The Great Zoo of China – Matthew Reilly

The Great Zoo of China – Matthew Reilly

Jurassic Park but with Dragons, that’s all i needed to know to wanna grab this book. i have never read anything by this author before but after this one I think I will be seeking out some of his other work. Also helps we have the same name and live in the same city.

What really resonated with me strongly about this book and in turn increased its appeal to me was that the impression you get when reading it is that he really did his research on this. He had a thorough and detailed explanation as to how dragons are real, where there place on the fossil record is(technically a dinosaur but closely related to crocodiles) and how they survived so long. He even linked this story with all the mythology and stories of dragons of old. This detail was what really sold me and made me think just maybe this could be true. I think the key to a strong story is that you have to believe what your reading and really feel for the characters.

The icing on the cake was it being set in china, totally believable that the Chinese would go over the top and bank roll something this audacious. It would never happen in the US. Politics and media would get wind and kill it before it started. China is such a powerhouse now, they are on the right track to overtake the US in terms of superpower status. Another aspect that sold the story and probably the most critical was the female lead. Sometimes you get a story where the lead just does things you don’t in reality think would occur. Reading the interview in the back of the book it mentions that this was the first female lead the author has had in his books. I am of the firm belief that the story dictates who the lead is and not society. Authors shouldn’t write a story with a female lead just to keep people happy as it just feels put on and you can tell they put it in there to keep people happy. But this story wouldn’t of worked with a male. They would of been pig headed and macho and would of got themselves killed doing something stupid. The female lead however took a different approach than one would assume she was level headed and analytical. This behavior made the story just that much better.

Truth be told anyone who has seen or read Jurassic Park knows exactly what is going to happen in this book, and as i turn each page i find myself thinking is it now? Eventually to my glee all hell breaks loose and we are led on a wild ride as we follow our heroes as they try and escape the park.

After reading this I really feel I need to look out for some more Aussie writers. I mean lets be honest our film industry doesnt have the money like hollywood, hence our movies arent the big block busters with special effects but books now thats a level playing field its just words on a page the only limit is their imagination

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy parts 2-5 – Douglas Adams

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy parts 2-5 – Douglas Adams

Sad to say i am one of those people who never read the books till after i had seen the movie. I just never had an overwhelming desire to read them. The movie itself was ok but then that put me in a weird situation. As is always the case the movie is different from the books (granted at that time i didn’t know this) So awhile back i actually finally got around to reading the first book and as i mentioned in an early post the book finishes its story part way through the movie. This confused and intrigued me. Google showed me the error of my ways and that there were 4 more books in the series. Found them at quite a good bargain as well.

The Restaurant at the end of the universe pretty much starts off right where the first one ended, it is pretty much close in tone with the original book but the later books go off on such a tangent it is hard to recognize what is going on. Sometimes i’m finding myself having to flick back pages to rediscover what the heck just happened. The books involve time travel, splitting our adventures off into different groups and stories. parallel universes, multiple earths my mind almost implodes trying to keep track of it all but sadly somewhere along the way it stopped being fun to read the books and just became a chore, as in i must finish this book, not i want to finish this book.

The later books bizarre and changing story lines is what lost me, If not for the humour throughout the books i may well of just stopped reading them altogether. I really think the books lost something along the way. I cant quite put my finger on it but that flair and pizzazz is gone.

The books do fall short of their predecessor to the point i feel the series was better on its own with one book than with these subsequent ones.

i just simply didn’t enjoy them

The Cloud – Ray Hammond

The Cloud – Ray Hammond

Part of me keeps telling myself, to stop buying books just because of there cover. Most of the time the author doesn’t have much say in regards to the cover. So it isn’t always a true reflection of the story nor represent an image that actually takes place in the story. but it can contain powerful images that capture your imagination. I am probably fortunate that for most of the time choosing books by the cover has worked for me.

For the fact that the front cover had an image of a storm in a cars rear view mirror yet the back cover blurb talked of a storm in space, is what really peaked my interest. The book was reasonably priced so i thought why not.

The book starts much like many others in regards to a signal received from space such as contact or species. However the difference here is the signal is not decoded but yet we still reply. I took issue with this. Why/how would we respond to a message when we didn’t know what the message was about. In reality i am sure we would wait until the message was decoded before replying. A signal received from space in essence is a sign of intelligence, it show a lack of intelligence to reply without understanding the message.

The story then moves forward in time. the reason of course is the source of the signal is like 15 light years away, so it takes 15 years for our signal to get there and then 15 years for the response to come back. So just when we thought we would hear a response back the original signal switches off… This is when the cloud is detected. While not wanting to give too much away. It is interesting to note that we always seem to picture a signal from space with allot of fear. Is it just a plot device or do we truly believe that if we hear anything from another civilization that they would be aggressive and want to attack. To be honest this is highly doubtful as the length of time required for interstellar travel is enormous. Its dubious at best that someone would go through the centuries long journey just to attack. what would be the tactical point in that?

It is interesting to note that even in real life we only talk of receiving a signal and not sending. Granted we have sent one signal called the Arecibo message but that was aimed at a target more that 25000 light years away and was more a test of equipment than an actual attempt to communicate. My point is if we are only listening, who’s to say that other civilizations are only listening. If no one is talking how can we hear them.  (we can ignore the fact that all our TV transmission are being through space right now)

This story was still a great thrill ride, and has quite a heart pounding race to the last second kind of finish to it. thoroughly enjoyed it, and will keep an eye out for this authors works in the future