Goodreads blurb: 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…
If the above blurb and the cover haven’t already given away what the book deals with, then you readers seriously need to re-read most of the other books written by this author. Here’s the big reveal which happens almost 30 odd pages in the book – the great zoo of China is a zoo which houses dragons.
Now that the big reveal has been put out of the way, let’s get on with the actual review itself. I personally became a big fan of Matthew Reilly right from the first few pages of the first book of his that I read Temple, and true to his reputation the author manages to churn out yet another edge-of-the-seat thriller with this one as well. And in fact, in an interview right at the end of this book as well, the author goes on to state that this was his objective when writing the book, and I would say that he succeeds on that count.
That being said, there is only so much of action that one can take, especially when it is so mindless and numbing and all pervasive. There are only so many things that readers can digest all at once, and with The Great Zoo of China I would go far enough to say that the author has pushed his and the readers’ imagination just a tad too far, probably even over the edge. While I personally suspend my disbelief when reading such fantastic novels, the fact remains that there are limits to this suspension as well, and this book probably reached them.
Imagine this, Jurassic Park meets Smaug, the dragon from The Hobbit series of movies. Actually make that 200 odd Smaugs, only meaner and more destructive in their nature. Put them in a constrained space for a while, make them smart enough to plan an escape and put a few innocent people in their way. This in a nutshell is what the book is all about. If you liked Jurassic Park, the movie, then you will like this book. Trust me, when you visualize all that is happening in this book, visual references from the movie will help you more than just a little bit.
Would I recommend this book? Yes, but only if you are a fan of Michael Crichton and the genre of books he dealt with. Even hardcore fans of Matthew Reilly have not been too kind with their reviews of this particular book of his.