The Great Zoo of China

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books That Take Place in Another Country

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic was made for me! I’m attempting to read a book from every country in the world before I’m 30, this is the Read the World Project, so I’ve read some great books that take place outside of the UK. Here are ten of my favourites I’ve read for that challenge and just generally.

Frangipani by Célestine Hitiura Vaite
I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this book a lot now but it’s just so nice. Set in Tahiti, it’s about the relationship between a mother and daughter and their lives spanning about thirty years. It’s like an insight to a normal family’s life, it’s got the highs and lows but it’s also funny and never overly dramatic.

The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Riley
This book was like an action film playing in my head. Set in China, it’s revealed that scientists have actually created dragons, but of course, things don’t go to plan, nature can’t be controlled and the special guest have to survive when the dragons go on the rampage. It’s like Jurassic Park but with dragons and is a lot of fun.

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Set in South Korea and Japan, Pachinko follows one family through the generations and you get to see how their lives change, for the good and the bad, and time moves on and they are affected by some major historical events. (more…)

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TOP TEN TUESDAY: Top Ten Books of 2016

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature run by BrokeAndBookish each week. As 2016 is coming to a close, this week’s theme is all about our favourite books of the year. I didn’t really get much reading done in the last few months of the year, I started a new job and couldn’t really get into any of the books I was picking up but I did read some good books in 2016. So below, in no particular order, are my ten favourite books I read this year – the links in the book titles go to their reviews where you can find out more about why I liked them so much.

The Murdstone Trilogy by Mal Peet
This book was unlike anything I’d read before. It’s the perfect commentary on the fantasy genre and it’s a very funny read as well.

The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson
This was one of the first books I read this year and it stuck with me a long time after I finished it.

Asking for It by Louise O’Neill
This was such a tough read but it was still a really good and important book. It is often a frustrating book with a frustrating and unlikable protagonist but that makes it all the more interesting and memorable. (more…)

REVIEW: The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly

FullSizeRenderBeing a skilled vet who specialises in reptiles, CJ Cameron is difficult to faze. When the Chinese government invite her and some other respected guests to the unveiling of their magnificent, top-secret zoo, CJ is intrigued but not expecting anything too different. Then the Chinese announce what is really going to be in the zoo. For decades, they’ve been breeding deadly creatures believed to be the stuff of myth. Despite the danger, the staff at the zoo stress that everyone is safe and they’ve prepared for every eventuality. But CJ spots flaws in the zoo’s security and believes it’s only a matter of time before the beasts break free.

The Great Zoo of China is a thrill ride from start to finish. There’s a great build up of anticipation as CJ and the other guests, including her photographer brother Hamish, arrive at the zoo and finally realise what the Chinese have on offer for the public and soon after all Hell breaks loose. Once the inevitable happens and the animals break free, the action is non-stop and the book speeds along as you’re with this group of characters and you just know that it’s not particularly likely that they’ll all survive.

Now I don’t think it’s a spoiler considering what’s on the cover and how the books been marketing but the deadly creatures in question are indeed dragons. These creatures are described as terrifying and deadly animals akin to the dinosaurs because that’s what they are. They are smart creatures and are described so vividly you can picture all the different types of dragons in your head easily. The Great Zoo of China doesn’t hold back when everything goes wrong. There are people torn or bitten in half and blood is splattered everywhere when the dragon attack.

CJ is a badass and a great protagonist. She’s calm under pressure, especially as she’s already had some experience of being in a struggle with a deadly creature with a lot of teeth, and she’s good at making the best out of a bad situation. Some might think she’s a Mary Sue but you could say the same think about Indiana Jones.

While I’ll admit The Great Zoo of China is no literary masterpiece, the science side of it is semi-plausible which is always a plus and it is a lot of fun and exciting. If you love Jurassic Park then this book will be right up your street. 5/5.