Book Review – THE GREAT ZOO OF CHINA by Matthew Reilly

The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly

The Great Zoo of China Synopsis :

‘Now, I know what you are thinking,’ Hu Tang paused. ‘You are thinking that there are hundreds of zoos, why does the world need another one? Indeed, what can China do with a zoo that has not already been done before? Ladies and gentleman… this is what we can do.’

At that moment, the speeding bullet train burst out into brilliant sunshine and CJ found herself staring at an awesome sight.

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.

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…


(Pan Macmillan Australia)


Although I usually gravitate more towards literature, I have had a soft spot for the work of Matthew Reilly ever since a friend recommended his title Ice Station many years ago. Reviews of his work at this site include Seven Ancient Wonders, Hell Island, The Six Sacred Stones, The Five Greatest Warriors and Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves.  I have probably read more of Reilly’s books than I have of any other author.

Why? Because they are fun. And they are cinematic.

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Matthew Reilly’s The Great Zoo of China is like a Boxing Day blockbuster movie, without the crowds or questionable cinema seating.

Reilly has always thought big, but the scale and audacity of this outing is inspiring. As always, his characters are colourful, but in this case the scenery depicted is too. Oh and he is not afraid to sacrifice characters for the sake of a good story.

There have always been kickass female characters in Reilly’s novels in the past, but Dr Cassandra Jane ‘CJ’ Cameron is his first female lead. As per the cliche, CJ has baggage but she’s smart, resourceful and resilient, and garners respect. She is fantastic. I thought pitting a blonde female character against the might of the Chinese political machine was a masterstroke too.

Another thing Reilly knows the value of in an adventure thriller is a great sidekick… they are the heart that balances out the carnage. I did not think Scarecrow’s ‘Bertie’ could be matched but he has outdone himself on that score in The Great Zoo of China. CJ’s sidekick is not a dog but it is clear this author is the devoted owner of one.

If you are looking for pure unadulterated entertainment these holidays, get yourself some popcorn* and a relaxing beverage and strap yourself in for a trip to The Great Zoo of China.

* Note, popcorn was actually consumed by the reviewer while reading this novel.

BOOK RATING: The Story 4.5 / 5 ; The Writing 3 / 5 — Overall 3.75

The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly
Available from:
Bookworld(Aus) | Booktopia(Aus) | Kobobooks | Book Depository | Amazon

Genre: Action-Adventure, Drama, Thriller, Fantasy

Author Information: 

Matthew Reilly is the international bestselling author of the Scarecrow novels: Ice Station, Area 7, Scarecrow, Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves and the novella Hell Island; the Jack West novels: Seven Ancient Wonders, The Six Sacred Stones and The Five Greatest Warriors; the standalone novels Contest (debut), Temple, The Tournament and Hover Car Racer; and the ebook Troll Mountain.

His books are published in over 20 languages, with worldwide sales of over 7 million copies.

Other reviews of The Great Zoo of ChinaCarpe Librum, Sydney Morning Herald, The Armchair Library, WrittenbySime ; Book’d Out ; Jason Colavito