, and just a really great read.

Make sure to check out the other stops on this book tour:

Monday, February 13th:  Book Chatter

Monday, February 20th:  Book Club Classics

Wednesday, February 22nd:  A Library of My Own

Thursday, February 23rd:  Unabridged Chick

Friday, February 24th:  Jenn’s Bookshelves

Monday, February 27th:  Wandering Thoughts of a Scientific Housewife

Tuesday, February 28th:  Jen’s Book Thoughts

Wednesday, February 29th:  Man of La Book

Thursday, March 1st:  Book Addict Katie

Monday, March 5th:  Calico Critic

Wednesday, March 7th:  Annette’s Book Spot

Monday, March 12th:  S. Krishna’s Books

Wednesday, March 14th:  Wordsmithonia

TBD:  The House of Crime and Mystery

Thanks so the publisher, I have one copy of the book to give away! Please fill out the form by midnight EST Friday, March 8th.  U.S. only, please.

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