Publisher: Monstrosities Books
Published: June 21, 2011
Source: For Review from LibraryThing's Early Reviewers Program
Rating: 2.5 Stars
When 14-year-old Zeke Calhoun goes to live at his Uncle Jesse’s broken-down ranch in Texas, he discovers that he has a natural way with horses and loves to ride. But this is nothing compared to what he finds in a riverbed near the ranch: a mysterious stranger, riddled with bullets, lying face down in the dirt, and a juvenile T-Rex keeping a pack of hungry wolves at bay. Where did the stranger come from? Who shot him and why? While Zeke saves the stranger and sets out to answer these questions, he finds something much more interesting—a bridle in the dinosaur’s mouth. From that moment on he knows he is destined to ride the T-Rex. What he does not know, however, is that his actions will set off a chain of events plunging him into an incredible adventure, one that will lead to the discovery of a deadly alliance between Earth and a prehistoric world that could threaten the very fabric of both.
In short: Though it is by no means a triumph in writing, characterization, or editing, Rex Riders by J.P. Carlson is a great adventure for any major dinosaur geek.
LibraryThing's Early Reviewers Program. As a paleo nerd, my reaction upon seeing the cover and reading the blurb for Rex Riders was pure, unadulterated joy. A story about a boy who gets to ride a tame, teenaged T-Rex, in the style of Dinotopia? Cool Factor 10! (Erm, or should this be Nerd Factor 10?). In Rex Riders, aliens transport dinosaurs from Cretaceous Era Earth to their own planet using a special-transport-device-thing. The dinosaurs thrive on their new planet and coevolve with other alien life forms. Later, they are brought back to Earth through the same special-transport-device-thing. Rex Riders definitely gets points for being the most original and strange book I've read this year.
The major problem with Rex Riders however, is that it is simply no great piece of literature, to put it lightly. The writing and characterization is amateurish, reverting to the easy way out of "telling instead of showing" the reader. At 440 pages, Rex Riders is also in dire need of some serious editing. At various points, there were large sections of extraneous and boring information that I felt the urge to just skim over to get to the actual action. This all being said, did I expect Rex Riders to be excellently written when I saw it? No. I wanted to read it purely because it had dinosaurs in it, I'm not going to lie.
And as a dinosaur fan, Rex Riders delivers on the Cool Factor scenes, featuring triceratops stampedes, baryonyx chases, and tyrannosaur hunts. J.P. Carlson excels in staging intense action scenes that were great fun to read. Anytime there was a dinosaur on the page, it thrilled me, even if they weren't doing anything particularly interesting. This story is for anyone who has ever dreamed of living in a time when dinosaurs were alive (with the added bonus that juvenile T-Rexes can be "domesticated" and ridden and are less likely to, you know, kill you). I know I've dreamt of it.
To put it bluntly, if you are not as much of a dinosaur geek as I am, I would skip this one.