Book Review – Raptor Red

Cover Image - I don't know that I'd quite draw it to Jurassic Park...
Cover Image – I don’t know that I’d quite draw it to Jurassic Park…

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Disclaimer: My Wife really likes this book and asked me to read it. Insisted, really.

Raptor Red is an unsual book for me to read.

I’m not super big in toanthropomorphism . I don’t really understand the appeal or get why we would want to read adventures told from the point of view of animals. That’s just me, however, and it might be right up the someone else’s alley. So, I figured I would give the book a shot.

The story is a fairly simple one and is told from the point of view of a Raptor. Specifically a Utahraptor. We’re in the Cretaceous period and there is a land bridge that has allowed the Utahraptor to cross over in to what is, today, Utah (imagine that). The story is not so much an adventure as it is a series of life events for the raptor and its reactions to them.

Raptor Red, the title’s raptor, is our main protagonist that we follow. Bakker, a Paleontologist as well as the author of the book, puts in many behaviors and reasoning from the point of view of Raptor Red. Red is not a human protagonist, but an animal with specific needs and purposes. She (Red is female) goes through several trying events and Bakker explains the reasoning for her decisions with patient calm and almost clinical detachment. I would surmise that many of the explanations are Bakker’s own theories and models or the ones that applied, in general, to the field at the time.

At times the story is dry. Red has very little ‘emotion’ to it and instead tends to focus on events, reactions, and pseudo-reactions. The science of the book is married well with the reasoning and it makes sense. The book is very patient in those explanations. I’m somewhat curious about the explanations and how many have been disproven or questioned since the book was written. Mr. Bakker is a professional in his field, but that does not mean he cannot be wrong.

Other than the dryness, it’s a good story and a decent read. I enjoyed it simply because it was simple and quick – there are no loose ends anywhere in the book. Bakker is careful to make sure that any kind of conflict within the novel is resolved then and there – Raptors don’t hold on to vengeance after all. The thing to remember while reading the book is it is an animal telling the story (even if it is from the 3rd person) and those animal traits are what define the thought processes and narrative. As long as that is kept in mind and separated, it can be an entertaining read.

Overall Rating: 4/5
Writing: 3/5
Characterization: 4/5
Setting: 4/5
Story: 1/5
Flow: 3/5
Value: 3.5 /5 ($7.19 for Mass Market Paperback. Other options available as low as $.01 with shipping costs).


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