"GET READY FOR ACTION ON A GIGANTIC SCALE
A high-concept, action-packed thriller from the bestselling author of SCARECROW AND THE ARMY OF THIEVES.
It is a secret the Chinese government has been keeping for 40 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... "
'The Great Zoo of China' by Matthew Reilly is an action-packed survival thriller set in zoo in China. Oh yes… and it has dragons!
The book follows Dr CJ Cameron, vet and writer for the National Geographic and a group of other visitors including her photographer brother Hamish, a reporter for the New York Times and the US Ambassador to China and his assistant as they are taken on a tour of the top secret zoo. The dragons roam free with no bars or cages, but the guests are assured that they are safe. Each guest is given a watch which emits an ultrasonic field around them. If a dragon gets close to this field it hears an ear-splitting noise and stays away. There are also two domes surrounding the zoo made from electromagnetic fields which will knock the dragons unconscious if they come into contact with them, thus making it impossible for them to escape.
China is finally ready for the world to find out about the zoo that they have been working on for the past few decades, but the captive dragons are much more intelligent than the Chinese have bargained for. Little do the unsuspecting tour group know, but the dragons have been plotting to cause utter mayhem and destruction, escape the domes and fly into the outside world. One moment the group are travelling safely in a cable car, the next they are torn out of the sky and are thrust into a race for survival. CJ takes the lead and tries to keep herself, and everyone else alive. But CJ and the gang don't just have the dragons to worry about; the Chinese are not going to let the news of this disaster get out and don’t want to leave any witnesses.
What can I say other than… holy crap this book was freaking amazing!! In the first 100 pages the scene was set perfectly, giving the reader all the information they need to understand the situation, then BAM! The action starts and it just doesn't stop!
CJ is such an awesome female lead. She's not your conventional action hero. A vet with some field training with crocodiles and a large scar down the side of her face from a previous encounter with a particularly nasty croc. But she takes up the mantle when the others start to panic and does a pretty good job at keeping herself and (some of) the others alive (there are flesh-eating dragons, of course there are going to be some casualties!) CJ has to think on her feet whilst running from the dragons and the Chinese and also has to figure out a way to stop the larger and potentially world-ending plot that she uncovers along the way.
From about 100 pages in I could literally just not put this book down. The action was so fast-paced and so well written that as soon as I finished a chapter I just wanted more, and before I knew it I'd read the whole book. I loved the characters, especially CJ and Johnson, and a little part of me died along with some of the rest of the group's gory demises.
I loved the little maps and diagrams inserted throughout the chapters. They were a really useful visual aid for the reader to see the layout of the zoo and where the dragons were grouping. The images were a little small and grainy which made the writing difficult to read, but that may just be because mine was a proof copy, so they may be clearer in the finished book.
When they make a film of this (which they have to do because it’s so brilliant!) I wanna get to audition for CJ because she's a seriously badass action chick, and who doesn't want to be in a film with dragons?! So if you’re reading this Mr Reilly, please make that happen for me ;)
Seriously though, this was such a great read and I'd truly recommend it to anyone looking for a good action thriller with a bit of a prehistoric twist. Maybe stay away if you’re not too keen on gore though.
I would give this book 5 stars :)
Let me know in the comments if you have or are planning to read this! Also, what do you love about dragons, and why do you think so many writers love to tell stories about these fascinating mythical beasts?
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