Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Z. Rex by Steve Cole

September 2009, Doubleday
283 pages, Hardback
Review Copy

Children's, action

Cushions: 5
Daggers: 1
Yunaleska's recommended rating: ♥♥♥♥

No, you aren't seeing things. Steve Cole is also the author of the series Astrosaurs and Astrosaur Academy. He is one prolific writer who is worth watching. Steve handles the different genres well - Astrosaur and Astrosaurs Academy has mild peril, lots of laughs and a happy ending. Z.Rex is full of suspense, very few laughs and the ending is good, but not quite a happily ever after.

The Z in Z Rex isn't a typo. If you look at a keyboard, you'll see the T is reached using a different finger to the Z (I touch-type). Plus there is a reason for it being a Z Rex, one which is a spoiler so my mouth is firmly closed. It's a clever reason, I promise you.

So what is Z Rex about? A dinosaur mostly like a T-Rex. I say mostly, because as far as I know dinosaurs in the past didn't have wings. I confess to laughing at that point in the story. It's not really a laughing moment when teenager Adam, after being on the run from men involved with his dad's work, realises the dinosaur who he's tried to escape from can fly. I read wings and instantly doubled over with laughter of the following image: a ferocious dinosaur with shimmery fairy like wings, possibly pink, definitely sparkly. I won't try and explain how I came up with that image, not when the description in the book is as follows:

page 77: "Adam gasped as the dinosaur's back split open, revealing something dark and ridged underneath. The next moment, two huge spiny sails of gnarled flesh unfolded impossibly outwards...'Wings,' Adam breathed in utter disbelief. You're a dinosaur...and you've got wings!'."

As well as the wings, there's the Z.Rex's ability to talk, to dissemble and reassemble bombs - this is one clever creature. Why was it created? Why is it after Adam? Well, you'll have to read the book to find out. Adam is linked through it all via his father, who disappears for longer than planned on a trip to his new job. When the evil henchmen (my terms) come looking for Adam, Adam flees on his bike, from them and the awful monster that is hunting him down. Little does he know that in order to survive the experience, he and the 'monster' aka Z.Rex will become closely acquainted - I don't mean in the Z.Rex's stomach. Adam does live until the end. And beyond that.

I for one am hoping that there might be a sequel to Z.Rex. The level of action is high, the concept is a relatively new one for me. Dinosaur + wings = funny with my imagination. The true nature of Z.Rex is clever: both it and Adam are engaging characters. After the death of his mother, Adam hasn't really had a stable home. It's only when his world gets turned upside down and crushed (literally) that he finally bonds with his father. The antagonists had me on the edge of my seat, I wouldn't want them chasing after me. The ringleader of it all was a total surprise - I'm sure there was a red herring put in on purpose. There are enough twists in the story to keep me more than happy - I didn't see several of them coming.

Steve Cole is showing his strength as a writer in this distinctly different book from his other work. If you're after action, suspense and intrigue, go and read Z.Rex now. Where else will you see a dinosaur with wings?

Liked this? Be sure to check out Steve's other series: Astrosaur Academy: Deadly Drama and Astrosaurs: Megabookasaurus!

1 comment:

Live, Love, Laugh, Write! said...

Sounds interesting - I love that you came up with the image of fairy wings on the dinosaur! It's so bizarre! But something I would come up with...I'm glad you like the bracelet!