Book Review | Zoo

Title // Zoo
Author // James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
Publication Date // September 2012
Publisher // Arrow Books
Genre // Fiction, Ecological Thriller


All over the world, brutal attacks are crippling entire cities. Jackson Oz, a young biologist, watches the escalating events with an increasing sense of dread. When he witnesses a coordinated lion ambush in Africa, the enormity of the impending violence becomes terrifyingly clear.

With the help of ecologist Chloe Tousignant, Oz races to warn world leaders before it’s too late. The attacks are growing in ferocity, cunning, and planning, and soon there will be no place left for humans to hide.


I picked up Zoo by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge after I started watching the TV series because I was curious to see how much the two had in common. I quite enjoy the show – I love stories about nature rising up against mankind (even though the actual prospect of it terrifies me) – and that was enough of an incentive for me to give the book a go, too.

Zoo is a good book – it’s quite a dense read, with long periods spent exploring the initial response to the animals’ change in behaviour, and then a few time jumps to speed through events. Ultimately it made it a little difficult to read at times, but I persevered and enjoyed the book in the end. It’s very much an ecological-thriller and it’s quite a bit different from the TV series.

The book itself starts off quite strong, and follows a similar (but not exactly the same) storyline as the first few episodes of the series. We’re introduced to Jackson Oz, a biologist with controversial theories about animal behaviour that have seen him ostracised from his colleagues and peers. At the request of a colleague, Oz travels to Africa to observe the strange behaviour of lions, only to witness a horrific attack. His path crosses with Chloe Tousignant, and together they seek to warn the world about the increasingly violent and coordinated attacks by animals all over the world.

As the story progresses, some of the events defy belief, especially the attacks by the animals, but I suppose in many ways that’s the point. The story is a ‘what it’ scenario intended to raise questions, rather than answer them. While I felt the ending was a little drawn out, overall it was a good read that I enjoyed, even if I had to suspend disbelief several times.

I gave Zoo 3 out of 5 stars.

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