Book Review: Great Zoo of China

Matthew Reilly goes to great pains to explain how he wanted to distance himself from Jurassic Park, but the similarities are inevitable. To wit, a secret area in that giant country has been transformed into a zoo for dragons. . . yes, this is set in our real world, in our time, and though I understood pretty much none of the science it was plausible enough for me not to worry about it. I particularly liked his “historical research” on the appearance of dragons coinciding with the heating of the earth; whether it’s true or not, it’s the kind of thing that gets me right in the. . . curiosity. Another plus is, just like with the humans, there are “good” and “bad” dragons, though it’s hard to imagine some of them being the size of planes that carry hundreds from one country to another. There’s also a bunch of helpful maps as you go, without having to return to the front, where maps are usually located, particularly difficult with an ebook. They were very definitely needed, as the place is huge and in every chapter the characters seem to go to a new place.
But most of all there’s a more-than-capable if flawed lead character, a female vet that gets to go all action hero, though most of the time she survives by using her knowledge of reptiles and logical problem-solving. Would love to see more of her. On the other hand, I felt there were too many characters to keep track of for the whole time, finding myself going back to check on who they were. But that’s a small nitpick.



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