Hello, Loyal Readers!
Every Friday I scour the internet for a free or low cost book that’s worth reading. This week’s Title is…
Why I Picked it Up
Okay, I’ve told my wife I’m having this phrase emblazoned (not carved, etched, or embossed) upon my tombstone: “YOU GUYS SERIOUSLY DON’T KNOW HOW MUCH I LOVE DINOSAURS.”
That said, this book seems right up my alley.
What I Like About It
At the very top of page two we get this awesome hook,
“What I recognize as palms won’t exist for at least another sixty million years.The thought gave him chills. The same chills he’d been having since arriving here sixteen hours ago.”
NOW I wanna know more about what’s going on! How’d he get there and then? What’s his plan? Why’s he so chills-y?
The action is easily envisioned and there’s a lot of good science in here to keep the nerds (like me!) happy. Rock also paints a pretty clear picture of our first POV character.
We get alternating’present’ and ‘flashback’ chapters–it threw me off at first, but then I realized it was a pattern and my brain adjusted–I imagine this juxtaposition of setting is a theme since the book features time-travel as a central focus.
We get good forward momentum and a fight to the death with a dromaeosaur–an ACTUAL species of Cretaceous-era dinosaur–so bonus points for that!
What Could Be Better
To be honest, I tried reading this book three times before it finally took. The reason?
There’s a ‘Prelude’ chapter.
The Prelude builds some character, gives some exposition, and, on its eighth and final page, gives us a clue that it MIGHT be relevant at some time. We also learn the prelude is a flashback of sorts, and flashbacks are treacherous narrative ground for writers–they can piss people off like dream sequences can–but as I mentioned earlier, I think it’s part of the theme.
It’s a bit moot, though, as we don’t even start Chapter 1 with our flashback POV characters.
Two things absent from the prelude: PLOT–an absolute necessity within your first few pages–and FRICKIN’ DINOSAURS.
Sure, we get a couple of skeletons, but skeletons don’t advance the plot. Skeletons don’t DO anything, unless there’s a buttload of meat wrapped around them. There isn’t even any foreshadowing to let us know there’s GOING to be something cool happening, until page eight (but until my third try, I never made it that far in).
The whole Prelude strikes me as a’darling’ which should have been ‘murdered.’ IF the prelude is absolutely necessary to our later understanding of the plot then it should begin on page seven with the car accident OR should be exposed to us gently throughout the story.
Moving onto the actual book, there are one or two small scientific errors (feathers do not contribute to running speed) and the alternating flashbacks were a bit distracting until I learned it was a pattern.
The book has many flaws, but they’re minor ones. You should skip the Prelude, definitely, but it’s a lot of fun and reads kind of like a Crichton book once you get going. I know I’ve got a BOATLOAD on my reading list, but I’m gonna check it out.
So stay tuned, because if you see a FOLLOWUP post, you know it was good enough for me to finish!
As always, check it out for yourself and leave a comment! It’s free!