The Hunting, Book 1: Z. Rex

Book review by
Abby Aldrich, Common Sense Media
The Hunting, Book 1: Z. Rex Book Poster Image
Action-adventure read for gamers with a Jurassic twist.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 10+
Based on 6 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Some information about dinosaur habits and characteristics.

Positive Messages

Adam is put in a dangerous situation and uses critical thinking in order to stay alive and stay on the course to find his father. He is a smart kid who never gives up and is open to learning and adapting under tremendous stress. It is clear that the villains are power-hungry, manipulative, and driven by greed. Those characteristics are shown in a negative light.

Positive Role Models & Representations

When it becomes clear to Adam that his dad is in trouble, he puts aside his surly teenager act and acts quickly in order to save him. Mr. Adlar is a busy single father who, through this ordeal, realizes he's been too distant with his son and vows to change.


Heavy on the action violence. The main character is chased and shot at, almost hit by a truck, nearly blown up by a grenade, and kidnapped by a dinosaur. There is some gory imagery, such as a disembodied arm and a snapped neck; a bad guy is stomped to death by a dinosaur, horses are maimed, buildings are blown up, and there is a long, bloody fight scene between dinosaurs.


Some brands are mentioned: Xbox, Nokia, Iron Horse bikes, Cadillac, and Daimler.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there is a lot of action violence in this book, with several instances of gory imagery. The main character's life is in danger throughout the book and his father has disappeared. A super-intelligent dinosaur kidnaps the main character, kills people and animals, and destroys buildings. The dinosaur and the main character are constantly chased by men with various weapons. There is only one female in this book and she is a villain.

User Reviews

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  • Kids say

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Kid, 12 years old January 8, 2012

superman the animated series 1990s version

this is only for kids who have seen things like superman the animated series the 1990s version.
Teen, 13 years old Written byStrano June 18, 2011

Z-Rex Rocks!

I loved this book;; It does have lots of gore, but I enjoyed Steve's writing altogether. It does have useful dinosaur facts, and there are up moments. I su... Continue reading

What's the story?

Fourteen-year-old Adam Adlar finds himself in a real-life adventure when his father, designer of the world's most cutting-edge virtual reality game technology, goes missing. Suddenly Adam's being chased and deceived by men with guns and, most alarmingly, a dinosaur with extremely high intelligence and a taste for destruction. When Z. Rex captures Adam he discovers they are both eager to find Mr. Adlar -- but, Adam fears, for very different reasons. Adam has to figure out whom to trust before more people are hurt.

Is it any good?

Kids who like a lot of excitement and adventure will love this. Adam is completely relatable as a plugged-in teen whose love for video games is the most exciting thing in his life. That is, until his dad disappears and he gets a real-life visit from one of his scary virtual creations. The book has a lot of action violence, but the mysterious connection between Adam and Z. Rex is what drives the drama and adds some depth. And as with all exciting adventures Adam's on the run constantly, never knows whom to trust, and is confused at every turn.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Hayden. He excuses himself from any guilt over the Z. Rex catastrophe because he says he has "superior power and vision." Do you think Hayden can be excused just because he thought he had a good idea? Were the risks worth it?

  • Mr. Adlar was supposed to kill the Z. Rex, but he couldn't bring himself to do it. Why do you think that is?

  • Was the Z. Rex more human or more animal? Why? What makes something human?

Book details

  • Author: Steve Cole
  • Genre: Adventure
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Philomel
  • Publication date: September 22, 2009
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 10 - 14
  • Number of pages: 245
  • Last updated: July 13, 2017

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy and adventure

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