The Great Zoo of China Review
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In 1993, Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park brought author Michael Crichton’s bestselling novel to the big screen, becoming an adventure classic in the process. For grown-up fans of Jurassic Park, author Matthew Reilly’s The Great Zoo of China is a must-read thriller, offering a similar expedition—but on a bigger, more graphic scale.

The story follows reptile expert and veterinarian C. J. Cameron on a top-secret assignment for National Geographic. With her photographer brother, Hamish, by her side, she’s flown to China to explore a special new zoo—one that she soon discovers is inhabited by gigantic winged dragons.

Along with the U. S. ambassador and a pair of other journalists, C. J. and Hamish begin a jaw-dropping tour of the extraordinary new attraction. But when the tour takes a disastrous turn, they find themselves battling both human and reptile adversaries for survival.

With its Jurassic Park undertones, it’s no surprise that The Great Zoo of China is a taut and thrilling sci-fi adventure. It’s big, it’s bold, it’s intense, and it’s absolutely loaded with graphic action.

That doesn’t mean, though, that it’s all just literary fluff. Reilly gives the story credible cultural context, explaining everything in a way that, if not entirely plausible, still seems completely logical. It’s sure to pull readers in with its clever concept and keep them engaged with its building action—to the point that even the most far-fetched surprises seem almost believable.

The main character, meanwhile, may not be developed in great detail, but she’s developed enough to make her likeable. C. J. has faced her share of danger in the past, making her all the more prepared for the challenges ahead of her. Her experiences have taught her the importance of being cool under pressure—yet her resourcefulness sometimes surprises even her. And it definitely comes in handy when she’s forced to take on a zoo full of vicious dragons.

Once the action builds, then, it doesn’t let up. These beasts are smart and sinister, carefully plotting their attack. And when they strike, it’s in a big, gruesome, and shockingly graphic way. It isn’t family-friendly by any stretch of the imagination. People die in terrible ways—yet, no matter how violent and horrifying it may get, it’s absolutely impossible to close the book and walk away.

The Great Zoo of China is an attention-grabbing, adrenaline-pumping kind of read—blockbuster-style thrills in the pages of a book. So if you’re in the mood for an exhilarating literary adventure, don’t miss it.

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