Susan's Reviews > Raptor Red

Raptor Red by Robert T. Bakker
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"The time is a hundred and twenty million years ago. On the flat, featureless floodplains that were central Utah, an evolutionary event is about to occur that will shock the ecological community of dinosaurs. This event is the arrival of a new superpredator."

- Raptor Red by Robert T. Bakker


Robert T. Bakker's Raptor Red is the story of the giant Utahraptor, as told through the eyes and experiences of a young female living in the Early Cretaceous period. Pieced together from the fossil remains of Utahraptor and from other clues found in the surrounding sediments, Raptor Red gives the reader a glimpse into evolutionary forces that were changing the natural world during the Early Cretaceous period. During this time, the invisible hand of natural selection was creating not only our own human relatives, but also the earliest beginnings of other animals and plants that enjoy supremacy in today's world. Bakker reminds us that Utahraptor's story is part of our story - hers was a "beautifully alert and sentient species", and her story is nothing short of astonishing.

I was never a "dinosaur girl" growing up - that distinction belonged to my little sister. I can remember her having lots of books and toy dinosaurs laying around when we were children. I always thought of dinosaurs as a "boy thing", so I was just not interested. As I grew up and went to college, I became interested in evolutionary biology and biological anthropology, etc., and I now proudly proclaim to the world that I am very much a "dinosaur girl", and hope to read many more books on the subject! But I digress...

Back to the book. The heroine in this novel is almost identical to the Velociraptor made famous by the blockbuster movie "Jurassic Park" about a year after the discovery of her fossil remains. This new species in the fossil record - christened Utahraptor - is Raptor Red, our heroine. She is an intelligent killer, a fast-moving, 500-pound beast with razor-sharp claws and feet.

Bakker relates Raptor Red's story beautifully, with more character development than you will find in many novels about people. From the first pages of her story, you find yourself identifying with Raptor Red, holding your breath when she stalks her prey and when she is in danger, aching for her loss, sighing as she rejoins her sister's pod, and celebrating when she finds a new mate.

When an author attempts to evoke the life experiences of an animal from the animal's point of view, it can sometimes fall flat if the research concerning the subject is not credible. This is not the case in Raptor Red. It is clear from the beginning, that Bakker knows his subject. The action is fast-paced and incredible, while the science behind the story remains authentic and well-researched.

Raptor Red is a highly entertaining novel, full of scientific explanation that is subtly weaved into the story. Utahraptor was an intelligent, cunning, and efficient superpredator with an amazingly complex society. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Raptor Red's intelligence, ingenuity, and inquisitiveness as she explored her world. The unique blend of action and information in Robert T. Bakker's Raptor Red makes for a compelling read for anyone interested in dinosaurs or other animals.
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