The Lost World (Jurassic Park #2)
Michael Crichton, 1995
Following the events of Jurassic Park, the island and all of the dinosaurs there were destroyed, leaving nothing behind. But when carcasses that look suspicious begin turning up on the coast of Costa Rica, Ian Malcolm and a few other scientists begin to wonder if everything was really destroyed after all.
First: A Comment on the movies (and some minor spoilers)
The film Jurassic Park did a good job of bringing the first book from page to screen. Admittedly one of my all-time favorite movies, the film cut some scenes from the book and added in a few others, but the general feel and flow of the book is all there. The film version of The Lost World, on the other hand, didn’t follow the book at all. Aside from one or two high-drama scenes, most of what happened in the book was left out of the movie, as the movie decided to go in a different direction, transporting a T-Rex off the island (which never happens in the book).
This was a re-read for me, as I first read The Lost World shortly after seeing the film of Jurassic Park in the late 1990s. Side note: a reason why I brought up the movies above – you will not be confused going into this book having only seen the film version of Jurassic Park and not having read the book. They’re pretty interchangeable, and while I still recommend reading the first book, the film is awesome.
In my opinion, this book is even better than the first. Less exposition is needed for how the dinosaurs are there in the first place, since all of that was covered the first time around. Because of this, as a reader we’re able to accept the fact that there are dinosaurs on this island without needing to go into the process for getting them there, and we’re therefore able to just jump right into the action. Of course, there are new things here that we didn’t see in Jurassic Park - some new dinosaurs, a lot about their behaviors and nesting patterns, and more about how dinosaurs would live in the wild as opposed to a caged park. And, of course, new adventures and drama abound, because there is no way to be on an island full of dinosaurs without getting into a little trouble.
The one downfall to this book is the science content. I’ve got a pretty decent science background, but even I found some of the science content in this book to drag the story a bit. The goal of our two scientists in this book, Malcolm and Levine, is to try and use the island to work out how evolution could have led to extinction. Their theories can get a bit dry, but fortunately for the reader, the conversations on these theories are usually brief and interspersed between moments of action. I understand the need to throw some science into the book, but honestly – and I hate to say it – this book could have used a little less evolutionary theory and a little more dinosaurs running amok.
Still, a very enjoyable read. Highly recommended for any dino-lovers, especially anyone who read/watched and enjoyed Jurassic Park.