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The Great Zoo of China

Discussion in 'TV, Movies, Books about Zoos & Wildlife' started by snowleopard, 28 Jan 2015.

  1. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Any zoo with dragons would be fantastic to visit:

    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Great-Zoo-China-Matthew-Reilly/dp/1476749558/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1422417793&sr=1-1&keywords=the+great+zoo+of+china]Amazon.com: The Great Zoo of China (9781476749556): Matthew Reilly: Books[/ame]
     
  2. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    Have you read this SL? I got it for Christmas, but have yet to read it. Matthew Reilly writes a lot of fast-paced action books, so it will be interesting to see what its like, I'm imagining a Jurassic Park-esque plot.
     
  3. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I have not read the book but when you finish it later this year then a mini-review would be greatly appreciated.:)
     
  4. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    So I read the book. And basically it says that visiting a zoo with dragons would be disastrous rather than fantastic. And that you will probably die, unless you are very smart and knowledgeable about reptiles...

    The story is about a group of Americans who are given a press tour of "The Great (Dragon) Zoo of China", which is China's Disneyland and attempt to dominate world culture (the last thing it needs to do to replace America as the ultimate superpower). Its taken a while to build, and there's been a few "incidents" since they found dragons a few decades ago, but its now almost ready to open to the public. But while the Americans are on their amazing tour, stuff goes very wrong, and the secured dragons become no longer secured. Cue massive and brutal bloodshed, mayhem and destruction, and an insanely high body count, which are all hallmarks of Matthew Reilly's writing. I did enjoy the book, its very fast-paced and violent, and a fairly quick read. Some of the backstory concerning the dragons' origins and biology are rather unbelieveable (as in Jurassic Park), but beyond that the story is great. Its obvious parallels to JP are not a major issue, the story is quite different and the tone couldn't be less similar. Overall, worth a read, and the ideas for zoo design are kind of interesting, some quite novel, although I can't see them suiting many species. :cool:
     
  5. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Moderator Staff Member

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    I had been looking forward to reading this book for a while, as it combines a number of things for me. Zoos are a passion obviously, as is the fantasy/sci-fi setting. China has become my home. Lastly, the author Matthew Reilly is a guilty pleasure, because his books are just so ridiculously fast-paced that I find them hilariously fun to read. That might be a slightly back-handed compliment but it is a compliment nonetheless.
    If you enjoy fast-paced action thrillers then you will enjoy this book. Unlike zooboy28 I think this book is actually very similar to Jurassic Park. Or more accurately it is very similar to Jurassic World. Such that with some tweaking it could easily serve as the basis for a sequel. So if you like the JP book/films and don't mind a similar setting this book will probably please. I don't think there is enough in it about being a zoo to justify reading it if that is your only reason.

    I have only three major problems with the book (because I am happy to swallow a lot of pseudoscience!). One is a plot hole right at the end that I won't explain because of spoilers. It doesn't really affect the story, but it is quite jarring when you spot it.
    The second is that the dragons are hexapodal reptilians. In a setting that tries to place them within the tree of life as we know it this is kind of a huge problem.
    Lastly early on there is an assertion that crocodiles are smarter than apes. This was news to me!

    In terms of zoos the only significant innovation is the idea that instead of having a physical containment barrier the animals have an implant that delivers a shock when they attempt to exit the 'exhibit area' (IIRC JW also has this but I think this book predates the film). The way the book achieves this is stupid, but it could be easily achieved today using either a simple radio signal or more likely (and better) GPS. The ethics of this could be debated, but as long as it works it seems fundamentally similar to an electric fence. But obviously the potential for problems seems more significant, and there are also other issues with having no physical barrier at all between visitor and animal. Nonetheless I wouldn't be surprised to see something like this in real life in the future.

    Just reading this thread or any review should give you a good idea of whether you might enjoy this book. If the answer is yes then I'm confident you won't be disappointed. On a completely arbitrary scale I gave it a 4/5.