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The Great Zoo of China

The Great Zoo of China

3.8 48
by Matthew Reilly

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Now in mass-market—the action-packed thriller in the blockbuster and bestselling tradition of Jurassic Park from #1 internationally bestselling author Matthew Reilly!

It is a secret the Chinese government has been keeping for forty years. They have proven the existence of dragons—a landmark discovery no one could ever believe is real, and a


Now in mass-market—the action-packed thriller in the blockbuster and bestselling tradition of Jurassic Park from #1 internationally bestselling author Matthew Reilly!

It is a secret the Chinese government has been keeping for forty years. They have proven the existence of dragons—a landmark discovery no one could ever believe is real, and a scientific revelation that will amaze the world. Now the Chinese are ready to unveil their astonishing findings within the greatest zoo ever constructed.

A small group of VIPs and journalists has been brought to the zoo deep within China to see these 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 the dragons are perfectly safe, and that nothing can go wrong. Of course it can’t…

“Plenty of action....For over-the-top adventure addicts, a Reilly novel is like a new roller coaster opening at Great America. Lines form, fans swoon” (Booklist).

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this entertaining if derivative science thriller from bestseller Reilly (Scarecrow Returns), Chinese officials invite a group of Americans to the opening of a new, groundbreaking zoo in Guangdong Province. On arrival, the guests—who include the U.S. ambassador to China, a New York Times columnist, and the book’s plucky heroine, herpetologist CJ Cameron, who’s covering the event for National Geographic—are stunned to discover that the Chinese have somehow managed to populate the zoo with a “unique kind of dinosaur.” Cable car rides enable people to be right in the middle of flying dragons. Of course, electricity-based protective measures are supposed to insure their safety, but, inevitably, system failures send CJ and the others scrambling to survive. While some readers may consider this more of a rip-off than an homage to Jurassic Park, Reilly makes both the existence of the legendary beasts and the Chinese motivation to launch the project plausible. Agent: Suzanne Gluck, WME. (Jan.)
Kirkus Reviews
Dragons, crocodiles and Communist Party bureaucrats abound in Reilly's (Scarecrow Returns, 2012, etc.) latest thriller."China does big better than any other country, including America," says New York Times columnist Seymour Wolfe, one of a handful of Americans invited by the Chinese government to tour a new zoo, a massive project to rival the Great Wall in ambition and splendor. Also on the tour is CJ Cameron, who was a renowned herpetologist until an alligator attack left her scarred and wary of large reptiles. Little does she know how much she'll need to rely on her scientific expertise when the star attractions of the zoo are revealed to be 232 dragons living under electromagnetic domes in a man-made "primordial valley." There's little action in the first hundred pages of the book while the author tries to establish the scientific plausibility of dragons that have escaped detection in the modern world. The dragons are said to be archosaurs—with similar features to pterodactyls—that survived extinction 65 million years ago by hibernating beneath thick layers of nickel and zinc deposits. The Chinese have been working on observing, raising and training the dragons for 40 years, but of course, they underestimate the intelligence of these beasts, and things go horribly wrong. Despite the many encyclopedic explanations of reptilian biology and behavior, as well as maps and illustrations of the zoo's various areas and control rooms interspersed throughout the book, no amount of plausibility can overcome the lack of character development or the monotony of relentless action sequences. Although CJ is a smart and brave heroine, the other characters are virtually indistinguishable from one another, and none of the relationships are deepened. This is Jurassic Park retold, without enough of a twist to make the retelling seem necessary.

Product Details

Pocket Books
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
7.40(w) x 4.10(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Matthew Reilly is the New York Times and #1 international bestselling author of numerous novels, including The Tournament, The Great Zoo of China, The Five Greatest Warriors, The Six Sacred Stones, Seven Deadly Wonders, Ice Station, Temple, Contest, Area 7, Scarecrow, the children’s book Hover Car Racer, and the novella, Hell Island. His books have been published in more than twenty languages in twenty countries, and he has sold more than seven million copies worldwide. Visit him at MatthewReilly.com and at Facebook.com/OfficialMatthewReilly.

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The Great Zoo of China 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 48 reviews.
Bloggabook More than 1 year ago
Ok, first impression, Jurassic Park with dinosaurs. And yes, that is essential the plot but oh wow!  This is classic Reilly excitement times ten. I will the publisher had supplied some anxiety pills when they sent me this book to review. I barely put it down to eat turkey on Thanksgiving.  This is action, blood, action, dragons, chaos, explosions, humor, and action.  I tried to describe this book to my wife but instead just handed her my Kindle so she could experience it for herself. And that is what this story is, an experience. Like an amusement park ride on steroids.  Sure, there is some back story that makes these characters interactions with each other and the environment a little more meaningful but really, Dragons!  Now, when describing Jurassic Park you'll say, hey this is kind of like a slower paced Great Zoo of China except with dinosaurs instead of GREAT BIG DRAGONS.
jayfwms More than 1 year ago
This book has heart-in-your-throat excitement on every page. The story is highly imaginative, but extremely realistic. The descriptions are very detailed, and the text includes diagrams and maps that enhance the understanding and terror of the story. Whether it is a castle ruin, amphitheater, visitor's center or giant animal, the descriptions are so vivid that a mental picture quickly emerges. The characters are very human and it is easy to become engaged with them. New ideas about the interaction between humans and other animals, inter-species communication, and the intelligence of creatures add to the story and make perfect sense. This is a book you won't want to put down, and it will stay with you long after the story has ended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was like one of those cheap cheesy in house productions that the sci-fi channel makes. Characters had no depth. No tension or suspense. Just dragons chasing everyone around. Don't want to give anything away so I'll just say the situation toward the end with the heroine and some dragons was just so hokey. Great idea for a book. But the story just doesn't cut it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Action packed....need to catch mybreath.....movie worthy...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is an intense engaging read . It's non stop action! There are some softer, vulnerable moments which I love..... Someone mentioned Jurassic park. Yes there is a little similarity but think that was part of the plan . You'll see what I mean when you read it. And I think you should ! !!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is awesome, if only he'd write a sequel...loved it and will read it again and again!?????
RtBBlog More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Marissa Book provided by NetGalley for review Review originally posted at Romancing the Book The Great Zoo of China is most definitely of the can’t-put-it-down genre. A quarter of the way into the book, the action picked up to the point where it was non-stop. Luckily, I was traveling and at times either stuck in an airport or on a plane so I had plenty of time to turn the pages. I imagine I got plenty of odd looks every time my eyes got big and I muttered, “Oh my God…” I’m sure many comparisons will be made to Jurassic Park – a natural park setting in which extinct animals (or mythical, in this case) are brought to life and put on display for tourists only to cause mayhem and havoc. There the difference ends though. In the Great Zoo, the dragons are intelligent, problem-solving creatures. They are capable of planning escape and destruction. In fact, they not only plan it but they see the big picture of how to attain their freedom and they all work in unison to break the dome the holds them in. The heroine, CJ Cameron, is a reptilian veterinarian brought to China by state and zoo officials in the expectation of her giving glowing praises of their Great Zoo. CJ, whose field of expertise is crocodiles, has already seen first hand how cunning reptiles can be and is the first to realize a single dragon attack is not merely an anomaly but rather a prelude to something bigger. Much bigger as it turns out. CJ is a wonderful heroine. She’s one of the few that knows she has to keep her head in order to survive. Hamish, CJ’s brother, has come along for the ride as her official photographer and together they lead (most) everyone to survival. We don’t see much of Hamish but he comes across as charming and amusing, throwing out the occasional one-liner and playing off his sister beautifully. There are also a host of secondary characters – the Ambassador to China and his aide, a New York Times reporter, a Twitter reporter, the officials in charge of the zoo, and a young electrician who helps save the day. But the most important characters were the dragons. I love that there was more than one species of dragon and that each species had it’s own personality. The Red-Bellied Blacks are the cunning clan who started the uprising and have figured out how to get around the ultrasonic sound waves the zoo uses to hold them at bay. Their ingenuity just boggles the mind. I have never read anything by Reilly before but I am already hunting down his previous novels to catch up. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. If you need to get your breath-catching, heart-stopping read on, this is it! Favorite Quote: “The big red truck reached the edge of the runway and banked wildly as it sped around a crushed tank and, with its immense weight, smashed right through the remains of a burning troop truck.” By time I read the above line, I was at the end of my day-long travels and bone-tired. Instead of ‘burning troop truck’, my brain translated it as ‘burning poop truck’.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Reilly really knows how to write about something at a very fast pace - enjoyed the read
Andrew_of_Dunedin More than 1 year ago
Imagine that the fictional dragons of history aren't fictional. They're solo representatives of their hibernating race. Then, imagine that a nest containing 88 eggs hatched and emerged into the world – where they were captured by the Chinese and confined to a valley where they were to be displayed for the public … Yes, the basic premise of Matthew Reilly's “The Great Zoo of China” sounds a lot like Michael Crichton's “Jurassic Park”. He makes no secret of that fact, and even has one of the characters make allusions towards it. However, there is so much more to “The Great Zoo of China” than a simple clone of the earlier work. “The Great Zoo of China” stands as an excellent thriller in its own right. After a relatively short introduction, author Reilly jumps directly into the action – and the action feeds additional action, upon additional action. Reilly knows the difference between “thriller” and “suspense”, as well, and mixes the latter in on occasion. (To paraphrase Hitchcock – if a dragon leaps out of a cave's side tunnel, that's a thriller. If you know, or even suspect, that a dragon is in one of the side tunnels but don't know when it'll leap out, that's suspense.) Further, while Crichton's novel was driven by the various faces of capitalism, Reilly uses his to explore the emergence of China on the world stage. Under most circumstances, a thriller like “The Great Zoo of China” would get the highest rankings for its effective use of thrills, timing, and morality. However, as it is impossible to read this book without having the shadow of Crichton's T-Rex loom over both it and the reader, I cannot do that. The author is responsible for giving his or her work a uniqueness, and Reilly did not quite accomplish what in this case was an incredible daunting task. RATING: 4 stars
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yes, another Jurassic Park rip-off. Similar plot line. Animals get by security, etc. Much more action in this one however. Pretty much non stop. Although I have a healthy imagination, I do like to think that the plot line is at least possible. Not with this book though. without being a spoiler, the way the dragons get by security, and their intelligence, is utterly unbelievable to me. With that in mind, it is still an entertaining read for those who do not mind suspending their beliefs in the possible.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book,he has done it again! Cant wait to read the ones i have missed. Keep up the good work!
BasingstoneBook More than 1 year ago
A lot of readers seem to miss the point of this book, it is one hundred percent entertainment. If you ponder to much on whether or not it could be true you are wasting energy, it is fiction. The author has written a fantastic story all senses of the word but it is fast moving, lots of action and a credible plot. We all know the Chinese want to proud of their nation and will go to extremes to demonstrate it. It is a bit like the Great Wall of China, we know it is real but your mind struggles to get around how they built it. This story is a bit like this, they have kept a secret for forty years, how could no one know? Matthew Reilly cleverly exploits all the advancement in technology and wealth that China has made in recent years to turn out one of the most enjoyable books I have read recently.
SherDEMomma More than 1 year ago
Wow! Just…Wow! If this was a movie I would definitely go see it. Reminds me of Jurrasic Park, except instead of numerous different kinds of dinosaurs you have Dragons. There were times when I was alternating between saying “Oh crap! Oh crap!” and “ohmygodohmygodohmygod!” and catching myself holding my breath. If it weren’t for real life butting in the way, I don’t doubt I would have read this story from start to finish in one non-stop reading binge; it was that good! I will definitely be adding this to my “Have To Buy” List.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read Jurassic Park and The Lost World a while before reading this book and I have to admit I was extremely skeptical. It sounds like a hardcore knock-off, and it pretty much is (but ya know, with dragons), but after reading the sample I was immediately hooked. I wish they'd focused more on the scientifics of it all and less on the gore though. I feel like he could've gone into some amazing detail. Other than that, I will admit that the plot was incredibly fast paced and had me practically eating up the pages like candy.
TheBibliophilicBookBlog More than 1 year ago
THE GREAT ZOO OF CHINA is a fast paced thriller and very quick read. While THE GREAT ZOO OF CHINA doesn’t have the scientific chops of a book like JURASSIC PARK, it’s an explosive adventure novel which you can just sit back and enjoy without thinking too hard. Most of the secondary characters were pretty much interchangeable and there’s not a lot of character development throughout the story. While I liked the main character, CJ Cameron, my favorite character was Lucky. I’ve read a lot of other Matthew Reilly books and THE GREAT ZOO OF CHINA is a bit different than his normal fare, but it has the same rip-roaring action. If you’re willing to suspend some disbelief, I think you’ll like THE GREAT ZOO OF CHINA.
Laine-librariancanreadtoo More than 1 year ago
Scientist has always tried to outdo each other. Trying to find a cure for everything and anything. If someone says it CAN'T be done scientists want to try and prove that they CAN. Of course, sometimes it shouldn't be done in the first place but most scientists won't look at that aspect of things.  If it can be remade, it should be made. I believe Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park movie said it best when he stated: "...the problem with  the scientific power that you're using here, it didn't require any discipline to attain it. You read what others had done and you took the next step. You didn't earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don't take any responsibility for it." And that is the problem with most scientists today. But what if.......what if scientists were able to accomplish something so great? Who are we to stop progress? We love to invent things, we love to see things come back alive, so who are we to stop it from becoming something so real, so alive? And if they did so make it real, so alive why shouldn't they share it with the rest of the world? The world has the right to know of all things and they should be able to partake in the enjoyment of something so alive. What could go wrong? China has been keeping a big secret from the world for over 40 years. Even from their own. Some think it's bombs. Some think it's just a training facility. Some think it's just another tourist attraction like Disney World. China has always tried to be a step ahead of it's Western neighbors and a grand tourist attraction would be great. But for it to make the final step, the officials at this "secret attraction" they have enlisted a few American officials, a few American scientists and even an expert of reptiles. Why these kind of people and why show their "secret attraction" now? Well,  like any great scientists they have to boast about what they have invented. As the new arrivals show up they can't believe what they are seeing. It's just to surreal, it's hard to imagine anything like this could ever have been created. That's when everything goes south and they start to ask themselves why in God's name was this created? Interesting that scientists don't ask these questions before actually making things! If you are a lover of the blockbuster Jurassic Park, than this is the book for you!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LCS1 More than 1 year ago
Feel like this was written to be a teen "thriller" with lots of blood and guts instead of an in depth story.  The heroine needs a cape to be complete.  This is sort of a zombie book with dragons instead of  zombies.  If you are a serious reader, skip this one.  
Varnerd More than 1 year ago
Simply put..I loved every page of this book.  The beginning, middle and end flowed seamlessly in an action packed adventure for the characters and readers.  I love books, all kind of books, and this is easily one of my favorites.  To showcase this, I read, I review, I blog and mention them to friends and people on social media in passing.  Not this one.  No the second I finished I was talking to my family and was like I have to tell you about this story!  I had not read this author's work previously, but I can tell you I already have several of his other adventures on my TBR list. CJ is the main character in this adventure and she is a true dynamo.  She doesn't back down, tries to help others, stays true to herself and kicks some major booty as she does so.  I enjoyed how Matthew Reilly (MR) wrote her thought process into the story line.  It was fascinating to see her make the connections of how the dragons would react, fight, etc. to her studies of the crocodile.  Along with CJ was her brother Hamish, the US Ambassador to China, his aide and more characters whose fully developed characters and story lines were instrumental in how full bodied and enjoyable this story was!  I was waiting for a loop with one of the characters, but was not expecting what MR delivered mid way through the book! Additionally this book displayed quite a few different types of relationships.  I was torn between my favorite, but as I write this I think I will say my favorite relationship that developed would be between CJ and Lucky. (I can't help it, I am an animal lover:)-!!)  The other two relationships were CJ and her brother (how fun would it be to have a brother and nicknames Chickmunk and Bear?..seriously though).  The love, respect and just fun interactions between them epitomize what everyone hopes to see between siblings. I do not want to write much about the dragons or the events of the story because I think everyone should read this book and experience the world MR creates with this adventure.  I would love to see this as a movie because my goodness the visual effects that would be necessary to create these majestic dragons, the castles, the zoos, the crocodiles, etc. would be breathtaking.  I will end my review with praise for how this story was able to take myths and utilizing today's global political climate along with the idea of climate change or at least changes in climate/temperate times create a realistic (not just mythical) and interesting take on how dragons could exist and thrive in actuality.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read. Action and aventre every bit a good as te Scarecrow Jack West books. I highly recommend it.
phalanxdragoon More than 1 year ago
Interesting concept, fun read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book very entertaining and exciting. Good story, lots of peril. Enjoy. Kat
bobbyjJC More than 1 year ago
Not as good as his scarecrow books. But has lot's of action.