I’ve been wanting to try out a Michael Crichton novel for a long while now. In fact I have a copy of his book Next at home, but just hadn’t gotten around to it yet. I knew he was a popular author, but thrillers aren’t usually my kind of read and so I think I kept putting it off. But then I came across Hanna’s review of Jurassic Park and it just sounded SO GOOD and now I can proudly say that I’ve read my first Crichton novel and look forward to more. Yay!
Jurassic Park is impressive, way more so than the movie. The movie is all action and look-at-the-cool-CGI-dinosaurs, but the book is really engrossing and intelligent and interesting. For those of you who don’t know the basic premise of the story, an old guy with lots of money buys an island and secretly brings dinosaurs back to life via cloning old DNA. He wants to create a theme park / zoo with real live dinosaurs, and the book takes place when he “invites” some specialists and his grandchildren to the island park to prove that everything is going smoothly and perfectly safe.
And so of course, all hell breaks loose.
My favorite parts of the book were the scientific and philosophical discussions. I liked reading about the technology used to clone extinct animals, and I liked the mathematician’s rants about how screwed up scientists are for messing with nature and chaos theory and such. And while I’m almost always on the side of “scientists shouldn’t mess with stuff and they’ll eventually be the death of us all”… even I would be really curious to see them clone extinct animals. But maybe not dinosaurs. Maybe dodos, like in the Thursday Next books. But I like that all these parts of the book really got me thinking and I didn’t feel like it was total brain candy. Even though this was a good, quick read I still felt like I gained something from it.
And of course, there are some scary and suspenseful parts. Like when the power is out and the T-rex gets out for the first time… there was definitely some nail-biting going on while I read. Crichton did a good job at setting the mood, and making it clear that the characters were really defenseless. I also liked that he switched the POV between characters so often – so many angles and perspectives meant that it never got dull.
As far as the characters go, I like some and hated some others. I really like Ian Malcolm (the mathematician), Alan Grant, and the young boy Tim. And I really hated the little girl Lex because she was SOOOOO WHINY. I would have happily thrown her to some dinosaurs and left her there. And of course the old man behind it all is delusional and irritating.
My only regret is that I hadn’t read this before I saw the movies, because I kept picturing the movie in my head and I would have liked to imagine everything my own way. Luckily, it’s been probably over a decade since I last saw it, and I’m looking forward to re-watching it so that I can nitpick over all the details. Cause that’s what I do.
Overall, this was a really great book and I can see why Crichton was such a popular author. I’m torn about whether or not I want to read the sequel, The Lost World. I read online that he wrote it because after the movie people really wanted a sequel, and I’m not sure it will be as good if it’s something he was pressured into. I am however really looking forward to reading some of his other books, such as Next and Timeline.
Sarah Says: 4 stars