The Great Zoo of China (2014) – Matthew Reilly


I go long stretches of time without picking up a Matthew Reilly book. In fact, the last time I did, was before I started the weekly Book Shelf update here on the blog. But then when I do pick one up, I race through them, and find myself craving more. More NOW.

The downside is, I only have one more book of his to read until he publishes his next one, so now the Reilly Withdrawls kick in.

The Great Zoo of China is wonderfully typical Reilly fare, straining credulity, with only the smallest seeds of possibility placed throughout that grow into fruitful explosions of action beats, impossible set pieces, and stunning revelations. And, as usual, I couldn’t put it down.

Reptile expert, CJ Cameron, and her potographer and brother, Hamish, are given an assignment by National Geographic. They’ve been invited, along with a select few to cover an opening in China. Wrapped in secrecy, with no expense spared, they arrive at a remote man-made crater, the soon to be opened Great Zoo of China.

It contains one species of animal only, and there are plenty of them.


Don’t roll your eyes.


Did you read the part where I said the smallest seeds of possibility? Reilly plants them early, and expands on them, tying them into they story, and mythology, to explain the existence of these rarely seen creatures. It’s enough to suspend disbelief and buckle up, because you just know that a zoo filled with dragons is going to go pear-shaped, just like that famous park filled with dinosaurs.

Well aware that he’s treading territory previously explored, Reilly makes his nods to Crichton’s Jurassic Park, as do his characters, before things spin completely, incredibly, out of control in this non-stop, can’t catch your breath, rollercoaster of a novel.

As in previous adventures, Reilly puts his protaganist into action-filled scenarios, and then rachets up the action to unbelievable, adrenaline-inducing levels, and it proves to be a helluva ride, as CJ, her brother, and compatriots confront what may be the ultimate predator, with the barest of tools to survive.

With the threat of death on all sides, coming from man and beast, CJ out thinks, out maneuvers, and out runs, one obstacle after another, trying to survive a park that is the Chinese bid to mark themselves as the greatest nation in the world.

And if they can’t be, well, they have an option for that as well…

This is a summer blockbuster, in book form, and it’s just a fun ride. As soon as I finished it, I wanted another Reilly book to read, and there is one in my book pile at home, his latest, The Tournament.

I have no doubts it will see me through, doesn’t change the fact that I want more Reilly books, NOW!!

Check it out!


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