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The Curiosity

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  • Posted July 9, 2013

    Dr. Kate Philo is on an arctic expedition to discover frozen lif

    Dr. Kate Philo is on an arctic expedition to discover frozen lifeforms. She works for a team of scientists who study cell reanimation. Basically, they have the technology to bring small, frozen lifeforms, mostly krill, back to life. As with all science, the process is not full proof. In fact, the creatures come to life for only a short period of time before dying again, for good. But the young doctor is optimistic at the promises of the project. So much so that she gave up her university position, which she really loved, to take on the expedition full time. One day, the team, sailing under the banner of the Carthage Institute, comes across an unusual find. They come upon a giant "candidate berg" that has the largest carbon signature ever recorded. As they begin digging into the berg, they expect to find some sort of sea creature, probably a seal. But as the divers dig deeper into the ice, they see something poking out that they never expected to find . . . a human hand.
    To say journalist Daniel Dixon is ambitious would be an understatement. He has spent his career searching for that one high-profile story to propel him to the top of his field. It is no wonder then that he agreed to be the sole journalist to cover the Carthage Institute. He has seen the reanimation of krill with his own eyes, and was aboard the ship when the team, led by the beautiful Dr. Kate Philo, discovered the frozen remains of a human man. Now the leader of the institute, Dr. Erastus Carthage, has called upon Dixon to be the sole reporter, as the institute, recently renamed the Lazarus Project, attempts to reanimate their largest subject to date. But Daniel Dixon has an ulterior motive. Yes, being the sole reporter for the historic attempt to bring a man back to life will bring his writing international exposure, but Daniel believes there is more to the story than meets the eye. In fact, he is certain that the Lazarus Project is nothing more that an elaborate hoax, meant to bring fortune and political power to its founder.
    Dr. Erastus Carthage is not a nice man. As the head of his privately funded institute and as the leading scientist on cell reanimation, he has become accustom to getting his way, no matter what. With the discovery of a frozen human, he prepares himself for the windfall that is sure to come when he brings the man back to life. But he knows this will not be easy. The project has it's fair share of detractors. Many protest the project, claiming that God and only God has the power to revive human life. Carthage is certain of his science and the powerful possibilities that reanimation of human life could present. He is aware of the various thoughts for and against his work and will stop at nothing to see his work through.
    In The Curiosity, author Stephen P. Kiernan masterfully blends science, morality, and romance into a stunning novel. Each chapter is told from the perspective of either Dr. Kate Philo, Daniel Dixon, or Dr. Erastus Carthage, allowing the reader to delve deeper into the motivations of each character and their reactions to the actions of the others. Kiernan explores the issue of morality in science and the lengths that people are willing to go to fulfill their ambitions. Despite the exploration of some potentially controversial themes, Kiernan never pushes an agenda upon the reader, opting instead to let the characters and events speak for themselves.
    The novel is hard to place within one genre, reading as a kind of cross between At The Mountains Of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft, Dan Brown's Deception Point, and Eowyn Ivey's Snow Child.  The novel presents a strong romantic thread to it's plot, about halfway through. Fortunately, Kiernan devotes as much effort to building a believable romance as he does in convincing us that reanimation could actually occur. In the end, The Curiosity is a masterful novel, equally entertaining and heartbreaking. It will force you to reevaluate some of your own beliefs while never leading you to a definitive answer. In the end, readers are sure to devour this thought provoking novel and still be thinking about it for weeks to come.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2013

    Excellent book! I won't repeat the synopsis, but this is defini

    Excellent book! I won't repeat the synopsis, but this is definitely a page-turner. As the story progresses, each chapter is told from the point of view of a different character: Daniel the reporter, Carthage the egomaniac head of the project, Kate the scientist, and Jeremiah the frozen man. Crafted this way, you learn the motivations of each character and how they react to each situation. The story makes you think about the way you look at life, love, morality. This is a book I will definitely read again!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 29, 2013

    Dr. Kate Philo makes the most amazing discovery.  A man buried i

    Dr. Kate Philo makes the most amazing discovery.  A man buried in the ice at the Arctic Circle is found and brought back to life.  
    The man’s name is Jeremiah.  Dr. Kate ends up falling for her reanimated man but his life is slowing coming to an end, only this time
    permanently.  Stephen’s debut novel is a masterfully created work that keeps the reader engrossed till the very end.  The tale is original
    and makes you think – what if this was too really happen – what would you do?  I give this book 5 stars.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2013

    This is a book that I didn't want to end. With the way it ended

    This is a book that I didn't want to end. With the way it ended, it could almost have a sequel. I found the plot riviting and the characters were such that you either loved them or hated them. For a first novel this book is a fast read and as I said I was disappointed when the story ended.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2013

    Skipped to the end

    Wack....anti-climatic in everyway

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 17, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    When love's timeline is limited, does it make that love any less

    When love's timeline is limited, does it make that love any less meaningful? Reading the premise of The Curiosity sent a thrill reverberating through my body. From the Frankenstein-meets-The-Time-Traveler's-Wife storyline, to the ultimate romantic tragedy of finding a soulmate from another time and place—another plane—this was the kind of sci-fi novel I knew I had been waiting for for a long time. The good news is, in so many ways, this book blew my mind with its originality and argumentative depth. The bad news is, in so many more ways, it also disappointed me. My feelings, clearly, are mixed.

    The Curiosity is narrated in the alternating voices of four arguably essential figures behind the Lazarus Project: Kate (the jaded scientist), Carthage (her controlling, mad-genius supervisor), Jeremiah (the judge and human subject), and Daniel (a seedy, seemingly useless reporter with an inflated sense of self-importance). Each point of view gives interesting perspectives on the discovery of the "unfrozen" man, Jeremiah, and the muddiness and uncertainty between these three characters are what contribute to most of the novel's tension—this was very well done.

    Kiernan has the tendency to go into specific, sometimes rambly detail about, well, everything. I love how his style is both straightforward and analytical—like the scientific method—yet still profound. However, sometimes I felt like it was a bit too much; frequently, there is elaboration on what doesn't need to be elaborated, and it was frustrating and quite laborious to have to skim through all that to get to the good parts. And trust me—when The Curiosity got good, it got really good. The most exciting scenes of the novel—namely, Jeremiah's reanimation—are absolutely electrifying; they will make your heart pound wildly against your ribcage and your fingers tremble. These are the scenes that motivated me to continue reading the book, and that surpassed my expectations. But considering these brilliant pieces were so few and far between—nestled within long chunks of backstory and redundant ruminations—and clocking in at 464 pages, The Curiosity wasn't exactly an easy, or overall enjoyable, read.

    In terms of actual writing style, Stephen Kiernan is no doubt, extremely talented. His voice flows vibrantly and cinematically, but gets stiff during Kate's narrations; she just doesn't seem relatable or likable to me. It bothered me that Daniel had to comment about how "hot" she is every few pages, in order for her attractiveness to be conveyed, but more importantly, she personally doesn't feel genuine. I'm unsure of whether this is because her female perspective was written by a man, or if her personality was just built like that—rigid and impersonal—but I hardly found myself rooting for her as the protagonist.

    Since romance is among my favorite genres, I am typically a huge sucker for these types of "falling in love at the most inopportune moment" stories, but I felt the romance was misplaced in this situation. Kiernan begins with a sensational plot, but adding the romance in kind of cheapened it. Given the circumstances of high-profile scientific research and Kate's professional career, I was turned off by how her first encounter with Jeremiah immediately turned into a romance—it felt inappropriate, and largely, unbelievable. It was very well written and I did find myself being swept away by the angst that came with Kate's budding affection for the off-limits Jeremiah, but overall, I think The Curiosity could have been successful not being a love story. 

    While romance is not the biggest accomplishment of this novel, the intensity of thought-provoking questions raised, certainly is. Obviously, an ethical debate will come naturally with a storyline about a man who becomes a lab specimen, and the fact that Jeremiah is humanized by becoming the object of Kate's attachment further heightens the issue of morals and ethics. Both the scientific rationalizations and the convoluted line of events present readers with heart-stopping revelations and the frenzy that follows, and this was what made The Curiosity so provocative and so stimulating. To me, this novel isn't simply about a man who is revived, and a woman who loves him, but it's about two lost people who experience everything for the first time in their lives again; people who, through each other, are brought back to life.

    Pros: Creative, captivating plot // Multi-dimensional and deep-delving storytelling, rather than just spelling out what happens // Perspectives of different characters are very distinct (and switch from first to second to third person, something I've never encountered before) // Thought-provoking and controversial in topic

    Cons: Long-winded writing style // Bland, rather unmemorable characters, even when given emotions and a backstory // I had trouble sympathizing with Kate, which in turn, defeated the purpose of the "tragic romance" for me

    Verdict: The Curiosity is a fascinating study on human vulnerability, the virtues of love, the astonishing power of science, but it's also a rather bulky novel. Due to its drawn-out chapters and massive page count, I didn't have that much fun reading it, but do I recommend it to others? Yes, yes yes! It's an impressive debut, a force to be reckoned with. Stephen Kiernan begins with an original plotline and cleverly interconnected multiple perspectives to produce a thought-provoking, challenging, and incredibly dynamic debut that I can see doing well on the big screen (luckily, 20th Century Fox has already bought film rights!!!). I suggest you only pick this up if you have a lot of patience and some time on your hands—as much of a page-turner as this book is, it is NOT something you can read within a few sittings.

    Rating: 7 out of 10 hearts (4 stars): Not perfect, but overall enjoyable; borrow, don't buy!

    Source: Complimentary copy provided by tour publicist via publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you, TLC Book Tours and Harper Collins!).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2013

    Magical!

    I really didn't want this story to end. It was a great read. So glad it's going to made into a movie...can't wait. You will be swept away into Kate and Jeremiah's world. This book leaves you wondering and hoping for things beyond our comprehension...to be curious!

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  • Posted August 30, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    The Curios­ity by Stephen P. Kier­nan is a first novel by this a

    The Curios­ity by Stephen P. Kier­nan is a first novel by this award win­ning jour­nal­ist. Mr. Kier­nan has pre­vi­ously writ­ten two non-fiction books.

    On an Arc­tic expe­di­tion, Dr. Kate Philo dis­cov­ers the body of a man who was flash frozen deep in ice. In what could only be con­sid­ered excep­tional sci­ence with a bit of luck, the man, Judge Jere­miah Rice was brought back to life after being dead for more than a century.

    Dr. Kate joins Judge Rice as he learns more about this new soci­ety, while the project’s direc­tor Dr. Eras­tus Carthage tries to exploit the Lazarus Project and Judge Rice for as long as he can.
    And time is run­ning out quickly.

    The Curios­ity by Stephen P. Kier­nan is a social com­men­tary at its core. The eth­i­cal dilem­mas (or lack there of) which rais­ing the dead brings with it are enor­mous, the fab­u­lous sci­ence, out­right hatred, skep­ti­cism and look­ing at soci­ety through new eyes are dis­cussed with­out prej­u­dice, let­ting the reader digest the material.

    The book does not present any answers ques­tions, as dif­fi­cult as they may be. Since the book doesn’t present many answers, I believe it would make an excel­lent choice for a book club. The book exam­ines our media dri­ven cul­ture, ethics, reli­gion and where med­ical & busi­ness inter­cede, the dilem­mas behind such a union and other themes.

    The book is an excit­ing and engag­ing read from start to fin­ish. There are clues at the start which one has to keep in mind while read­ing the book and at the end which, in my opin­ion, make the story more engag­ing. I also loved the way the story is told through mul­ti­ple points of view, Dr. Kate Philo – a sci­en­tist and human­i­tar­ian, Eras­tus Carthage– head of the project, Dixon — a reporter, and Judge Jere­miah Rice – the man brought back to life.

    The char­ac­ter of Eras­tus Carthage stood out for me; he was just much fun to read through. Dr. Carthage is an ego­tis­ti­cal, self-centered ass who is a gen­uine genius through and through. The chap­ters told through his eyes are both hilar­i­ous and dis­turb­ing, the inner thoughts of a man who knows he is the smartest man in the room and views every­one else as men­tal midgets (includ­ing other geniuses) are funny and con­de­scend­ing. The reader also gets a look into Carthage’s mind when he is out­played by oth­ers which leads to inter­est­ing insights and dis­cus­sion points.

    As a fan of his­tory, my only dis­ap­point­ment was the lack of his­to­ri­ans flock­ing Judge Rice when he was awaken. I’m sure his­to­ri­ans would have been stand­ing in line to get a first­hand account of the late 1800’s, and how soci­ety viewed itself then as opposed to being judged by today’s stan­dards. How we are judged by the stan­dards of yore we get through the obser­va­tions of Rice.

    The Curios­ity is a very enjoy­able and inter­est­ing novel. There is a lot going on, in and for this book start­ing at the premise and end­ing at the storytelling.

    Dis­claimer: I got this book for free

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2013

    A decent read

    .

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted July 15, 2013

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    Posted July 11, 2014

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    Posted July 24, 2013

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    Posted July 18, 2013

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    Posted September 20, 2013

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    Posted September 15, 2013

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