'The Curie Society' cover - Hero image

Book review: ‘The Curie Society’

Image credit: Art by Sonia Liao and Johanna Taylor, Courtesy of MIT Press and EEP

The graphic novel ‘The Curie Society’ follows the jam-packed adventures of aspiring female scientists recruited by an elite organisation dedicated to women in the world of STEM.

If you look at most online articles listing the top scientists and technologists in the comic book world, you'll find that most of them are men – ranging from Marvel’s tech billionaire Tony Stark (Iron Man) to DC Comics' forensic scientist Barry Allen (The Flash). And while they are all complex and compelling characters – with science and engineering backgrounds – in their own right, the comic book industry still has a long way to go to bring in more forefront female scientists and engineers into the genre. Is that all about to change?

A team of scientists and comic book creators have come together to create the graphic novel ‘The Curie Society’ (MIT Press, £13.99, ISBN: 9780262539944). This fictional story follows the adventures of Simone, Taj, and Maya who are all recruited by an elite secret society – originally founded by physicist and chemist Marie Curie – with the mission of supporting the most brilliant female scientists in the world.

The heroines of the Curie Society use their smarts, gumption and innovative technology to protect the world from rogue scientists with villainous plans. And throughout the graphic novel, readers see the trio come across different technologies and sciences during their high-stake missions, ranging from an experimental aircraft with 'ionic winds' to using genetic engineering to revive extinct animals. These technologies the reader will come across are all inspired by real-life works.

Promo for 'The Curie Society' - inline image

Image credit: Art by Sonia Liao and Johanna Taylor, Courtesy of MIT Press and EEP

Since the book is a graphic novel, you can easily read it in one sitting, if you desire. And not only is the story fast-paced and entertaining, but it is also very educational – an ideal read for young and aspiring scientists and engineers, no matter their gender. That being said, the premise of the book is to inspire more females to get into the world of STEM, an already under-represented demographic in these sectors. The end of the book also features an eight-page section dedicated to short descriptions of the book’s actual scientists and a glossary of scientific terms to educate the reader further.

Not only is the graphic novel entertaining and simultaneously educational, the characters are also very diverse and unique. Simone, Taj, and Maya all have very distinct, compelling, and intriguing personalities, and they even go through excellent character development as the plot progresses. The writers have also made the characters of the graphic novel relatable to young and brilliant minds that are already seen in the real world.

Overall, ‘The Curie Society’ is a fun story that features strong teenagers who grapple with ethics in science, society, and throughout history. The secret society draws the three young women into several missions that test their tenacity, knowledge, and their friendships with each other. It is a delightful graphic novel that I think will certainly help younger readers learn lots of science and technological innovations and ideas, stimulating their curious minds.

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