Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton.

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Paperback, 399 pages

Published August 30, 1993 by Ballantine

IBSN: 9780345370778

We all know the storyline of the movie: eccentric rich guy and dinosaur enthusiast John Hammond (and his team of scientists) have discovered a way to clone dinosaurs, using blood from mosquitoes that were caught in tree sap and fossilised. He creates a theme park on a secluded island. A team of specialists are assembled to check out this park before it’s opening. Unfortunately, things turn deadly. . .

The book is essentially the same, but much better (as is often the case with adaptations). I’ve seen the movie tonnes of times, but there were still plenty of surprises in the novel. There were even a few scenes in here that the second and third movie used.

Most of the characters are pretty much the same. Hammond, however, is a little different. More of a bad guy – kind of. Pretty naive, too. I think that Ian Malcolm is my favourite character. He’s always making these drawn out monologues about the pitfalls of Jurassic Park and the lack of discipline Hammond and his team have.

The dinosaurs are really cool, also. It’s interesting reading about the different species and their characteristics. The velociraptors are terrifying – even more so than in the film.

This is a fun, science filled thriller. Definitely check it out.

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Unwholly by Neal Shusterman.

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Hardcover, 402 pages

Published August 28, by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers

IBSN: 9781442423664

goodreads blurb: Thanks to Connor, Lev, and Risa — and their high-profile revolt at Happy Jack Harvest Camp — people can no longer turn a blind eye to unwinding. Ridding society of troublesome teens while simultaneously providing much-needed tissues for transplant might be convenient, but its morality has finally been brought into question. However, unwinding has become big business, and there are powerful political and corporate interests that want to see it not only continue, but also expand to the unwinding of prisoners and the impoverished.

Cam is a product of unwinding; made entirely out of the parts of other unwinds, he is a teen who does not technically exist. A futuristic Frankenstein, Cam struggles with a search for identity and meaning and wonders if a rewound being can have a soul. And when the actions of a sadistic bounty hunter cause Cam’s fate to become inextricably bound with the fates of Connor, Risa, and Lev, he’ll have to question humanity itself.

Rife with action and suspense, this riveting companion to the perennially popular Unwind challenges assumptions about where life begins and ends—and what it means to live.

It has been a few weeks since I finished reading this novel, and my first thought now, is that it doesn’t have nearly as many resounding, memorably powerful moments as its predecessor. But that’s not to say that it isn’t a great book – because it is. It’s just that in comparison to Unwind, it falls a little short.

I do believe that it is a good sequel/companion – you can see how things have changed because of the events in Unwind, and the author delves further into the history of unwinding: how it all began, etc. I’m looking forward to the third book, where everything should come together nicely (it is my fervent wish that this series doesn’t go the same way as The Maze Runner: first book, amazing. Second book, good, but definitely a ‘bridge’ novel. Third book, total disappointment (as a way of drumming up business for the prequel, which I have thus far boycotted, but will most likely succumb to in the end?) – I have faith that Neal Shusterman will not do this to us, his loyal readers).

There’s plenty of new characters, as well as your original main characters (and a heap of the second tier ones) from Unwind. I thought this was a good mix. Mostly I liked the new guys. Cam especially is a very interesting newbie – the concept of creating a new person from body parts causes you to think about those hard questions about life and consciousness. What makes a person a person? Can a personality be manufactured? etc. Neal Shusterman is good at making you think in this deep, philosophical way. He asks these questions and offers up some possible answers, but ultimately let’s you draw your own conclusions.

All Unwind fans, definitely check this out. Everyone else, read Unwind first.