Book Review – The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly

The Great Zoo of China
by Matthew Reilly
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: January 27, 2015


When it comes to action-fiction, NOBODY does it better than Australian author Matthew Reilly. I say that for several reasons. First and foremost, the proof is in the numbers: Reilly’s books are published in over 20 languages with worldwide sales of over 7 million copies. Secondly, some of his fellow authors state the same thing. For example, Vince Flynn has said, “Nobody writes action like Matthew Reilly.” And finally, I am personally a huge fan of the guy…he is, in fact, the author who inspired me to finish my first book several years ago.

For these reasons, you can imagine my delight and surprise when the fine folks at Gallery Books offered me one of the greatest honors I’ve ever received: the chance to review Matthew Reilly’s upcoming book, THE GREAT ZOO OF CHINA. This moment was literally a dream come true. And, as expected, Reilly does not disappoint. This book delivers the same adrenaline-fueled rush that has become his trademark style.

If you are not familiar with THE GREAT ZOO OF CHINA, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Gallery Books:

It is a secret the Chinese government has been keeping for forty 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. Of course it can’t…

For those of you who have never read a Matthew Reilly novel, you are truly missing out. Reilly packs a lot of punch in every novel, and his breakneck action scenes will leave you breathless. But in addition to intensity, Reilly offers many unique and original story ideas.

THE GREAT ZOO OF CHINA is written well and flows at a rapid pace with Reilly’s quicksilver writing style leading the way. Reilly does an excellent job of giving minimal description, but with enough information so as to create a clear picture in the reader’s mind. This allows for a deeper immersion into the action, which translates to a more vivid, realistic experience.

The characters in THE GREAT ZOO OF CHINA are well fleshed-out and believable. I particularly like the spunky heroine, CJ. In his other novels, Reilly’s women tend to be tough-as-nails solider-types for the most part, but he detours from that here. CJ is different, in that she has a softer, more feminine aspect than most other female characters he has written. Make no mistake, though: she’s still a bad-ass!

The storyline is very well thought-out, and I like the originality it boasts. The plot does contain a couple of similarities to JURASSIC PARK, but primarily only in that Reilly’s book is set in a similar zoo/park. Everything else is pure Reilly, which means it is Grade A Excellence.

THE GREAT ZOO OF CHINA is another huge win for Matthew Reilly, and it’s a perfect book for the adrenaline junkie in your life. If you’re not familiar with Reilly’s work, this is the perfect book to start with; and if you’re a veteran of his books like me, this is yet one more enthralling title to add to your library. Regardless, pick up a copy of this book ASAP, once it hits store shelves in January. It is a thrill-ride you won’t forget.


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