Book review: The Great Zoo of China - here be dragons

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 07 February, 2015, 10:49pm
UPDATED : Monday, 09 February, 2015, 10:44am


The Great Zoo of China
by Matthew Reilly

Matthew Reilly takes elements from Michael Crichton's classic Jurassic Park and gives them a high fantasy spin in his latest action masterpiece, The Great Zoo of China.

Reptile expert Dr Cassandra Jane "CJ" Cameron is asked to visit a zoo that is soon to open in the middle of China. Staff members at the site are extremely secretive and provide few answers to her questions until Cameron and the others witness what animals are being kept inside the compound: dragons. The Chinese government has been keeping the discovery of dragon eggs hidden for over 40 years.

Now that they have been able to create a place for the dragons to be seen by the general public, they are ready to unveil their existence. Once word spreads, officials believe the zoo will become the top tourist attraction in the world.

Cameron and the other dignitaries in her group explore the various sections of the zoo and learn about the technology used to keep visitors safe from the dragons, as well as the science and biology behind how these creatures can actually exist. They soon realise the dragons are superintelligent - and have a plan to escape.

Reilly has the ability to take objects such as garbage trucks and use them in extreme ways, creating action scenes that read majestically on the page. Most authors throw in guns and lots of shooting to create a frantic and thrilling scene, but Reilly can amp up the tension with just a glance from one of the creatures.

The science and the setting of The Great Zoo of China make the scenario completely believable. The action is overwhelming, making the reader feel giddy as the pages fly - and you may even believe dragons are real.

Associated Press