I read Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton a fair while ago and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I also happen to own the Jurassic Park film trilogy, and I thoroughly enjoy those. So, it was probably inevitable that I would read Lost World, the sequel to Jurassic Park. However, while I am still in awe of the idea, and it is as gripping a thriller as you could expect from Crichton, the book is a bit of a drag.
So, lets start with the storyline. The plot of the Lost World novel is completely different from the film version. While the film starts off with a little girl being attacked by some dinosaurs, this scene is completely absent from the novel. Likewise, some pivotal characters from the novel are absent from the film (one of the big criticisms of the movie is how weak the characters are, this may not have been an issue if all of Crichton’s characters were used). However, from a macro perspective the plot is similar between the two mediums. The sequel takes off a number of years after the events of Jurassic Park. It takes place on another island called “Site B”, where the dinosaurs had been grown before they were transferred to the actual park. Since Ingen has been destroyed by the events of the first story, the animals had since been allowed to roam free. While the movie depicts a rescue mission; Malcolm trying to save some kids, the novel features Malcolm and some other scientists on a research trip that turns into a rescue mission. Either way the result is the same; lots of dinosaurs, lots of action.
As I said before, I am still in awe of the idea, and to experience it again was well worth the read. Furthermore, the novel is very much a Crichton book; incredibly fast paced and action packed. You never know what is going to come, or from where. There are so many twists and turns, that it is the epitome of a “page turner”. The book is also meticulously researched, and it is wonder to immerse yourself in this world of dinosaurs, especially through the eyes of scientists.
However, the amount of research Crichton has done can also be seen as a negative. This is the primary problem I have with the book; it just feels like a nonstop lecture. There are a number of characters who are scientists, all with different specialties, and there are a number of children. This clash of genius and non-genius provides the setting for speech after speech, explanation after explanation. Occasionally the book turns into nothing more than a science textbook with a few splashes of action just to keep up the charade of entertainment. While I enjoy science, and I am interested in many of the things discussed, it gets boring after a while. It also feels belittling, like the novel wasn’t written to entertain me, but to show how smart Crichton is.
I am a bit conflicted about this book. I am still in love with the idea, and this is one of the better unintended sequels I have read. However, the book does become a bit of a drag. The best I can say is this; if you enjoy science and enjoyed the first book, this is probably a book you will like. Otherwise, I would stay away.
Title: The Lost World
Author: Michael Crichton
Pages: 434 (Paperback)
Josh’s Rating: 2/5
Amazon Link: The Lost World