Z-Rex (Z Rex Trilogy) by Steve Cole

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Z-Rex (Z Rex Trilogy) by Steve Cole

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Mongredien
Reviewed by Sue Mongredien
Summary: An exciting, action-packed story about one ordinary boy and one extraordinary dinosaur. Suitable for children aged 10+
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: September 2009
Publisher: Doubelday
ISBN: 978-0385615747

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As a parent, I am very grateful to Steve Cole – his funny, exciting Astrosaurs books got my son hooked on reading – something that has made us both very happy. As a fellow author, I am also deeply impressed by his astonishing work-rate with brilliant new books packed with boy appeal appearing every other month, it seems.

Z-Rex – the first in a trilogy, according to Amazon – is something of a departure for Cole. It's for older readers – I'd say 10+ - and much darker and more nerve-jangling than the younger, funny books. The story is about a thirteen-year-old boy, Adam, who's staying with his dad in New Mexico over the summer. His dad has been working on a groundbreaking computer game system called Ultra-Reality but then gets a call from a company who are interested in working with him to develop some of the technology. And that's when the trouble starts…

Adam's dad goes off to work at the research centre but then seems to vanish, leaving Adam alone in their apartment. The next thing Adam knows is that a group of strange, sinister men are hanging around the place – and then the building is attacked by some kind of enormous invisible monster. With the apartment block collapsing around him, Adam has to go on the run, with both the gigantic monster and the menacing, gun-wielding men chasing after him. He has no home, no possessions and no idea what's happened to his dad, apart from one text message which tells him not to involve the police.

Scared and confused, Adam tries to tackle the sinister men – but while he's doing so, the monster snatches him up and takes him to a cave in the middle of nowhere. As the monster's running, it becomes visible and Adam sees the beast properly for the first time. It's a tyrannosaurus rex!

Inside the cave is a high-tech laboratory and Adam learns that the dinosaur – the Z-Rex as he's been called – has been created there from fossil remains and 're-engineered' so that he has wings, intelligence and the power of speech. Adam is terrified of the huge, dangerous creature but it turns out that he and the Z-Rex (or Zed as he becomes known) actually need each other, and will have to work together if they are to stop the bad guys and rescue Adam's dad. I loved how the relationship between them develops from being one of mutual suspicion and fear on Adam's part to a trusting, affectionate friendship.

The basic premise of boy-meets-dinosaur is a great one, very appealing to children, especially boys, and Steve Cole really goes to town with excellent descriptions of Zed and some fantastic, memorable scenes between them, particularly the first time Adam flies on Zed's back. The book is full of action, with cliffhangers galore, a tight, tense plot, and some really great visual scenes. It would make an excellent film.

When I told my children that I would be reviewing this book, cheers rang out around the kitchen table. I suspect that when this hits the book shops, there will be a lot of other children around the country who will be cheering too…

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

Further reading suggestions: Firestorm (Dragon Orb) by Mark Robson, or The Dragon Whisperer by Lucinda Hare

Buy Z-Rex (Z Rex Trilogy) by Steve Cole at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Z-Rex (Z Rex Trilogy) by Steve Cole at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Z-Rex (Z Rex Trilogy) by Steve Cole at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Z-Rex (Z Rex Trilogy) by Steve Cole at Amazon.com.


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