Saturday, February 25, 2012

Review: The Technologists by Matthew Pearl

I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of Matthew Pearl's latest book, The Technologists.   This was my first experience reading something by him, but I had pretty high expectations because one of my best friends is pretty much obsessed with his books.  I read this right at the new year, which is funny because last year at the same time I read another similar book and also adored it (it was called The Anatomy of Ghosts and my review can be found here).  So basically, Marcus Mansfield, young Civil War veteran, is just months away from graduating as the first class of Boston's new Institute of Technology.  The students in the small graduating class are all used to Bostonians being wary of them and not really trusting them, but when strange incidents and deaths start happening in the city that seem to be related to science, the students all realize that they need to get to the bottom of the crimes, or be held accountable themselves, and then the school will close.  So Marcus and his friends, including younger student Miss Swallow, set out to find the super smart but kind of crazy person who is responsible for the crimes and destruction.

This is a perfect example of the kind of book I adore.  First, college campus back in the olden days.  Second, mystery.  Third, history, especially since Pearl based his characters off of real students at the university.  Basically, I ate it up and it was awesome.  There were so many times when I was like, "OMG it's this person!!" only to find that, in fact, the culprit was still lurking in Boston's shadows somewhere.  Love.

I adored the setting, in 1800s Boston, right after the Civil War.  I also loved the characters, and how Marcus had fought in the Civil War.  He is scared by it, but trying to make a better life for himself.  His friends, Bob, Edwin, and Miss Swallow, were all instantly likeable, like they were friends of mine as well as Marcus.  I also loved Hammie, who tries so hard to be a part of their group and is often hilarious.  The Institute of Technology also has its rivals over at Harvard, and I loved the scenes where they bickered and basically tried to one-up each other. 

This is the kind of book you want to talk about as you're reading it.  I kept being like, "OMG, I can't believe this is happening!  OMG could it be?!"  But of course I had no one to discuss this with. 

All in all, I adored this book, as you can probably tell.  This was my first time reading anything by Matthew Pearl, and I can't wait to pick of The Dante Club, which is my friend's favorite book of his.  Have you read anything by him?  Have you read The Technologists, and what did you think of it?

And I ate this one up so quickly, that I didn't even remember to pause to write down my favorite passages or quotes!

P.S. It seems my old laptop cord is working at the moment, so I am charging my computer that has been completely empty of battery power for the last few weeks.  Even better, the new cord shipped today!  Yay!  So I will back on the internet reading your blog posts and whatnot soon :)

Thanks for your patience :)


  1. I've read all three of his books based around literary history and I think I like that aspect more than his writing style so I'm not so sure about this one.

  2. Hi Kelly, thank you so much for your review. I am absolutely thrilled you enjoyed it, and please thank your friend for me who recommended your books. Have you seen the Great Leap Week Giveaway we're doing over at my Facebook page? Anyone who posts or emails me a pic of themselves with The Technologists, I mail them an original manuscript page from the book! Come on by if you're interested: ...

    Elle, I do hope you'll give The Technologists a look. Though it is different than my previous books, I'd hope you'd enjoy the story and the historical material, which I think is very fascinating.

  3. Your book cover and review make me want to read this! (I've seen it around the 'net, but the cover that is usually pictured makes it seem very genre fiction, which I don't usually like. Do you have an ISBN for this cover? Or is it only on the ARC? :( )

  4. Your review cracked me up -- you read like I read, in which everyone I interact with must discuss with me how fantabulous my book is! I liked this one although it didn't sweep me away as it did you -- but it was delicious getting all this insider-y historical info about Boston (where I live).