Friday, 31 July 2015

The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly

The Jurassic World of China, but with a lot more casualties, and dragons instead of dinosaurs.

The introduction is spot on when it comes to stereotypical preconceptions about China and its people. Which things automatically come to mind when you think of certain countries, and I can wager one of those things will be a black and white bamboo noshing bear.

C.J. is a herpetologist, and no that doesn't mean what you think it means, and has been called in for her expertise on reptiles (told ya). Talking about reptiles, I had no idea crocodiles had great memories and are intelligent enough to set traps days in advance.

China is quite adept at keeping the lid on any kind of negative press, especially inside their own country. They have a  a firewall on the internet and exclude information to change the historical narrative of their own country.

If I were to look up Tiananmen Square China from inside China I would find information on the most enjoyable tourist spot and not information on the site of a massacre. Luckily for everyone outside of the dark abyss, they can't change our memory of historical events, however it is an example of how easy it is for governments and countries to do exactly that. Change and form past events for future minds.

Reilly has combined fact with fiction in a way that may just make you wonder how probable the scenario is. I liked the way he has worked various cultural myths and literary quotes into the story.
Personally I think the dragons act like flying raptors, hunting in groups and communicating intelligently with each other, all with the end goal of eating tasty humans.

I think the real star of the book is Lucky, her fighting spirit and get go attitude are a bright light in this otherwise quite gruesome feast for the winged beasts.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.

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