This has been an action, adventure and fantasy heavy month and I've loved every minute of it! Let's get into it...
The Great Zoo of China by Mike Reilly
I bought this when I bought Jurassic Park as it was offered up as one of those 'People who bought this also bought...' options on Amazon. It sounded so ridiculous that I had to buy it. Essentially, the Chinese government come across a stash of dragon eggs, hibernating since the time of the dinosaurs, one or two popping out through history to see if it's hot enough to wake their fellows. Of course, apparently no one in China has seen Jurassic Park, and they decide that the best thing to do is to build a zoo around the dragons. Chaos, inevitably, ensues.
I read this before Jurassic Park as I was sure it was going to be a straight up rip off, but it really isn't, as I realised before I'd even gotten around to reading Jurassic Park. It's much faster-paced and less intellectual. There's little discussion here about the rights and wrongs and ethics of the whole thing and a lot more adventure. There were points were I was literally catching my breath and staying up late to find out what happened next or how they'd get out of the latest tight spot.
So yeah, I'd highly recommend this one for a fun, light, seat-of-your-pants read!
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
I saw this film when it first came out, I was about 6 and obsessed with dinosaurs to the point that I deliberately learnt how to spell palaeontologist so that I would get it right when we had to write about what we wanted to be when we grew up at school. I remember sitting in the front row with my Mum, my head tilted all the way back to take it all in, thinking this was the best thing I'd ever seen.
It's still one of my favourite films, but I'd never read the book till now and it's so different! It's a lot more complex; some of the characters you love in the film are horrible in the book; there's so much more chaos theory; and there is tons more jeopardy.
A lot of the early stuff I recognised from later films and I thoroughly enjoyed the extra layers to the story, the fact that was quite different in many ways and therefore still a thrill to read. Having read it, I think the film is a good, if not faithful, adaptation of the book. I loved every minute and I've already leant it out and have been recommending it all over the place.
There is no comparison to be made with Great Zoo at all in my opinion.
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
This is a difficult one to review as, for the most part, I really enjoyed it. However, I didn't buy into the main love story, which, given that that drives the plot, is a bit of a shame.
The story is about Feyre, who lives with her once great now impoverished family on the mortal side of the wall that divides them from the Faerie realms. While hunting for food to keep her - frankly pretty ungrateful - family alive, she kills a Fae and has to pay the price by crossing the wall and living amongst them for the rest of her life.
There she lives with the great lord Tamlin, who is cursed, along with everyone else she meets, to wear a masque. His magic is restricted by a blight, but Feyre knows no more than that.
While I loved the world that was created, I found Feyre a bit... basic. She brings together all of the elements a you'd expect for a heroine in this sort of book - she looks after her family despite the fact they don't deserve it, she can hunt brilliantly, she's artistic, but she is cold and reserved and, of course, part of falling in love is seeing that reserve melt away. Which is, pretty much, the only evidence of falling in love that you get. For me, there was zero chemistry between Feyre and Tamlin, both of whom I found kind of dull. A world away from the zinging heat of Firelight. Now, were you to offer me a sequel based on Tamlin's friend and emissary, Lucien, then I'd be all ears. But for now, I think I'll skip the rest of the series.
I'm currently reading And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini and I'm sure this is going to have me sobbing on the bus to work, as all his books have me in tears at some point or another.