Book Review: “The Lost World” by Michael Crichton

Book 18 of 2023 is Michael Crichton’s “The Lost World”.

A four-year-old dinosaur-obsessed Joshua saw a movie in ’97. That movie, of course, was the summer blockbuster, “The Lost World: Jurassic Park.” It was everything kid Josh wanted in a movie. Years later, as an adult, although I recognise the first film as superior, I still have a soft spot for the sequel.

I read Crichton’s “Jurassic Park” a while back—sometime during one of the lockdowns—and liked it. I came to the odd conclusion that I preferred the movie. Spielberg refined and focused the book’s ideas and crystallised them. I can say the same about the sequel, for the most part.

But that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the book. I loved it. Crichton’s power lies not in writing but in worldbuilding and storytelling.

A fair few parts differ from the movie. The entire premise has a different angle, as John Hammond dies in the first book. A friend of Ian Malcolm is trying to find out where these strange animal corpses are coming from. Surprise, surprise, these turn out to be dinosaurs. Some parts of the book are better—such as Sarah Harding’s character and the dinosaur variety. Some bits are worse—such as the T. rexes’ attack on the trailer and the velociraptors in the long grass. I also preferred Ian Malcolm in the movie.

But, all in all, I had a great time with “The Lost World”. Crichton might have penned it for the movie sequel, but that’s where the book shines. The best parts are the realistic—ish—ways the plot unfolds and the big, bombastic setpieces.

Much like the book’s tagline, I can say this about my love of dinosaurs:

Something has survived.

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