The Hunting, Book 1: Z. Rex



Action-adventure read for gamers with a Jurassic twist.

What parents need to know

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

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.

Not applicable
Not applicable

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

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

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.

Families can talk 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
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:September 22, 2009
Number of pages:245
Publisher's recommended age(s):10 - 14
Read aloud:10
Read alone:10

This review of The Hunting, Book 1: Z. Rex was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

For kids who love fantasy and adventure

External sites

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 11 years old February 19, 2011

a good book.

a good book.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
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 suggest reading this book for 12+ and those who will read violence! ♥♥♥
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Too much violence
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.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Special Needs Guide