Thistle (thistle_chaser) wrote,

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Book #17 of 2017: The Great Zoo of China

The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly
Rating: Hated (Hated-Disliked-Okay-Liked-Loved)

A giant themepark full of dinosaurs dragons opens up, things go wrong, dinosaurs dragons attack and kill nearly all the humans at the park. Heard that plot before? You sure have.

There is not one single doubt that this book was a knockoff of Jurassic Plot. Especially in the first third of the book, you could map the two stories almost scene by scene. This is especially offensive for two reasons:

1) This book was put out by Simon and Schuster. It's not self-published. How in the world could anyone publish this? "Jurassic Park made tons of money! We can use the same exact story and also make tons, so it's okay!" ?

2) I don't know if the author believed it or not, but he claimed this book was nothing like Jurassic Park. He did a Q&A at the end of the book (with himself, so the questions were things like "How did you come up with such an amazing main character?" and "How were your dragons so completely realistic?"). The answers came off like Trump answers: Complete lies, but he said them as if they were the truth, in hopes that others would just go along with it. He claimed this was nothing like Jurassic Park for two reasons: The first was that in JP, the park brought in experts. In Zoo, the park brought in media people. Nevermind the main character in Zoo was literally the most famous crocodile expert on the planet, Nat Geo just asked her to fill in and do a story. SO TOTALLY A MEDIA PERSON AND NOT AN EXPERT. The second reason the author gave was that JP had been opened to make money, while in Zoo the park was opened to make China into a world superpower. Tomato, tomato (that saying works less well in text...). There was very little about China wanting to be a superpower, it was all about making the park a success, which is the same exact thing that would happen if the book was about a park that opened for money.

I could enjoy the book even with those issues, if it had been written well. But instead, this was the most juvenile writing I've read in years, and I review YA and middle grade books more than anything else. Everything! Kept! Happening! With fonts! AND EXCESSIVE EXCLAMATION MARKS!

In the beginning of the story, the main character reacted in a moment. As the story went on, the author described her as reacting in a second. Both acceptable! But then, as the book continued, he started describing her as reacting in nanoseconds. And then a single nanosecond. I swear to god, he did it repeatedly!

Worse than that, there were plot holes so large you could fly a dragon through them. Like in the middle of the book, all power went out, main and backup. (And for some reason, there weren't flashlights around.) So the characters were in complete, total pitch black. Even the moon was behind storm clouds. And yet, a scene (moments, in story) later, everyone could see perfectly fine, the darkness was just forgotten and never mentioned again.

And yet, with all that, I finished this awful book. There were scenes that were okay, and some parts were entertaining, but Zoo was like one of those SyFy movies that you have to turn your brain completely off to enjoy. I don't like that in my movies, and I like it even less in my books.
Tags: 2017 books, book review, book: the great zoo of china
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