Plot or Premise
A rich industrialist with a vision creates a safari park on a secluded island for tourists, where the main attraction will be dinosaurs brought back to life through advanced DNA sequencing.
What I Liked
It’s a bit hard to read the book without comparing it to the successful movie franchise that was built on the book. But the imagination to not only conceive of a dinosaur park for tourists and to conceive of a realistic way to make the science sound feasible even in 1990 (pulling dinosaur DNA from a long-dead mosquito trapped in amber) was simply fabulous to see.
Not surprisingly, the book is different from the movie (or more accurately, the movie diverges from the book), but a lot of the core elements are the same. An underappreciated computer nerd, a worried security chief, the storm that turns the island into a death trap, etc.
What I Didn’t Like
Overall, I didn’t feel any sense of wonder in the book. In the movie, for example, you could see the sense of “OMG these are dinosaurs” and the characters are wowed out of their socks. In the book, it is more like, “Cool, but let’s talk about using night-vision goggles to see them, that’s really interesting.” I didn’t feel the wonder of any of them.
In addition, some parts were a bit odd — Grant is a loner bachelor but loves children (hates them in the movie, a better choice); Grant and the kids drift on the river with nothing much happening and tend to get back way too safely; the kids have Wesley-Crusher-syndrome and are able to get the computers working again; Hammond is almost a buffoon more than a visionary; and the ending is more about strange relations with Costa Rica, and a “final solution” than getting away from the raptors. Overall, I saw lots of edits that were done to the story from the book in order to put it on screen, and most of what they cut were good edits. I didn’t feel like the book was so much “more” than the movie, perhaps even a bit less.
The Bottom Line
Great book but some of the movie edits made the story better