For my latest Book Bite review, Michael Crichton’s newest release isn’t much to snack on. It is, however, a Historical Fiction called Dragon Teeth. Set in the late 1800’s across the still very wild frontier of the West, William Johnson, a spoiled Yale student, goes on an expedition to look for dinosaur bones. Little does he know what awaits him: a journey across dangerous and warring territories between Native Americans and the US Calvary, as well as hardened mining towns filled with prostitutes, gamblers, and gunslingers. On top of all this Johnson gets involved in a personal war between two prominent Paleontologists willing to kill in the name of Science.
Although highly researched, I found the story boring. It felt like a list of true events gathered and crammed into a single character’s experience. The Protagonist, William Johnson himself is a collection of misfortunes, sheer dumb luck, whining astonishments, and stupidity. At one point Johnson is afraid for his life and the safety of his precious fossils and refuses Wyatt Earp’s (yep, the Wyatt Earp) protection because he didn’t like how Earp went about it the night before (not having drawn his weapon). Time and time again Johnson is duped and burgled yet learns nothing about being street smart (even if those roads are unpaved and filled with tumbleweeds)! By the final pages, I wasn’t rooting for Johnson’s triumph but rather for the book to come to an end.
The most fascinated thing about this book is that Michael Crichton died in 2008 and his publisher released Dragon Teeth in May of 2017. It was also intriguing the historical reality of the two fighting Paleontologists by the names of Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh who are prominent in the story.
Overall, I wouldn’t say the 320 paged book isn’t amusing, only that Dragon Teeth isn’t entertaining for anyone who isn’t an extreme history buff—which, unfortunately, I am not.