Review | The Great Zoo of China

Review | The Great Zoo of China

Back in 1979 the Chinese accidentally stumbled upon what would become the greatest scientific discovery of our time. Now they are ready to share this discovery of the world in the largest zoo ever constructed. Its inhabitants…dragons!

C.J. Cameron is an alligator specialist and a freelance journalist who has been invited by National Geographic magazine to report on China’s latest attraction. Whilst initially rebuffing the request she decides to go along but only if she can take her war photographer brother, Hamish.

On this trip she meets her fellow visitors who have also been invited here to help spread the word of this amazing new discovery. There’s the American ambassador for China, the most popular columnist from the New York Times along with a reporter from their e-new division.

Once they land at a spotless brand new airport built specially for the attraction, they are driven through the new zoo and are truly astonished at the size of it which resides in a huge valley with a huge mountain at one end. But what they notice next was something they never thought imaginable. High in the sky gliding through the air are dragons.

So begins the novel, ‘The Great Zoo of China’ written by Matthew Reilly. I was tipped off about this book from an internet discussion forum I visit. After reading the premise, I decided to give it a read.

The novel starts out as I described and introduces the main characters quite swiftly and before you know it, they’re at the zoo. There’s no hanging around here with any length back story.

The discovery of the dragons is explained to the characters and the readier via a presentation that’s held at the zoo. It’s a great explanation that ties together the various dragon myths of the world and gives a plausible storyline as to how they could exist in today’s world.

I must mention the obvious elephant in the room as from reading the review so far you’ve probably guessed what is going to happen. It could be said that this is simply Jurassic Park with dragons. Whilst that that statement is true, it would be unfair to dismiss the book so easily. In an interview at the end if the novel, Reilly reveals that Jurassic Park was one of his favourite books that inspired him to start writing.

But I’m digressing, back to the ‘Great Zoo of China’. During the tour of the Zoo the dragons attack the group during a cable car ride. This is despite the countermeasures the designers have put in place to keep dragons safely from the visitors. The dragons have found a way to get what they want.

From here in the book is non-stop action as the band of characters escape to the different areas of the park whilst always coming under attack and not necessarily always from the winged variety.

Obviously I don’t want to spoil the novel but it was great not knowing who was going to survive unlike a film where it is usually the “red shirt” or the lesser known actor. And when a character is dispatched by a dragon it’s never a pleasant sight. This is a fairly gruesome novel with just one death near the end that made me wince a little.

‘The Great Zoo of China’ is a great action blockbuster of a novel that I highly recommend.


John Abbitt

About the author | John Abbitt

@UKFilmNerd | John loves the movies and he used to write for his own website, The Tydirium Hangar Bay, in the late 1990's. Whilst the web page idea became lost in the passages of time, John's love of film did not. Now he's back, writing for The Unheard Nerd.

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