Prey by Michael Crichton

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Hey ya’ll.

So initially I was probably going to not review Prey. I finished it in a day, and didn’t have too much to say about it. I was going to post my review of Mockingbird by Chuck Wendig. Except I just realized that Mockingbird is the sequel to Blackbirds, but I somehow didn’t realize that and read Mockingbird first. Sooooo I’m going to have to go buy Blackbirds and read that, and then maybe I’ll review them together. I’m so annoyed at myself right now.

computer facepalm

Me when I realized I accidentally read the sequel first…

So today, you get a review of Prey instead! You’re excited, I can tell.

This is the second Michael Crichton book I’ve read (the other being Jurassic Park, of course). I like him. I like that his books are action-y thrillers, but with science and smart things! Here’s the description of the book from the back cover, because I’m lazy like that right now:

In the Nevada desert, an experiment has gone horribly wrong. A cloud of nanoparticles—micro-robots—has escaped from the laboratory. This cloud is self-sustaining and self-reproducing. It is intelligent and learns from experience. For all practical purposes, it is alive.

It has been programmed as a predator. It is evolving swiftly, becoming more deadly with each passing hour.

Every attempt to destroy it has failed.

And we are the prey.

Yup. The main character is Jack, an unemployed software programmer who has been called and given the job to go to Xymos (the nanorobotics company his wife works at) and try to fix a programming error. And then he gets there and learns about the swarm of nanoparticles, and all sorts of hell breaks loose as he tries to put the genie back in its bottle.

Obviously I’m not going to go much further into the story, because there was a lot of build-up and a bit of mystery and I enjoyed it. It was 502 pages and I finished it in one day, if that says anything.

Was this as good as Jurassic Park? No. Probably because I just find dinosaurs and the idea of cloning extinct species way more exciting. Like a lot of Crichton’s novels (so I hear), this is a cautionary tale about what can go wrong when you start to combine biology with robotics/nanotechnology. And it’s true, it IS really terrifying… but… I still find nanotechnology really exciting.There have been really promising clinical trials in which nanoparticles were used to treat cancer. That alone could be a HUGE benefit. It’s one of those “the benefits outweigh the risks” kind of situations. I’m relatively certain I’m going to have cancer someday (hopefully not for another 50 years), and I really really hope that nanomedicine is perfected by then. Plus… the people who mistakenly created the swarm of nanoparticles in the book were kind of idiots. Of course there are idiots in the real world too, but I have more faith in real world people.

Anyways, back to the book. It was intense and interesting and the pages flew by. In a way it was the perfect “fluff” book for the end of the readathon last weekend. It had that smart stuff that I love, but in the form of an action-y thriller and it was, in fact, my jam. And it makes me want to read a lot more Crichton novels.

Sarah Says: 3.5 stars

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7 comments

  1. I haven’t read Prey, but I have read a few other Crichton novels with the whole cautionary tale theme, including Jurassic Park (and I agree with you — that one was one of his best). Timeline and Sphere were both really fun reads, too — and both of those books were way, way better than the guilty pleasure movies that they spawned. lol. Sphere was almost too creepy for me, though; the way it ended still gives me chills to think about, and I must’ve read it more than 10 years ago.

  2. I so often read books in a series out of order cos I have no idea they are supposed to be read in any order. Authors (or really, publishers) need to do a better job of making it clear when I’m about to read a sequel.

    1. Right? It needs to say somewhere on the cover that it’s part of a series. Although in all fairness, I saw it on the shelf and grabbed it and just assumed it was the one I wanted… I blame it on those books having VERY similar colors.

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