by The World Weary
Author: Michael Crichton
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Genre: Science Fiction
Series: Jurassic Park Book Two
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The Lost World is an entertaining, but forced sequel to Jurassic Park. The book seems to follow the same basic narrative structure of the first book, and as a result of this, becomes somewhat stale. The uneven pacing also keeps this book from being as interesting as it’s predecessor.
Jurassic Park was one of the biggest novels of the 90’s, and subsequently the biggest films of the 90’s. With the success of the story, fans begged Michael Crichton to make a follow up to his brilliant novel. He decided to leave it alone, that is until Steven Spielberg also pressured him to make a sequel and said that if there were to be another film that the legendary director would return to the series. Thus was The Lost World born.
The book follows Ian Malcolm as well as several new characters as they discover the existence of Isla Sorna, the “factory floor” of InGen’s dinosaur production for Jurassic Park. Shortly after the incident at the park, Sorna was abandoned and the dinosaurs were allowed to roam free. Now, the island has become a full fledged ecosystem from the past and Malcolm and company go to the island to find out how the dinosaurs survived. Unbeknownst to them, Lewis Dodgson, the shady head of InGen’s rival company, Biosyn, is also heading an expedition to Isla Sorna to capture specimens in an attempt to accomplish what InGen failed at.
The book feels very much like the original, to a fault. Many plot elements make a return, such as Biosyn’s underhanded methods, the looming inevitably of disaster that all the characters seem to ignore, and even two children (reminiscent of Tim and Lex) are thrown in. Even some of the adult characters feel like reincarnations of characters from Jurassic Park. The problem is, with so much borrowed from the original, the book falls into being predictable. Yes, the overall plot is different, and there are more dinosaurs, but sometimes I found myself comparing scenes from this book to the original too much.
In spite of this, Crichton’s strong, detailed writing and the inherently interesting subject still keep you invested. The author’s love for science and strong emphasis on realism brings the dinosaurs to life. Particularly interesting were the Tyrannosaurs, who were less the super persistent “Jaws” of the first book, and more like real animals who care most about caring for their young. The velociraptors also make a return in fine form, with their scenes being some of the most tense throughout the book. If you’re coming back to the land of InGen’s engineered monsters for the thrilling action, you’ll find it here. However, the book does take a long time to really get going, and much of this down time takes away from the book. You ultimately know where the story will end up, so the build up doesn’t work the way it should.
The Lost World is a fun read with more of Crichton’s fantastic portrayals of dinosaurs, with facts fresh of the pages and minds of real life paleontologists. The book suffers from too many copycat moments that rob it of it’s originality and tension in some instances. Overall, the book is still interesting enough to keep your attention, but it doesn’t come close to the greatness of it’s predecessor.