The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly

Release Date - January 2015

Matthew Reilly
Gallery Books

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

When anything says something along the lines of "in the tradition of Jurassic Park," you're going to have my attention. The book and movie are among my favorites and something I made sure to own. With The Great Zoo of China, I get the comparison, but there really is no comparison beyond the "creatures we didn't know existed now exist and are about to prove mankind a thing or two."

China's kind of tired of living in the United States' shadow, and they've finally found the thing they need to get them noticed - dragons. Dragons are real and they're about to put them on display for the world. Before the world can see them, however, a group of VIPs are asked to come tour the new "zoo" for themselves. Nothing could possibly go wrong, right?

There's the premise in a nutshell. Does it deliver? Yes. I actually found myself engrossed, but it never gripped me the same way Crichton's Jurassic Park did. It's a good story, but not something I'd put on my keeper shelf. I think one part of it was my connection with the characters. I fell in love with Alan Grant and his protective nature. I never connected the same way with CJ, a National Geographic writer. She's likable, but not someone I'll remember months from now.

All in all, I think how much you get from The Great Zoo of China is going to depend on how steadfast a fan you are of the Jurassic Park novel and movie. With my passion for Crichton's book, it's really kind of hard to move on to something of a similar theme and not hold it to a higher standard. I admit I really wanted to be wowed, and while the writing was solid, the characters just never thrilled me as much.


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