Review: The Great Zoo Of China by Matthew Reilly

TheGreatZooOfChinaAbout The Great Zoo Of China

January 27, 2015
The all-new thriller from #1 internationally bestselling author Matthew Reilly!It 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 constructed. A 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 wrong. Of course it can’t…GET READY FOR ACTION ON A GIGANTIC SCALE.

About the Author

Matthew Reilly is the international bestselling author of numerous novels, including The Five Greatest Warriors, The Six Sacred Stones, Seven Deadly Wonders, Ice Station, Temple, Contest, Area 7, Scarecrow, the children’s book Hover Car Racer, and one novella, Hell Island. His books are published in more than twenty languages in twenty countries, and he has sold more than 7 million copies worldwide.

My Thoughts

[Note: I received an advanced reader’s copy from the publisher via NetGalley for review.]

Elevator pitch: It's like Jurassic Park, but with dragons and waaaay more action.

If that capsule summary has you hooked, then you're in for one hell of a ride! Matthew Reilly's latest, The Great Zoo of China, is, first and foremost, fun. A damn lot of fun at that.

I've only read a couple of Reilly's past efforts, both from his Scarecrow series, and although this particular novel is a standalone the gist of Reilly's work is this - he takes a cool premise and turns it into a big-budget Hollywood thrill-ride spectacle, with as much action as possible stuffed into its pages. His twitter bio is both succinct and highly accurate, describing him as a "Creator of rollercoaster rides on paper."

In The Great Zoo of China, Reilly takes us to a country renowned primarily for building stuff for the industries of other nations. If it wants to be a world leader, then China needs to win the war of soft diplomacy and become a cultural sensation. The solution, then, is to open a zoo unlike any ever seen - not just The Great Zoo of China, but The Great Dragon Zoo of China. And obviously that's a really swell idea and everything turns out hunky-dory. I mean, what could possibly go wrong, right?

Um...well...quite a lot, it turns out.

Reilly embellishes his fantastical central premise with a nice smidge of just-plausible-enough science to get the ball rolling. Readers aren't beaten over the head with technical details and scientific minutia, but rather a gently laid groundwork that gives the existence of dragons enough credibility to get us to a metric ton of explosions, and death-defying derring-do as the zoo finds itself under siege.

Taking center stage is reptile expert, and National Geographic writer, CJ Cameron, who has survived a crocodile attack that left her face badly scarred. Cameron is a smart and brave action heroine, from the Ellen Ripley mold, and a fiercely determined protagonist once all hell breaks loose. She takes quick command of the world-shaking developments rocking the zoo, and steers the plethora of chaotic events that ensue toward a satisfyingly bloody and fiery finish.

The Great Zoo of China is a huge, Hollywood-ready blockbuster, brimming with enough action and pyrotechnics to make Michael Bay jealous. And Reilly never loses sight of his primary goal, which is to make a big, muscular, and enjoyable thriller that only rarely pauses to catch a breath before diving headlong back into the fray.

Buy The Great Zoo Of China At Amazon

Michael Patrick Hicks

Michael Patrick Hicks is the author of the science fiction novels Convergence, an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist, and Emergence. His work has appeared in several anthologies, and he has written for the websites Graphic Novel Reporter and Audiobook Reviewer. In between compulsively buying books and adding titles that he does not have time for to his Netflix queue, he is hard at work on his next story.

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