Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
Reilly's (Area 7; Scarecrow) new thriller is more along the veins of sf/fantasy set in modern-day China. Looking to become a truly dominant cultural power player, China has developed a method to breed dragons. Its Great Zoo houses a wide variety of dragons, and noted herpetologist and National Geographic writer CJ Cameron has been invited to the undisclosed location, along with other government and news notables to report on these creatures. But as with Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park, things don't go according to plan. There is little of the thriller in these pages-the outcomes, such as the resulting deaths, are not unexpected,. The only surprising twist is CJ's discovery that she can communicate with these creatures. Verdict Despite the lack of originality of Reilly's plot, his fans may still enjoy it as will readers who love sf/fantasy tales, especially those involving dragons.-Michelle Martinez, Sam Houston State Univ. Lib., Huntsville, TX (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
In this entertaining if derivative science thriller from bestseller Reilly (Scarecrow Returns), Chinese officials invite a group of Americans to the opening of a new, groundbreaking zoo in Guangdong Province. On arrival, the guests-who include the U.S. ambassador to China, a New York Times columnist, and the book's plucky heroine, herpetologist CJ Cameron, who's covering the event for National Geographic-are stunned to discover that the Chinese have somehow managed to populate the zoo with a "unique kind of dinosaur." Cable car rides enable people to be right in the middle of flying dragons. Of course, electricity-based protective measures are supposed to insure their safety, but, inevitably, system failures send CJ and the others scrambling to survive. While some readers may consider this more of a rip-off than an homage to Jurassic Park, Reilly makes both the existence of the legendary beasts and the Chinese motivation to launch the project plausible. Agent: Suzanne Gluck, WME. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Reilly, author of the Jack West Jr. action thrillers (and the earlier Shane Schofield series), gives his usual breathless performance here. A group of visitors to a new Chinese zoo among them, an American reptile expert, a New York Times columnist, and an ambassador's aide with a shadowy past are shocked to learn that the Chinese have discovered a creature that's always been considered mythological. More than that: they've created this zoo to keep the creatures penned in, no small feat since the creatures can fly. Naturally, the carefully planned visit goes awry almost immediately, leaving our group of visitors running for their lives, pursued by creatures whose one purpose is to eat them. Sure, this sounds a lot like Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park (1990), but let's just say Reilly is tapping into a literary theme, and move on. Taken on its own merits, the book delivers the usual Reilly goods: plenty of action, a variety of interesting characters, and some villains we can't wait to see get what's coming to them. It also delivers pacing that borders on frenetic, scene staging that reads like a screenplay, and punctuation that relies a little too much on exclamation marks. Still, for readers who like the feel of a slam-bang B-movie action thriller, Reilly does it as well as anyone. And who says there's anything wrong with slam-bang action anyway? HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: For over-the-top-adventure addicts, a Reilly novel is like a new roller-coaster opening at Great America. Lines form, fans swoon.--Pitt, David Copyright 2014 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
Dragons, crocodiles and Communist Party bureaucrats abound in Reilly's (Scarecrow Returns, 2012, etc.) latest thriller."China does big better than any other country, including America," says New York Times columnist Seymour Wolfe, one of a handful of Americans invited by the Chinese government to tour a new zoo, a massive project to rival the Great Wall in ambition and splendor. Also on the tour is CJ Cameron, who was a renowned herpetologist until an alligator attack left her scarred and wary of large reptiles. Little does she know how much she'll need to rely on her scientific expertise when the star attractions of the zoo are revealed to be 232 dragons living under electromagnetic domes in a man-made "primordial valley." There's little action in the first hundred pages of the book while the author tries to establish the scientific plausibility of dragons that have escaped detection in the modern world. The dragons are said to be archosaurswith similar features to pterodactylsthat survived extinction 65 million years ago by hibernating beneath thick layers of nickel and zinc deposits. The Chinese have been working on observing, raising and training the dragons for 40 years, but of course, they underestimate the intelligence of these beasts, and things go horribly wrong. Despite the many encyclopedic explanations of reptilian biology and behavior, as well as maps and illustrations of the zoo's various areas and control rooms interspersed throughout the book, no amount of plausibility can overcome the lack of character development or the monotony of relentless action sequences. Although CJ is a smart and brave heroine, the other characters are virtually indistinguishable from one another, and none of the relationships are deepened. This is Jurassic Park retold, without enough of a twist to make the retelling seem necessary. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.