The Dinosaur Games (Book 1) by Christopher Gordon [Book Review]

Kid gladiators riding dinosaurs into battle

The Dinosaur Games is a YA about two brothers and a girl. Complete preserved dinosaurs where found frozen in ice and now a dinosaur ranch occupies a third of the seceded state of Texas. The ranch owner Big D and Governor Diana Diabolus of Texas is in cahoots on some plan that involves using dinosaurs as weapons and maybe taking over the world (their ultimate goal is not revealed in this book). To prove their point they use a T Rex to attack and kill a family of ordinary ranchers but when one demonstration is not enough they target Jack and Egg’s family.

The beginning of the book is a bit incoherent at times but that could be due to me reading an ARC version. The boys escape but Egg is wounded, their parents killed and bounty hunters are after them. They learn who is behind the attack and meets some interesting folks along the way among them Mississippi Kate the daughter of one of the original researchers that revived the dinosaurs now trapped under a T Rex waiting to die. Jack saves her and she kisses him as thanks even if he had to burn off a leg to free her. Before long they all are forced to enroll in Republic’s Academy – Predator Training – Objective Rehabilitation, RAPTOR school.

Texas has a law that forces all non-conformist children into gladiator training and they use that to escape the clutches of the governor and Big D. And here is when the book becomes interesting to me. The conflicts between the children are not as good as in Ender’s Game but have a similar feeling that I enjoyed. The characters are a bit sketchy at times especially Kate but the action catches my interest as a reader and I want to learn more about what is going on.

The world building borders on the absurd but if you can overcome your sense of disbelief in that regard it is an enjoyable ride.

The gadgets like the Laser-whip and the Laser-lasso reminded me of a post author John Scalczi made a year ago about how much more impressive everything sounds if you just put laser in front of it.

What is not to like with children gladiators riding into battle on dinosaurs to fight each other and instead rebel and fight the bad guys (don’t hit me I am a parent too).  I am looking forward to Book 2 The Dinosaur Games: Revenge of the Galdiator which will be out soon according to the ARC.


Title: The Dinosaur Games
Series: The Dinosaur Games book 1
Author: Christopher Gordon
Ebook: 55780 words
Publisher: Smashwords (2011)
Copy: Review ARC
Order from: Smashwords

One week ago, they took Jack’s neighbours.
Six days ago, they took his parents.
Five days ago, his brother.
Four days ago, the girl he loves.
Three days ago, he surrendered to them.
Two days ago, Jack rode his first T-Rex.
Yesterday, they made him a Gladiator.
Today, he’ll save the girl he loves, even if it means his own death.
Tomorrow, they’ll wish they never let Jack Reaper enter the Dinosaur Games.

Are they coming for you next?

When Gladiator kids are forced to fight dinosaurs to win freedom… you know you’re in the Dinosaur Games.

To quote the book, this what you’re up against…

“Are you eleven to eighteen-years-old? Want to fight dinosaurs and ride them in the deadliest sport in the world?
Can you handle the glory, riches and freedom offered by the Dinosaur Games?
We make the best Dinosaur Gladiators. Try out for our All-Stars team.
Our motto is T-REX: Terror, Reflex, Endurance Xtreme.
We offer a one hundred percent graduation rate.
No end of year exam retakes: pass or die.
All street orphans and high-school drop-outs accepted. No win, no fee.
So you think you got what it takes to become a Raptor class student? Call 1 – 800 RAPTOR
(Republic Academy Predator Training Objective Rehabilitation)
And take a dinosaur bite out of success.”