Saturday, August 19, 2017

Dragon Teeth – Book Review

Dragon Teeth: A Novel
by Michael Crichton

Who doesn't know Jurassic Park, a 1993 blockbuster movie featuring one of the most incredible animal groups ever? I believe (virtually) everyone does. However, perhaps some people don't realize that the flick and the sequel, Jurassic Park: The Lost World, are based on novels by Michael Crichton, a famous American author who, unfortunately, passed away in 2008.

Michael Crichton is certainly a marvelous author. I am not a novel expert (is there such a thing?) but his writing style is really lovable and admirable, and I'm not sure anyone can be comparable to him. His decease is such a loss for the novel industry. However, something unexpected, at least for me, came: another "dino" novel of Crichton's was recently discovered in his archives – but it somehow didn't get published during his lifetime. The novel, titled Dragon Teeth, posthumously came out in May this year and I was one of those overwhelmed with euphoria.

In a nutshell, Dragon Teeth tells the story of a young American man named William Johnson (fictional character) who goes on a fossil expedition to the American West due to a bet with his college archrival. It takes place in the part of the 19th century when there was the infamous feud between two real giant American paleontological figures, Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh – the period is widely known as the "Bone Wars". This novel is special because it mixes fact and fiction in a brilliant and engaging way. Crichton takes readers to the old American history with its rich elements, including Indian culture, which I wasn't familar with and found intriguing. The real characters in this novel, besides Cope and Marsh, include Charles H. Sternberg and Wyatt Earp. Reading this novel certainly gives you insights into what the U.S. was like during that period of history (something I enjoyed about this novel); however, one must realize that this book is not intended as a historical reference. 

People also need to note that, although Dragon Teeth is considered a dinosaur novel, it is mainly about a quest for dinosaur fossils and not dinosaurs themselves. In this novel you will not find living non-avian dinosaurs chasing people in a Jeep screaming and dashing off frantically.

Overall I am entertained by the new Crichton, although I think it is not really his masterpiece as I feel the plot is somewhat less gripping than that in his previous dino novels. But still, this is a novel worth reading and has a unique taste that makes it stand out from others.

Have you read Dragon Teeth? What are your thoughts on the latest novel of Crichton's? Write your comment below!

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