Jurassic Park

by Michael Crichton

Conditional Recommendation: A team of consultants and two kids visit an island where dinosaurs have been genetically engineered and they must deal with the consequences or die.

Age: Mature Young Adult
Series: Jurassic Park, Book 1 of 2
Pages: 416
Published: 1990

Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller

I was a dinosaur girl as a kid and watched the Jurassic Park movies growing up and as an adult I still gravitate toward “monster movies”. It’s always interesting going from the movie to the book version of the story but I must say: I loved it! Which is weird for me because this book is quite gory and I don’t usually go for that; however, the world building is so intricate and immersive, and the pacing was so suspenseful and, of course, there are DINOSAURS. It’s well written, suspenseful, exciting, and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this book. But be warned! It’s an adult book and I recommend it for mature young adults—see more in my recommendation note below. As far as how it compares to the movie, they’re different but I think both versions tell a great, engaging story. They enhance each other rather than detract from one another, but obviously: Read the book!

Summary from the Publisher

An astonishing technique for recovering and cloning dinosaur DNA has been discovered. Now humankind’s most thrilling fantasies have come true. Creatures extinct for eons roam Jurassic Park with their awesome presence and profound mystery, and all the world can visit them—for a price. Until something goes wrong…In Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton taps all his mesmerizing talent and scientific brilliance to create his most electrifying technothriller.

Memorable Characters

Crichton gives detailed backstory on each of the major players and it’s easy to become invested in them, especially in Dr. Grant and the two kids who have to survive the park together. Fair warning: Contrary to the movie, the boy is older and the girl is younger. Hammond, the old man who had the idea for the park and largely owns everything, is certifiably crazy. He’s a dreamer who, throughout the entire book, is never able to see past his idealistic dream and acknowledge reality even as it’s unfolding like a war zone right before his eyes. He’s so ridiculous it’s almost funny, but also sad and slightly disturbing.

Well-Conceived Plot

Picture a tiny snowball at the top a large hill. It’s starts small and slow but then grows and picks up speed until it’s the size of a boulder that can do some damage. That’s this book. The starting pace is slow, almost methodical, and full of info dumping as Crichton weaves this complex chain of events and people who may be discovering present day dinosaurs. Even when we finally get to the island, the steady systematic pacing serves to increase the suspense for when things are going to go horribly wrong. The pacing does it’s job well and makes for a very satisfying story experience.

A Lasting Experience

I can already tell that this story is going to linger. It’s so realistic and vivid. Every time I was reading I was fully invested, absorbed in the suspense.

A Satisfying Ending

The book’s ending is much different than the movie and I thought it was just right. Certain people die, certain people live, and there’s not a promise of future hope, but instead a certainty that the dinosaurs have gotten out of the park and off the island and that the story of dinosaurs and man isn’t over yet.

Recommendation Note

It’s brutal (hello, man-hunting dinosaurs) and gory—more gory that I typically read—with descriptive scenes of dinosaurs attacking, tearing apart, eating, and killing humans. Very descriptive. This book is also heavy on the evolutionary theory and it’s discussed as if it’s fact. Frankly, in my head I lump evolution into the fantasy category and read on, not taking it seriously. It’s fascinating to read the detailed lengths that people will go to try and explain life without God. There’s a lot of cursing, specifically using “Jesus” to swear.

This is not a clean, wholesome read. It’s gritty, brutal, thrilling, and speculative science fiction. It’s fun, fantastic, immersive, scientific, intelligent, has dinosaurs, and contemplates the consequences of science—of doing things just because you can do them. I really loved the experience. I also really love dinosaurs.

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Where to Find this Book: Amazon* or your local library!

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