The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly

Description: 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…

Matthew Reilly is one of the best action writers in the business, but even so, I was a little hesitant when I began this book. I was worried it would be too derivative of Jurassic Park. It didn’t take me more than a few pages to put those fears to rest. Reilly has delivered another outstanding action thriller and The Great Zoo of China is one of the best books I’ve read this year.

The idea of ancient creatures somehow surviving into the present day, or being recreated in the present day has been intriguing writers and filmmakers and fascinating readers for a long time.  From Arthur Conan Doyle’s Lost World to King Kong and all the way up to Jurassic Park and beyond.  The thrill of pitting human skills against the apex predators of an earlier age is tremendously exciting when done well, and Matthew Reilly does it very, very well.

Dragons have long been fascinating creatures and date back to some of our earliest literature. They also figure strongly into Chinese mythos, which helps make China a great setting for this story. The secretiveness, world financial dominance, and competitiveness of China make the scale of the effort to create the worlds largest and most impressive zoo. With these type of stories, it just takes a nod toward plausibility to let go and enjoy the action. Reilly does more than that and puts some thought into how and why such a thing could come to be.  That is more than enough to propel you into the story.

Reilly has made a career out of writing strong characters and incredible action sequences.  CJ Cameron is a great and resilient character and she is more than equal to the task when events at the zoo inevitably begin to go wrong.  What really shines in this book though are the impressive action sequences.  Once the action begins, it doesn’t let up. The characters are thrust from one dangerous situation to the next and at each stage the action and the stakes go up another notch. Reilly isn’t the first to tell this kind of story, but he takes a back seat to no one in telling it. This is a popcorn thriller and if you like high voltage action, you will love The Great Zoo of China.  Highly recommended.

I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of this book.

If you enjoy this book, you might want to check out The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle, Carnosaur by Harry Adam Knight, and Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton.

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