I had just picked this book up from the library and was driving home when a Police car flew through the air striking my car, and continued its journey into the car behind me where it proceeded to burst into flames In front of me was a large dragon, the size of a Greyhound bus, facing down a police officer with his service weapon drawn The officer fired, and the dragon s obsidian eyes narrowed to slits Suddenly the dragon lunged And the officer was torn in half, his weapon falling to the ground beside him as his intestines spilled across the pavement.I threw the car into reverse and slammed on the pedal, as the dragons eyes turned to me, his wings outstretched as he took a flying leapOnly to land in the spot I had just vacated I pounded on the brakes, throwing the car into gear and heading in the direction of my home The dragon roared, bounding after me his large frame bouncing off parked cars left and right His gaping maw reached for my car and a swipe of a fore claw took out my rear window Cranking the wheel, I turned sharply Too sharply for him to follow as he scrambled to stop before crashing into a telephone pole, tangling himself in the wires I breathed a sigh of relief, but suddenly before me loomed an even larger dragon I could see from the indentations on his snout that he was an apex predator, but he was giving the marines a hell of a time as their bullets ricocheted off his hide I jumped out of the car, rolling to pick up a dropped firearm as the dragon continued his frenzy, blood flying everywhere A truck drove past me, its occupants heading on the only road out and I grabbed ahold of it as it drove by, swinging myself up into the bed, rifle tucked under one arm As the truck sped on the dragon suddenly took to the air His powerful wings shooting him towards the truck so close I could see the unadulterated fury in its eyes I carefully took aim and fired And hit it right in the eye It crashed to the ground striking a car that immediately burst into flame.It was finally over If you liked this action packed story You will like this book However if you found the obsessive use of exclamation points, ellipses and hyphens in order to build suspense rather than using good writing irritating, hopefully I saved you some time and a headache.Although I started out liking this I was expecting the dragons to have been built in some laboratory somewhere, so I was surprised that there was a semi plausible reason why dragons are seen throughout history in different cultures, yet haven t been reported in hundreds of years I am a sucker for books where the scientific explanation could make sense.However, it started going downhill from there.The main character is one you have probably seen before if you ve read a book The pretty girl with a solitary unique defining physical feature and who is smart and somehow the female Indiana Jones despite no evidence of any training of any kind But she does have her flaws Remember that one minuscule unique physical feature Awful Her life is so difficult.It doesn t matter that her character itself is thin as paper because this woman can balance on the back of a speeding garbage truck that is in a dragon s clutches Our idiotbrave heroine is of course surrounded by a crowd of males and females who might as well have signs on their forehead as to whether or not they are going to survive to the end of the book because there really are no surprises here Slight connection to heroine Survive First mention one paragraph ago Sorry You had a good run.These secondary characters contribute very little to the story, following her around like a pack of lemmings as she comes up with all the world saving plans, until they are inevitably killed off view spoiler Except for the sudden random love interest of course Can t leave without THAT guy And he is of course a secret agent hide spoiler You can also find this on my blog Thank you Netgalley for providing me with an arcThe Great Zoo of China tried its best to present something extraordinary, but ended up tackling a used plot and modifying it I would be lying if I say that I don t see any comparison with Jurassic Park, because this was Jurassic Park with Dragons instead of dinosaurs Nope, Mr Reilly, simply changing the country, animal, and purpose doesn t make this something new It was quite good though, but it felt like a reread of JP.The biggest pro of this novel would be the different types of dragons presented, and the amount of violence Both made the novel at least a bit interesting I was struggling to finish this when I was stuck in the middle part, but it got a bit better along the way The ending was a bit predictable, but not that bad at the same time This novel being a standalone, the author gave it a proper ending.Another somewhat good thing would be the diverse setting The author is Australian yet he decided to choose China as the setting I believe it s not easy using another country with different cultures and trying not make them sound so stereotypical view spoiler Props for mentioning the Philippines and using it as a main landmark in the end of the novel This is only the second time that I ve heard the Philippines being used by the author as an important part of the novel The other time would be when I watched Godzilla hide spoiler Find all of my reviews at IF YOU CONSIDER SOMETHING THAT IS DISCLOSED ON THE FIRST FREAKING PAGE OF A BOOK TO BE A SPOILER YOU SHOULD PROBABLY JUST MOVE ON Seriously first pageHere, there be dragonsbut reviewers have been trolled for mentioning it That s pure crazy right there EDIT I just noticed the new cover has a f % g DRAGON TAIL on it Dear Trolls Your argument is invalid Alright Now that that is out of the way, let s get on with the review.WELCOME TO JURASSIC PARK Errrr, I mean THE GREAT ZOO OF CHINA A zoo of epic proportions and filled with specimens we humans thought were only able to be conjured up by our imagination or by George R R Martin After journalists like CJ Cameron and various other VIPs tell others about their tour, The Great Zoo will make Disneyland seem like a joke The Great Zoo of China received a mediocre response from most of my friends here on Goodreads Leave it to me to be the oddball What s a girl to do I don t generally read reviews of books I plan on reading especially ARCs , but I did skim several this time and noticed a running theme I think my rating might be so high because from having seen their reactions I was already well aware that this would read like a tribute piece to Michael Crichton or a FanFic of Jurassic Park, if you will, and I was able to appreciate it for what it was And holy shit did I appreciate it To begin with, the world a k a zoo that was built was beyond phenomenal I never got bored reading about how this gargantuan project came to fruition Although I m always thankful for any reminders of this YAAAAASSSSSSSSSS THAT S ME I VOLUNTEER I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE there aren t enough words in my vocabulary shut up, Ron 2.0 to describe how thrilled I was that the hero in this story was of the sort who lacked a penis Hulkboy, if you make a joke about Goldblum lacking a penis I will fly to your house and cut you Said female hero participated in kicking 100% of all the ass and made sure she also took names Speaking of kicking ass once the proverbial dragon shit hit the fan This sucker was jam packed with non stop action Sidenote Did you know if something bites you in half the force is great enough to make your own intestines shoot out of your mouth I didn t either and have no clue if it s true , but I do know THAT IT IS AWESOME when it happens in a book I can t remember when I ve read something with a body count this high We re talking hundreds of humans and dozens of dragons WONDERFUL I mean, sooooo so sad not.What can I say If this is on your TBR know that it is very close to its original inspiration and I mean VERY close So just have fun experiencing the magic you felt the first time you read watched Jurassic Park all over again.Also make sure to always be thankful for things like luck dragons and the fact that real life dragons don t know how to breathe fire or do they ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review Thank you, NetGalley and sorry it took me so long to read this one I love adventure books and movies I have no problem with over the top storylines and I can even take some flat characters But even I have a limit and this book, well its story went over that limit That doesn t mean I didn t enjoy it, partly, the beginning was fast paced and everything and CJ the main character was OK I liked the fact that she had scars on her face because perfect good looking characters are irritating to read about Her brother Hamish was also OK But you could fairly easily figure out who would live to see the end of this story and who would not there was no surprise death, there were no feelings of oh no they killed off him her and now I m sad Matthew Reilly really tried his best to write the deaths quite gruesome, but since no character that died really was someone that one cared about was it just another bloody death I mean I found the death of getting your lungs sucked out of you by a bomb awful than being bitten to death by a dragon.Two things really bothered me, the nice dragon and the fact that there was a child in the story I knew that the nice dragon would come in handy later on the story it was and that the child would need to be rescued yes that happened So the bloody storyline was so frustrating predictable that the story lost all excitement.Still, I liked the beginning I would read books by Matthew Reilly But I was disappointed by this one for I was really looking forward to reading The Great Zoo of China Thank you Netgalley for providing me with a free copy for an honest review First off, I ve never read anything by this author before Apparently, he s known for writing fast and furious action novels This one is similiar to Jurassic Park, but of course with different animals Several politicians, scientists, and journalists are invited to see a very unique Chinese zoo before it opens and of course, chaos ensues This isn t a bad book It s just not a great one either, in my view The action is literally almost nonstop, if you like that sort of thing However, there s not much characterization, and it all sort of started to blend together and feel like one long never ending scene It a pretty long book I think it could have been shortened by a good hundred pages or so because editing out a few of those action scenes wouldn t have affected the story at all By about 70%, I mainly just stopped caring.If you don t know what the animals are even though there is part of one on the cover , then you might not want to read this It s not really a spoiler, but could be spoilerish view spoiler I really liked the different type of dragons, though The yellowjackets were the benevolent ones and there is a female named Lucky that had the best scenes in the book I loved her It was interesting how the author explained why the dragons existed and where they came from hide spoiler Posted to The Literary Lawyer.ca A Big, Bad and Bloody Good Time 4 Stars Most every Matthew Reilly novel has several things in common Firstly, there are many characters but few are developed Secondly, most of those characters will die in some bloody or spectacular manner The first follows the second as there is too much dying to be done to overdevelop any one character If this has your attention than you might be a Matthew Reilly fan The Great Zoo of China is Reilly s second recent work that strays from his two ongoing series Well, technically, there was Troll Mountain but I was so thoroughly unimpressed, I pretend it doesn t exist While The Great Zoo of China has standard Reilly action, blood and destruction it is packaged differently from his other work Plot Summary China invites a contingent of VIP s from the United States as a well as contingent of journalists to document what they have called The Great Zoo of China Among them is C.J Cameron, the foremost expert in reptiles and specifically Crocodiles Upon arrival at the zoo s secluded location, the party is faced with a facility that dwarfs any zoo or amusement park in the world The real surprise is that the zoo only features Dragons which the Chinese has rediscovered many years previous and had successfully hidden from the world In Matthew Reilly style, the blood soon hits the fan as the Chinese are not as in control as they had believed Bloody, Bloody, Bloody This book was freakin ridiculous AND freakin awesome Think Jurassic Park meets How to Train Your Dragon The author was attempting to create a wild scenario that could be plausible I m not sure he was successful in that regard but that doesn t mean I didn t enjoy the ride Reilly has never been afraid to kill off a character or two or pretty much all of them This is no exception What is surprising is that he manages to make it bloody than all of his other novels This will be a major turn off for some readers There is death on most every other page and the deaths come in various creative and gruesome manners The book moves at a breakneck speed and the last 3 4 of the book is essentially a very long chase scene This is exactly what I am looking for in my Action Adventure novels I most certainly am willing to suspend disbelief for a genre that is the Die Hard of the literary world I did not have a chance to feel any boredom in the book as I spent most of the time trying to catch my breath I will say that I was a bit surprised in that Reilly DID spend some time on character development The character of C.J and later a friend who shall remain unnamed, were quite well developed The unnamed friend was a very interesting inclusion, and while ridiculous it proved entertaining Since we are on the Ridiculous If you have read any of Reilly s Jack West Jr novels, you will know that he is no stranger to the absurd The book was filled with things that stretch the imagination and occasionally proved to be silly Overall, this minimally impacted on my enjoyment of the novel That said, Reilly does not always pay attention to the small details and seemingly hopes the reader fails to notice an inconsistency or ill fitting logic There were quite a few through out the novel but one such inconstancy made me take notice For your information, you CANNOT leave a puddle of liquid propane as a trap to be ignited The boiling point of propane is 42.1 degrees Celsius This means that it is only possible for propane to be in liquid form under much pressure Liquid propane exposed to the air instantly boils and will likely cause you frostbite Maybe the average reader won t notice something like this It just so happens that I had a propane licence for many years My point is that attention to ALL the details is what sets good writers apart from great writers Final Thoughts This is literary junk food No doubt about it but man shall not live by bread alone If you are in the mood for a candy bar in book form, this is a great choice It is bloody, messy and absurd as well as fast paced, exciting and entertaining A can t miss combination in my opinion.CONTENT ADVISORIES Sex 1 The closest this book gets to sex is a brief peck on the cheek This book falls into the category of No time for sex when the world is going to hell in a hand basket Language Mild Obscenities 44 F Words 40 Religious Exclamations 10 Violence 5 I have to give this a 5 It probably ranks as the bloodiest novel I have ever read Granted, not all the blood is from the human species but there is enough blood to fill a small lake The deaths tend to be quick but are often quite graphic Its as if you passed a bloody car wreck at 120 km per hour 75 miles per hour for my American Friends on the highway You can tell it was gross but you were moving so fast it was hard to get the detail. Just as I was hoping, a typical feverishly fast paced nonstop action packed Matthew Reilly read that I was glued to the book from the first page to the last After the first hundred pages where all the key players of the story were established as well as the astonishing settings of the Great Zoo, the action starts literally with a bang and from then on its one big OH MY GOD OH MY GOD action sequences after another And Reilly cleverly continued all the story developments and turns of the plot on the run, like he always do.Also as per most of the Reilly novels, it is short on proper character developments and depths aside for the two or three central characters of the story, but no shortage on countless close calls, convenience and coincidences not to mention exclamation marks It is also probably one of the MOST violent and bloody books I ve ever read, worthless nameless side characters were dying left right and gallons of blood were spilling all over the place But that s okay, because all of these were happening so fast furiously that to the reader it felt like whooshing past a gruesome accident hundred miles an hour, you know there s death and carnage but it doesn t leave much affect on you And that brings up one of my major problems with the book Even if there are hundreds of deaths, there s not much unpredictability in all that, we could guess who s going to make it out alive, and in the end they did With all the inevitable comparisons going on with the classic Jurassic Park Reilly himself referenced it in the story , I have to say, in that book Michael Crichton and later Spielberg in his legendary movie created an impending sense of doom perfectly but here other than some sort of dreaded feelings in the beginning, when the carnage starts, Reilly replaced that chilling quiet dread with one preposterous loud action spectacle after other Which was all eye candy fun, of course, just didn t tickle the realistic sense of danger bone in me.But enough of all that nitpicking, The Great Zoo of China is first and foremost a very entertaining fun read, and a blisteringly fast at that One of the strong points of the story is Reilly tried to create a wildly fantastical situation that could be plausible in real world scenario, and on that regard he was or less successful in my opinion He clearly thought these through as most of all the explanations and scientific jargon he threw at us sounded logical, at least to a layman like me I really appreciated the detailed character development the writer did to couple of the animals which made them far interesting and evolving than many of the human characters of the book Another aspect of the book that I like is the human factor used throughout the story, as men think of themselves as the ultimate controller of the world and so much above every other animals in nature that they won t even consider the bare possibilities these humans were acting without any humanity, handling the animals with utter contempt, breeding caging training using pain messing with forces beyond their comprehension and whenever anything or anyone gets in their way, they just solve it by eliminating them The whole idea of the zoo is portrayed here as over commercialized, dirty and downright unethical The idea that humans could cage and train these mythical astonishing creatures for a Disneylandish fun for all family kind of commercial trip is unthinkably absurd, ridiculous and appalling, and Reilly rightly described the story with that undertone So much so that when the destruction begins, you almost root for these monsterous majestic beasts to show the obnoxious puny humans their real place in the nature One vital point I forgot to mention is that for the first time a female character is the central action heroine in Reilly s novel, and that worked greatly here The character of CJ Cameron was well detailed with proper depth, development and humanization which was a bit surprising for Matthew Reilly I should add P Although in the middle of the story she almost turned into an indestructible superhero of sort, in spite of all the unbelievable daring do s, there s still a kind, compassionate heart in her which made me really like CJ as a kind of female Scarecrow Here s hoping to see her in future Reilly novels May be in the future Scarecrow book, as Schofield s partner One can only dream All in all, I always read a Matthew Reilly novel for its nonstop breakneck fast awesome action and suspense, and in that regard the book definitely didn t disappoint me The idiom edge of seat read might as well be invented for his works because literally most of the time I couldn t even relaxed a bit, the pages almost fly by themselves This is exactly what I look for in my Action Adventure novels, an acceptable amount of suspension of disbelief with a whole lot of childlike jawdropping wonder and enjoyment in breathless thrillride The novel is pure timepass summer blockbuster popcorn excitement and entertainment, just what I need from Matthew Reilly BIG, BOMBASTIC, BLOODY GOOD TIME. I found myself on New Year s Day with the same old conundrum that plagues a person who owns one too many books what should I start the year off with Christmas netted me even books so faced with options such as Steven Erikson s Star Trek parody, Willful Child, Emily St John Mandel sStation Eleven or even Brom s Yuletide tale, Krampus I went and chose something different instead by an author I had heard about but never sampled before Matthew Reilly s The Great Zoo of China.In the modern era, China has become a global heavyweight a country that can build new cities every year, an economy that grows at rates the West can only dream of and has a limitless supply of cheap labour to achieve its goals Culturally though, China lags behind other countries such as the US and has nothing truly its own what can you name that China is famous for other than cute and cuddly Pandas and the Great Wall China is missing its Disneyland so this is where the Great Zoo comes into play Kept secret for over 40 years, the Chinese are now ready to show off their greatest cultural attraction to the world populated by a most unique species of reptile and in order to do so what better way than to invite a few international guests eg the Americans from such well esteemed publications National Geographic and The New York Times Ladies and Gentleman, welcome to the Great Dragon Zoo of China, where nothing can possib lie go wrong Uh, possibLY go wrong That s the first thing that s ever gone wrongRight from the start you can see the parallels with Michael Crichton s Jurassic Park and an interview with Matthew Reilly at the back of the novel all but confirms that The Great Zoo of China is essentially a homage to that book as A it s his favourite novel of all time and B inspired him to become a novelist in the first place Now I have never read Jurassic Park before I had a run in with Michael Crichton s Next which left me so pi ed off that I ve never gone back to him since but I have seen the movie so I knew that this book had a lot to live up to So while the book started off ok and my mind s eye was channelling an expensive Hollywood blockbuster flick, those images unfortunately started to be replaced by some low budget, cheap Jurassic Park knock off that you d find on the SyFy channel And if you ve ever seen one of those movies you ll know that is not something you want to be compared toWords fail me I don t know where to start Let s start with characters and maybe a quick food analogy How do you like your pizza crusts A Deep pan, B Stuffed crust, or C Thin and crispy If you answered C, then you re in luck as the cast of characters in this book are wafer thin There s our main protagonist, CJ Cameron, once a renowned Herpetologist an expert on reptiles who has suffered a life shattering incident and who now works as a simple vet at the San Francisco zoo Her brother, Hamish, a warzone photographer who has seen it all and loves to crack lame jokes with his sister Greg Johnson, an aide to the US Ambassador who just blends into the background, but is than he seems Aaron Perry, the twitter guy using twitter was enough for me to want him to meet a sticky ending but the fact that he s an obnoxious dick as well and that urge just doubled Throw in an obviously morally corrupt scientist, a few psychopathic Chinese politicians and a squillion soldiers basically a bunch of Red Shirts, pardon the pun and just plain fodder for the wee little beasties and there s your cast And did I give one hoot for any of them God, no In fact, it was roughly around the 25% mark that I gave up on all the humans and was rooting for the Dragons to win the day In Matthew s own words, he loves big scale action and really I m down for that I know that with big action comes an even bigger suspension of disbelief and with most books this is often stretched to its absolute limits with the bungee cord fraying at its edges This book on the other hand snaps that cord entirely and launches you off into the realms of MacGyver ness stupidity Some of the actions scenes were so incredulous that they had me rolling my eyes, snorting my coffee through my nose and giggling like a lunatic while reading out in public all at the same time And all of them involved our hero CJ Cameron I pictured T a Leoni in the lead role in keeping with my made for SyFy analogy earlier an actress that I cannot stand I ll spoiler protect the next section but since I have taken a bullet for my Goodreads friends by reading this book, I expect you all to take a look I still can t decide which of the below is the most far fetched view spoiler Speeding along in a pick up truck, a dragon punches through the back window so she puts the pick up into cruise control, shimmies across to the passenger s side door and manages to jump across to a speeding garbage truck And then once on board she swings herself underneath the running board so her brother can slam the truck into the side of a tunnel to dislodge one of the dragon s clinging to it Being marched over a wooden walkway suspended over a swamp containing salt water crocodiles, CJ manages to co ordinate with her a brother the making of an impromptu flame thrower out of a Zippo lighter and can of hairspray, setting two Chinese Foot Soldiers alight which in turns detonates the grenades clipped to their weapon belts Chinese soldiers disappear in a nice neat explosion with no damage to our plucky young heroes what, not even shrapnel damage However, a section of the walkway collapses which leads us to While standing in chest deep water, surrounded by hungry Crocs, CJ wrestles the gun from the Chinese Captain s hand, throws him jujitsu style over her shoulder into a waiting croc s mouth and leads our rag tag gang out of the swamp Jumping out of exploding restaurants and using a vacuum cleaner power cord effectively as a bungee rope and then quipping, Sheesh, talk about out of the frying pan Riding on the back of a dragon by calling on her experience riding horses A spot of brain surgery on Lucky the talking Dragon I kid you not Well, the dragon doesn t actually speak but it does have a way of communicating by removing said Dragon s eyeball and removing a chip latched on to its brain Re enacting Ripley s Get away from her you bitch moment while saving a child and firing off a flamethrower at some very large, fire breathing Dragons Being told that the dragon s liquid acid based fire can incinerate jeeps, trucks and even fighter jets and yet only heats up our hero s hazmat suit What the f k Performing a spot of field surgery on her dragon by using a sharp stick and some boot laces And last but not least, half hanging off a stage and confronted by her nemesis, Red Face, she sights a grenade in front of her, grabs it, pulls the pin and throws it down the red dragon s throat thus blowing it to smithereens Time after time we are told of how quick these dragons are but our plucky young human hero is even quicker off the mark Sheesh indeed hide spoiler Now, I Know What You Are Thinking, Hu Tang Paused You Are Thinking That There Are Hundreds Of Zoos, Why Does The World Need Another One Indeed, What Can China Do With A Zoo That Has Not Already Been Done Before Ladies And Gentlemanthis Is What We Can DoAt That Moment, The Speeding Bullet Train Burst Out Into Brilliant Sunshine And CJ Found Herself Staring At An Awesome SightIt Is A Secret The Chinese Government Has Been Keeping For Forty Years They Have Found A Species Of Animal No One Believed Even Existed It Will Amaze The World Now The Chinese Are Ready To Unveil Their Astonishing Discovery Within The Greatest Zoo Ever ConstructedA Small Group Of VIPs And Journalists Has Been Brought To The Zoo Deep Within China To See Its Fabulous Creatures For The First Time Among Them Is Dr Cassandra Jane CJ Cameron, A Writer For National Geographic And An Expert On Reptiles The Visitors Are Assured By Their Chinese Hosts That They Will Be Struck With Wonder At These Beasts, That They Are Perfectly Safe, And That Nothing Can Go WrongGET READY FOR ACTION ON A GIGANTIC SCALE Cue in my super sonic love for all which is cheese Hell, yes That super cheesy goopy Saturday syfy channel cheese Top it off with a clonebutwithdragonsnotdinos lovely story about dragons wreaking havoc in a Chinese park and there ya go Is this extremely similar to JP Fuck, yes However, I m always a softie for blood, heads getting ripped off, and all sorts of other types of dismemberments The bunnies love it too As for me, this bitch is getting psyched up for Sharknado 3 Bring it Until that day comes, this book makes a good appetizer 2 Ninja bunnehs riding dragons
Matthew Reilly is a New York Times best selling author of eight novels that have been published in eighteen languages in twenty countries He has sold than 3.5 million copies worldwide.
- Kindle Edition
- 433 pages
- The Great Zoo of China
- Matthew Reilly
- 24 September 2017 Matthew Reilly