For a while, this book was hovering around a 3, 3.5 for me, but with that ending? It dropped down to 2-stars.
The second half of this book gave me serious Planet of Apes vibes, and I wasn’t mad at it. It made the book more interesting and fast-paced regarding the chimps, but at the same time a lot of what was happening felt unrealistic to me. I had difficulty believing that a genetically modified chimpanzee could learn how to operate a gun so easily without having seen one before.
The romance in this seemed way out of place. It’s science-fiction thriller; who the hell has time to form a relationship when you have a gang of chimpanzees trying to kill you? The characters felt one-dimensional already, and I felt that Paolo was only in this so Jamie could get an anticlimactic happy ending (and some good dick; though, thankfully, there were no graphic details of their eventual coupling).
I would have liked to learn more about the new species Nakamura and Kate Batori were collaborating on together, mostly from her end. She clearly doesn’t fear losing her career or her license too much at the end, though, if she’s still trying to implant modified embryos into unsuspecting patients. I feel like there was a missed opportunity there to expand on that part of the plot.
The writing seemed a bit juvenile, for my tastes, despite the scientific jargon thrown at me from all sides, but I don’t know if that’s because of when this book was published (2006) or if the author chose to focus more on the science aspect instead of worrying about how natural the dialogue sounded.
I did enjoy the setting of this book, at least. I liked that it took place in the jungle in Brazil, but I thought that the author could’ve maybe expanded upon the visuals a bit more because it’s the Amazon rain forest, for crying out loud! With how big it is, I expected to see descriptions about all kinds of plants and trees and the abundance of wildlife. If you’re going to bring up the adaptation of chimpanzees into the rain forest, bring up why it’s such a big deal.
Also, why was Carlos more important to bury in the rain forest than any of the others who’d died? Who even thought Carlos would WANT to be buried in the jungle in the first place?
All in all, I expected better from this book, and it didn’t deliver. I don’t recommend.