Friday, 10 June 2011

review: Z. Raptor

by Steve Cole
Philomel, June 2011
young adult science fiction
ARC received from publisher (thank you!)

Adam Adlar's reunion with his father in the Big Apple is short-lived. The FBI needs them in their investigation of Geneflow, the undercover corporation who resurrected a Tyrannosaurus rex and gave it the intelligence of a human. Now the FBI has received a video warning of an island run over by human-slaughtering velociraptors. Adam and his father set out for the island with Agent Chen, but when Adam's boat is attacked by sea monsters and he washes up on the deadly island by himself, he'll have to figure out how to survive, take down Geneflow and solve all the secrets of the raptors before any more lives are lost... including his own.
The cover:

It completely fits. With the first book, Z. Rex; with the description of the raptors; with the viciousness and gore aplenty in the book. I bow down to the artist, Cliff Nielsen, and the designer, Christian Fuenfhausen. *worships*

The book:

The opening chase scene in Manhattan sets up the atmosphere to expect: one of continuous tension, one that may tire readers out. There's also quite a lot of fighting, wounding and blood going around. Our protagonists get so battered and bruised that it becomes almost too much of a stretch to believe they can still continue on, especially with Loner, the velociraptor who takes many beatings.

Re: setting: it felt like the whole island was composed of either jungle or rock. An island isn't a well-known place; it takes more to create an image of one in the reader's mind. And again, the Geneflow HQ is the battlefield for the climax,which is extremely reminiscient of the prequel.

Almost every character has a smidgen of history making each unique, including secrets that jar the story in an epic plot twist or two. The secrets also helps prevent another relationship between Adam and the featured dinosaur like the one already established with Zed (the Z. rex), a good thing since it avoids repetition. The science element in Z. Raptor shows up late, but develops itself well using the video-gaming concept already established.

Rating: 4.1 out of 5