Monday, 16 August 2010

Jurassic Park

A friend of mine noticed I was reading this book and said to me without hesitation "What's the point?" At first I wasn't quite sure what he meant; had he read the book himself and thought it was terrible? Or had someone he knew read it and told him so? Then it dawned on me; it's because it was made into a ground breaking film by Steven Spielberg.

Like everybody else on the planet I have seen the movie and enjoyed it very much (who can't enjoy seeing a lawyer getting eaten by a dinosaur?) but I can't see why a perfectly good novel should be ignored simply because Hollywood has had a crack at it.

I'm so glad I bothered with Jurassic Park because it turned out to be one of the best thrillers I have ever read; exciting, suspenseful, scary, original and very cleverly written.

I really don't think I need to bother giving an overview of the story as I imagine everyone knows it (unless they have been living under a rock since 1993) but I will say that the book is different from the film in many ways and the reader will be surprised to notice the differences.

The story moves along at a very nice pace and it doesn't feel like a 400 page novel at all. There is plenty of action and humour and the characters are all three dimensional, believable and interesting. The science behind the process of resurrecting dinosaurs is explained in some detail but not enough to send me to sleep and certainly not enough to distract the reader from the pages of dinosaur-related carnage that ensues when the arrogant John Hammond doesn't listen to advice that is given to him...

Of course the book isn't perfect; there are undoubtedly plot holes and some unanswered questions. Also the character of Lex is so irritating I was practically praying for a velociraptor to make a meal out of her. At certain points in the book I was holding my breath in horror (especially the part involving a waterfall and a very hungry T-Rex)

Overall a very exciting and ultimately satisfying read, I recommend it, even if you didn't like the film.

Verdict: 4/5

By Chris


  1. I'd always heard this one was much more science-oriented than I think I could stand, but I might give it a look.

  2. I read this back in high school and really loved it-far more than the movie. It wasn't way over my head with the science, and made me laugh.
    Great review!

  3. I enjoyed it also I never read the remain in the series but I heard they are enjoyable also!

  4. Wow - this sounds so much better than I always assumed it was. Adding it to my wishlist.

  5. I read this on a plane going to London in 1992 and remember thinking at the time it would make a great movie. And then later I was disappointed by the film. The book is so much more suspenseful. You should also read Chrichton's Andromeda Strain which is also way better than the movie.

  6. Why do we bother reading a book-to-movie? Because they are almost always better than the movie. I'm reading The Thornbirds right now that a friend gave me. I still remember the mini-series from umpteen years ago and look forward to seeing it again.

    I have found that if you absolutely love a book -- don't see the movie. It may ruin your reading experience.

  7. I'm a really big fan of Crichton. I love all his books, including this one. I thought it was much better than the film. I'm pleased to hear that you enjoyed it too :-)

  8. Title of your post drew me to check it out. :D LOVED the movie but have not read the book.

  9. I agree that Lex was SO irritating. I'm glad you read this and didn't listen to your friend. I really just can't understand why some people think that way.
    This is an AMAZING book, and people should read amazing books regardless of whether or not there is a movie.

  10. How funny, i read this a few weeks ago. I enjoyed it for what it was, but I have to admit that I like the movie better! here is my review

  11. you can't go wrong with michael crichton!

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  13. @ Amanda: There is certainly some science in the book but nowhere near enough to irritate me or put me off reading it.

    @ Allie: Glad you liked the book and the review, I haven't seen the movie in years but I hope to rectify that soon, it will be interesting to compare the two

    @ Heidi V: I believe Crichton wrote 'The Lost World' after Steven Spielberg put pressure on him for a sequel, I haven't read it but I probably will one day

    @ Nymeth: You won't regret it!

    @ Thomas at my porch: I most certainly will try to get a copy of Andromeda Strain, the film impressed me years ago

    @ Kim: I agree that by and large movies can't compare to books but there are occasional exceptions I guess ('Jaws' being one of them)

    @ Jackie: I intend to read more of Crichton's books soon, any suggestions? I was considering 'Sphere' next

    @ Sheila: You should give the book a go, I bet you'd be surprised

    @ Brizmus: I completely agree with you and told my friend he should read it too!

    @ Becky: Sorry to read you preferred the movie, as I said in an earlier response I haven't seen the movie for years so I plan to watch it again soon

    @ mummazappa: Its the first of his books I've read and I was very impressed, I'll definately give some of his others a try, I was disappointed to see he won't be writing any more :o(


  14. I read this one years ago and remember having fun with it. I think that's what books like this are supposed to be...a good time. I think I'm also going to come down in favor of the movie, too. For me, the movie was fast paced and visually stunning, so much so that I could overlook how ridiculous the science in the story really is. The book slowed this down enough to make the science much more problematic.

    I don't think you really need to explain how the park came to be full of dinosaurs. The fact that it's full of dinosaurs is all we need to know to have the fun we want to have with stories like this one.

  15. I read the book years ago but really enjoyed it. If I remember right, it's a lot darker than the film, especially in terms of the carnage. I liked both the book and the movie in this case.

  16. I love love love science-y DNA thrillers. Watchers by Koontz was my all time fave until Jurassic Park. Of course, the book was better but the movie was very exciting-- terrifying to see the raptors in action-- and the t-rex's pupil dilating-- I'm getting shivers thinking about it-- wonder if my little boy is ready for Jurassic Park?

    I do wish the movie had the beginning scenes from the book-- where people are starting to encounter dinos.

    It doesn't bother me if the science is problematic-- suspension of disbelief is easy for me and I would have not been happy if all had not been explained.

    Chris if you ever want any ideas for other similar science thrillers, let me know.


  17. @ C.B James: I agree with you, books like this aren't supposed to be taken too seriously, they are just fun. I found the movie really enjoyable but it changed quite a bit from the book

    @ Christy: I wouldn't describe the book as dark per se but its certainly less fluffy and family orientated than the movie.

    @ Lesa: Nice to see you back :o)
    The dinosaurs appearing on the mainland at the beginning of the book was one of the aspects of the book I felt was never explained adequately but you are right; it was a good way to begin the book, it kept you guessing all the way through and there were definately some parts of the book I felt they should have included in the movie but as someone else mentioned earlier some of it wouldn't have been appropriate for kids ;o)