Hey everyone. 🙂
From time to time I’ll be posting reviews of books I really enjoyed, in the hope that you’ll also check the books out, and this is the first of those reviews.
Long before Jurassic Park was released (both the book and the movie), my parents bought a bi-weekly magazine called ‘Dinosaurs’, which explored the different species, environments, geological history and much, much more of the time of the dinosaurs – plus I got to build a glow in the dark T-rex skeleton; the parts came with the magazine. 🙂 This was when I was in primary school, and it’s what began my fascination with dinosaurs. When Jurassic Park was published, I basically lost my shit. I read the novel three times before watching the movie, and I think I watched the movie -in the theatres- close to six or seven times. I think that JP is the only movie I’ve watched more than any of the Star Wars movies – it completely blew my mind wide open.
So, any novel including dinosaurs needs big boots to fill the footsteps of JP, and while I don’t think anything like JP will happen again (even the sequel, The Lost World, was brilliant, but couldn’t really match up, in my opinion), I do expect writers to know their stuff and to be respectful (or at least cognizant) of dinosaurs and the vast body of knowledge which is constantly being added to.
Dinosaur Valley isn’t JP, but also doesn’t pretend to be, and that’s one of the reasons this novel was so cool. 🙂
It is, above all, an adventure tale, but what it also does is play with certain tropes and upend or change those tropes in entertaining ways. For example, there’s no damsels in distress – there is a gentleman in distress; and though the book is set in what could be considered the Wild West, there’s none of the stereotypical tobacco-spitting, word-drawling, answers-everything-with-a-quickdraw-standoff Cowboy / Sheriff / Desperado amalgamation (even though there is such a character; just not stereotypically so).
Being an adventure tale, it’s fast-paced and fun, with excellent and thrilling set pieces (from characters being stalked and chased by various dinosaurs, to gun fights), peopled with memorable characters keeping the interesting plot ticking along, and if you like a strong, independent female lead, who doesn’t wait for a man to save her, then you’re going to love Anna Rutherford. 🙂
This book launches the series, The Archaeologists, and I’m definitely looking forward to the next book!
Until next time,