book reviews by Althea

The Technologists – Matthew Pearl ***

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The Technologists
The Technologists by Matthew Pearl
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’ve been intrigued by Matthew Pearl for a while – I actually own both ‘The Dante Club’ and ‘The Poe Shadow’ and have been planning on reading them – but I got an ARC of his latest, so it went to the top of the list. Well, eh, I might have been a little overexcited.
This wasn’t a bad book, but it wasn’t really what I expected. I’d read things comparing it to ‘The Alienist’ so I was expecting a serious, realistic thriller set in the 19th century. It wasn’t. Although the author did his research on the early days of MIT (this book’s setting), I didn’t find his depiction of the school convincing. (The afterword, where he talks about the facts behind the story, was actually the most interesting part, for me.) I found the characters rather cartoonish. The alternate history/steampunk aspects of the story were very far-fetched, again, reminding me almost of a comic book in prose form. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I didn’t find myself getting really into it. Although it was a mystery, I didn’t find myself compulsively turning pages, either. I’m still planning on reading the other books by this author, though, especially as they all seem to have interesting topics.

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