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.
I received an advance review copy from publisher via NetGalley. A HUGE thank you to NetGalley & the publisher for this opportunity to read and review.
So... very... gory. Geez. I remember reading Jurassic Park (and let's face it, if someone doesn't say Jurassic Park and Great Zoo of China in the same review, they have not read the book) and not feeling that grossed out. Honestly, do not eat while reading this book. With organs being shot out of people's mouths and faces being chomped off, its pretty gruesome at times.
I loved the main character, CJ. Go Girl Power. She was smart, tough, and not the typical looking leading lady. She has visible scars on her face from a near-fatal incident with a crocodile. However, I had to pause a couple times in the reading wondering "how does she know so much about wielding guns or creating mini flame throwers or hand-to-hand combat." Sure, she's had to deal with large crocodiles, so I get her ability to think through problems when facing wild animals, but some of the combat planning left me wondering who she really was instead of Greg Johnson. There were also a few too many "this is the end" moments where CJ was quickly & miraculously saved. Or a few times when I felt Greg Johnson should have been coming up with escape ideas (with his CIA experience and all).
The unveiling of the dragons lore was what made the story intriguing. I enjoyed the exploration of where dragons have been, how they live, and meeting Lucky. I think the CJ-Lucky duo should have happened earlier in the story. It really was an element that differentiated Great Zoo of China from Jurassic Park. Otherwise, I kept thinking the line from Jurassic Park "Life will find a way."
The book was also lacking in good humor. Some of the characters were interesting, but most of the book was rather sinister. It needed more lighthearted elements. And Lucky needed to more prominent in the book. Plus the gory deaths were not meaningful. There were only like 4 characters I did not want to die, the rest were red shirts. So there was no emotional tie in when these people died. And many character moments were predictable (you knew CJ was going to kiss someone on the cheek before the book was over).
Overall, the concept was interesting. There was a lot more political motivation behind the story than with JP. The dragon lore is fascinating and well thought out. But there were few characters to connect to, and the story was overwhelmed with bloody details. The plot moves like a bullet train which can be a plus, but it would have been nice to catch a breath every now and then between dragon feedings and dragon near-end-death moments. I would have like more good dragons, less evil dragon feasting on humans, and more character development opportunities.
Just released December 2016: "The Forgotten" volume 2 "Heir of the Heretic"
Reviewed and awarded the
2016 Indie Editor's Choice
by the Historical Novel Society.
Long listed for the Historical Novel Society 2017 Indie Award.
Goodreads profile at: https://www.goodreads.com/JElse