In the blockbuster and best-selling tradition of Jurassic Park comes the breakneck new adventure from New York Times and number-one internationally best-selling author Matthew Reilly, whose imaginative, cinematic thrillers "make you feel like a kid again; [they're] a blast" (Booklist). It is a secret the Chinese government has been keeping for 40 years. They have proven the existence of dragons - a landmark discovery no one could ever believe is real and a scientific revelation that will amaze the world. Now the Chinese are ready to unveil their astonishing findings within the greatest zoo ever constructed. A small group of VIPs and journalists has been brought to the zoo deep within China to see these 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 the dragons are perfectly safe, and that nothing can go wrong. Of course it can't....
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Jurassic Park, mixed with Reign of Fire, mixed with every cheesy sci-fi network movie you've ever caught a glimpse of. So many irritating little writing tics. Like characters repeatedly starting a word, with action interrupting the end of the word. Page after page of it. So many cheap cliff-hangers, nick of time rescues, ninth hour saves. Saturday morning cartoon worthy. Only for the diehard, desperate for adventure set. Otherwise avoid.
Reworking of a Jurassic Park style story without the message, depth, interesting characters, and a almost believable story. Mr. Reilly also seems to like to write for the simple minded with simplistic dialogue, shallow character development, and unimaginative storyline copied from a more qualified writer. His only "fun" stories involve the character "Scarecrow" which while plagued with some of the same is more believable and take you on a wild ride.
This story had great potential and for the most part delivered. However I found myself getting irritated that the only character in the book with a brain was the lead woman. I like strong female characters but this was ridiculous. She might as well have been in charge of toddlers for all the intelligence they displayed. What a shame. A group is most dynamic when each character brings something to the table. I think this book would have been five star if the author had balanced the characters out a bit more. I started to laugh each time the group was in trouble. What obvious solution was CJ going to announce that none of the other characters had thought of?! Blah.
I don't even know where to begin, this story was ludicrously unbelievable. Let me say upfront that I love fantasy and sci-fi and have a fine ability to suspend disbelief, so long as everything within the fictional setting is consistent and makes sense. As I listened to this book, I went from accepting the world, to suspending my disbelief, to simply scoffing at what was happening. If you enjoy Michael Bay summer blockbusters, this book is for you! Just don't think too hard (at all) about what's going on, as you will soon realize that it makes no sense. Here's a few examples from the top of my head - this is nowhere near a conclusive list.
1) She flings a gas canister at a dragon, then shoots it in the air with a pistol, causing it to explode.
This is pure movie/videogame myth - gas canisters are not that volatile. Mythbusters (as well as my high school shop teacher...) debunked this.
2) The dragon in whose face that gas canister explodes, suffers a melted face. Mr. Reilly is very explicit in his description, explaining that the bare muscles were exposed where the scales had melted away. The main character calls this dragon "melty" through the rest of the book, as it continues to hunt her.
Really? An animal's face, where all of its delicate sensory organs are located, is exposed to literally face melting heat, and it not only survives, but continues to effectively hunt the characters? This heat was so intense that its scales have melted, but its eyes and nose are still in working order?
3) She has to escape from a high up place, so she finds a backpack mounted vacuum cleaner with a literally 90 foot long cord (the narrative states this number twice), puts it on, ties the loose end around something solid, then leaps out of a window. The vacuum's cord dutifully stops her fall after 90 feet (once again, the narrative explicitly says that she falls 90 feet before it stops her), whereupon she begins swinging herself to safety.
This one makes perfect sense, for as well all know, falling 90 feet and stopping abruptly when you hit the ground is deadly. Falling 90 feet and stopping abruptly when an electrical cord goes taught, on the other hand, is perfectly safe. This is why OSHA requires that all surfaces near falling hazards be paved with electrical cord... no wait, that doesn't make any sense at all.
I could go on, but you get the drift. This is the novel equivalent of a Michael Bay movie, ridiculous explosions and running around and narrowly escaping from improbable situations. As the book continued, I found myself just rolling my eyes and groaning at all of the ridiculous "set pieces" that the characters wander into. To make it even worse, Mr. Reilly tries really hard to make the dragons sound plausible, throwing around all sorts of scientific terms and examples of similar developments in real life animals... yet nothing else in this whole story ends up being even remotely plausible.
Baby Boomer in Raleigh NC. Faves include James Lee Burke, CJ Box, Baldacci, Flynn, Child, DeMille, Crais, Connolly, Thor, Coes, L'amour. Average two books/week.
A Secret Chinese "Jurassic Park" w/ fire-breathing DRAGONS ???? Yeeee HAA! My favorite Reilly character is still Call Sign Scarecrow (more Scarecrow adventures, Please!) but "CJ" was First-Rate too.
Reilly books are sure to have long extended "chase scenes" and this one has several. Reilly has a niche that separates him from Rollins, Cussler, Berry and I enjoy all of them. Pure defy-the-imagination adventures. Just enjoy'em.
To anyone new to this Australian author.... definitely try his Scarecrow series.
This was a great book. It was a lot lot like Jurassic Park but having dragons made it initially worth it. It is a thriller book for a reason, 8 hr+ is a fight and chase book so it's not a bedtime read. Be aware that this is a very gory book with many descriptions of gruesome violence. I must have been reading some pretty tame books lately because it was particularly noticeable. But the descriptions are wonderful and the main character is knowledgeable enough in her field to allow for her "Mary Sue" ness. Give it a read... If you liked Jurassic Park/world you'll like The Great Dragon Zoo of China
Take Matthew Reilly's flair, a female version of Dirk Pitt, add China's homage to Jurassic Park and you have The Great Zoo of China.
I'm used to the high octane roller coaster that Matthew Reilly delivers but this was a step above the excellence I know to expect. If this is the caliber we can expect from future Reilly books then the competition needs to step up (a long way). I'm counting the days till I meet up with Shane Schofield or The Black Knight on my literary travels.
This was a great book. it was an adrenilin rush from start to finish. it is like a mas up between die hard and jurassic park with a female protagonist. it was well read and I enjoyed the presentation from start to finish.
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