Christine's Reviews > The Great Zoo of China

The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly
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Feb 26, 2015

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2015-reads

Dr. Cassandra J. Cameron, a reptile expert working on behalf of National Geographic, and her brother Hamish, a photographer, are on a special VIP trip to China. About to be revealed was a secret the Chinese have kept for the better part of forty years. At first glance it doesn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary – just another zoo – granted, an amazing facility but would one expect anything less from the Chinese?

The book begins with an excerpt from a book titled “China and the World” by Adam Fisher, fictional as well (I’m fairly certain – I checked). From that excerpt …

“China desperately wants to be Number One, the pre-eminent nation on Earth. In the Communist Party this passionate desire even has a name: “The China Dream”. But to achieve that dream, China must seize the position currently occupied by the United States of America, and to do that it must first match America’s 20th century achievements …

… And then – then – to truly replace America as the world’s most dominant nation, it must do something more difficult. China must replace the United States as the cultural ruler of the planet. …

… What, I ask you, apart from the panda bear and a very long wall, is singularly and uniquely Chinese?

And here lies China’s biggest problem in the 21st century. …

Where is China’s Ford?

Where is its Coca-Cola?

Where, I ask you, is China’s Disneyland?”

National Geographic – “(American zoos) are visited each year by more than a hundred million people, a number that exceeds the combined attendance of all big league baseball, football and basketball games.”

And that is the point at which this book begins. China has built the greatest zoo in the world. Why is it the greatest? Because it was built to house only one kind of animal attraction – Dragons! The group are taken via monorail through the zoo and even introduced, up close and personal, to some dragons that have been trained. Constantly, our group of VIP’s is assured that the zoo is entirely safe -- snicker, snicker -- of course it is! Needless to say, chaos soon ensues.

No doubt as you are reading this review you must be thinking, as I did when I read the book’s flyleaf, “ah geez, another Jurassic Park re-do”. I can’t mislead you here … it is. But I will give Mr. Reilly a hall pass on that because he not only freely admits (in the Q&A at the end of the book) that Mr. Chrichton’s Jurassic Park is one of his favourite books. Even his characters draw a humorous comparison in their dialogue. I prefer to look at it as homage to Jurassic Park. There are some similarities, but Mr. Reilly takes the premise and runs amok with it. He combines some dragon myths and legends with some science and concocts a palatable explanation of how, why, when and where the dragons were discovered.

Mr. Reilly has been a guilty pleasure of mine since I read his “Seven Deadly Wonders” series. He is the master of over-the-top page turning action thrillers and this latest book is no exception. I started it on Saturday evening and finished it on Sunday afternoon. I would have finished it sooner but had some pesky interruptions such as needing to sleep.
There is a quote used in the book that reads, “Fairytales cleanse and sanitize what were once true stories … if dragons were real, then in all likelihood they were not graceful, high-chested, noble creatures; rather they would have been dirty, ugly, reptilian and mean.” Mr. Reilly’s dragons, with a few exceptions, were all that plus cunning, smart, strong and relentless.

Mr. Reilly loves “big scale action” and this book is nothing if not the epitome of that. If you like big scale action then this is a must read.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
February 22, 2015 – Finished Reading
February 26, 2015 – Shelved
February 26, 2015 – Shelved as: 2015-reads

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Robert (new)

Robert Owen This sounds stupidly good. Was "big "SCALE" action" a pun, or am I just reading too much into it?


Christine Robert wrote: "This sounds stupidly good. Was "big "SCALE" action" a pun, or am I just reading too much into it?"

Oh no!! No pun intended ... I didn't even catch that (hitting myself lightly on the forehead) that was a direct quote from the author. Good catch on your part!


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