The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly–Book Review

 

Goodreads Blurb 

GET READY FOR ACTION ON A GIGANTIC SCALE

A high-concept, action-packed thriller from the bestselling author of SCARECROW AND THE ARMY OF THIEVES.

It is a secret the Chinese government has been keeping for 40 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…

 

My Review

Rating: 4*

I always look forward to a new Matthew Reilly book and I’ve been spoilt of late. First, there was the pleasure of The Four Lengendary Kingdoms which I listened to in December, then this book, and I have just downloaded The Tournament which I will be listening to next. I mention these other books here to highlight the versatility of this author and how his writing is constantly evolving and improving. One thing that remains the same throughout all of his books, however, is how much fun they are!

What was different about this book is CJ, the first female lead in a Matthew Reilly action book. Matthew Reilly never spends much time delving into the depths of his characters personality and yet, throughout the course of his stories his characters come to life and their personalities shine through. CJ as the hero was no different, except maybe she’s a little more ordinary than Scarecrow and Jack West Jnr, which just goes to make her feats of derring-do all the more impressive. She’s kick-ass, intelligent and brave and I hope we see more of her in the future. I’d like to see where Mr Reilly takes her.

As far as the story itself goes—well, that’s a little more tricky to describe. Let’s say it’s a slightly different take on a story we’ve been told many times before. Comparisons with Jurassic Park are inevitable but I think Reilly’s attention to the details of his creations just about makes it work. And let me tell you, once the action gets going it doesn’t let up, not for a minute. The stage is big, the players are huge and the action is relentless.

All told, it’s not one of my favourites but it’s a solid addition to the Matthew Reilly catalogue that gave me two days of fun.

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The Four Legendary Kingdoms by Matthew Reilly–Book Review

 

Goodreads Blurb

There are 16 contestants, but only one will survive.

The last thing Jack West Jr remembers is arriving for a meeting at a top-secret military base with his family in tow. Now he awakens to find himself in a hellish scenario.
Jack has been selected to take part in the Games, a series of deadly challenges designed to fulfil an ancient ritual. If he chooses not to compete, both he and his daughter will be killed.

With the fate of the earth at stake, Jack will have to traverse diabolical mazes, fight ruthless assassins and face unimaginable horrors that will test him to the limit. In the process he will discover the mysterious and powerful group of individuals behind it all: the four legendary kingdoms.

 

My Review

Rating: 5*

I cannot begin to describe my excitement over this book!

Maybe it’s because I haven’t read a good action book in a while. Maybe it’s because it feels like ages since Matthew Reilly‘s last Jack West Jnr book. Actually, it has been ages since his last Jack West Jnr book. Eight long years, to be precise. But now I’m rambling. And I’m rambling because, not only is this another adrenaline-fuelled rip-roaring yarn from one of the best action story tellers out there, it also has the mother of all spoilers that I really want to tell you about but absolutely won’t! I can’t! I mustn’t!

What I can talk about is how much I loved the premise of this book. It has a slight feel of the Hunger Games but for adults. Jack, amongst others, is kidnapped and taken to an arena in order to take part in the Hydra Games. In short, nine spheres have to be acquired from the arena—whilst also surviving what the arena throws at you—in order to save the world. The arena is creative, imaginative and utterly without mercy. The odds are definitely stacked against Jack in this one. And if you thought the Hunger Games were brutal, this is brutal squared. I don’t know how he does it but just when you think Matthew Reilly has taken Jack to the point of no return he pulls it out the bag.

One of the pluses of having waited so long for the next Jack West Jnr book is that Lily, Jack’s adopted daughter is now twenty and has a featuring role in this story. It was also cool to catch up with Stretch and Pooh Bear. I was totally absorbed by this book right from the beginning even if much of the foundation idea is somewhat unbelievable.

But that’s exactly what makes a Matthew Reilly book so engaging. You leave your disbelief at the door and hop on board the Matthew Reilly Crazy-train to Funsville.

Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves (Scarecrow #5) by Matthew Reilly, Book Review

Goodreads Blurb

At an abandoned Soviet base in the Arctic, the battle to save the world has begun…

THE SECRET BASE

It is a top-secret base known only as Dragon Island. A long-forgotten relic of the Cold War, it houses a weapon of terrible destructive force, a weapon that has just been re-activated…

A RENEGADE ARMY

When Dragon Island is seized by a brutal terrorist force calling itself the Army of Thieves, the fate of the world hangs in the balance, and there are no crack units close enough to get there in time to stop the Army setting off the weapon.

ONE SMALL TEAM

Except, that is, for a small equipment-testing team up in the Arctic led by a Marine captain named Schofield, call-sign SCARECROW. It’s not a strike force; just a handful of Marines and civilians. It’s not equipped to attack a fortified island held by a vicious army. But Scarecrow will lead the team in anyway, because someone has to.

THE ULTIMATE HERO IS BACK, FACING THE ULTIMATE ARMY OF VILLAINS.

 

My Review

Rating: 5*

I absolutely loved this book. Matthew Reilly is my favourite action writer. He has the ability to grab you by the throat and not let go until the book is finished.

I have to say I’m really glad Scarecrow is back, I’ve missed him. The title is a bit naff but that does not reflect on the contents at all. The Army of Thieves picks up from where the last one left off. 

Scarecrow has been sent to the Arctic to test prototype equipment, almost as a punishment for his escapades. The French are out for his blood and it makes sense to have him as far away as possible. It also means he is there with a mixture of Army guys and civilians.

This sets things up very well for what is to come, though I will not give away any spoilers about the story. Permit me to say, though, how happy I was to see the return of Mother, and the additions of Baba and Bertie were inspired (I love Bertie!!!). I’ll be interested to see what happens with Champion as well.

Please remember, Matthew Reilly writes FICTION. You must temporarily suspend belief when reading one of his books. They are not intended to be educational aids. They are FUN!!! And boy, is this book fun.

I must caution you, though, there are some torture scenes that are extremely graphic and even I found myself skimming those pages. However, they are not purely gratuitous so don’t be put off.

I hope this is not the last we see of Scarecrow, Mother, Baba and Bertie. It was a roller-coaster read that I didn’t put down until it was finished.