Lady Cordelia #CBR5 Review #83: The Curiosity by Stephen Kiernan

imagesI have never understood why a book written in the first person would start out by telling you exactly how things are going to end.  In most cases it’s a feint, and is actually revealing something to happen two-thirds of the way through prior to some interesting development that propels you over the finish line.  Here, it was almost word for word the final pages of the book… which I really don’t understand.  Why bother writing in first person if the majority of the book we know the one giant piece of information our protagonist doesn’t?  When she finally has that moment of comprehension, it’s simply frustrating, as we knew all along.  This absolutely ruined this book for me, which otherwise I think I might have quite enjoyed.

Dr. Kate Philo is a scientist onboard a polar exploration ship, searching for samples amongst the icebergs in the Arctic Circle.  The research facility she works for is searching for frozen organisms to experiment with reanimation.  When they happen upon a particularly large specimen, the scientists are hoping to find a seal.  Instead, they discover Jeremiah Price, a man who died after falling overboard in 1907.  He is successfully reanimated because of SCIENCE but soon the moral ambiguities overtake the situation.  Does science have the right to create life?  Is Jeremiah now beholden to the scientists who brought him back?  Is it a total cliché when the only female scientist falls in love with this hunk of mutton-chopped gentlemanly good manners?  Bleargh.

Certain elements of this book reminded me of Flowers for Algernon, which is a hundred times better than this book.  Some of the SCIENCE is pretty cool, as are scenes of Jeremiah’s exploration of the modern world but there was no mystery, no enjoyment to be found in piecing things together as the story goes along.    This is a striptease with absolutely no tease, which is where most of the fun is usually found.

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