by Matthew Reilly
Published by: Simon and Schuster
Genres: Suspense thriller
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.
The Great Zoo of China is an intense thriller with over the top scenes and high body count. It was in a word, awesome. Fans of thrillers and science fiction who can overlook the improbability of it all will love the action, characters and creepy intelligence of the spectacular creatures Reilly introduces.
Similar to Jurassic park and set within the valleys of China, The Great Zoo of China was a non-stop, action packed ride that I consumed in a single day despite coming in at just over five hundred pages. Reilly opens with an intense and horrifying scene that sets the tone for the entire book. This is not for the faint of heart. It is at times incredibly gory and the author does a spectacular job of making you squirm. Surprisingly the gore was perhaps the most realistic aspect of the tale.
Dr. Cassandra Jane “CJ” Cameron is a leading reptile authority and she and her brother, a photographer, have been invited by China for an in-depth behind the scenes tour of a secret forty years in the making. China has built the worlds’ Greatest Zoo devoted entirely to a species that was believed to be only myth. Similar to Dan Brown, Reilly uses history to breathe life into this discovery allowing the reader to leap at the idea of their existence. CJ is badass, smart, observant and the perfect action heroine. She will remind you of MacGyver, Indiana Jones, Robert Langdon and Benjamin Gates. Let us throw a little Sherlock in there too as her power of observation proved to be handy. She and her brother are clever and for the most part are the focal characters. All the characters were unique and the villains were ruthless.
The tale is over the top with imagery that was breathtaking and creative. While the similarities to Jurassic Park cannot be ignored, I loved the attention to detail and all of the science fiction gobblely-gook. The author tossed in a little about China and world economies that all proved interesting. The creatures were terrifying, intelligent and downright awesome. Reilly shows us their beauty and man’s interference keeping me highly entertained. It was fast paced and I did not want to set it down.
If high-body count and intense action scenes entertain you, then the Great Zoo of China is not to be missed. You will notice I did not mention what the creatures are…I think the cover reveals a lot and it was worth it just for that experience alone.
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