Tess Sharpe’s THE EVOLUTION OF CLAIRE is a non-vital, but thoroughly enjoyable chapter in the JURASSIC PARK story.
A movie adaptation based on a book may be hard, but a book adaptation based on a movie will always be harder. The Evolution of Claire by Tess Sharpe is thrown another curveball based on the fact that the movie it is based on, Jurassic World, is based on another book series, Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. Based on the fact that Sharpe is writing a book about licensed material, targeting a demographic that is abnormal for the franchise, Sharpe does a phenomenal job. The Evolution of Claire tells the story of Claire Dearing, who the world was first introduced to in the 2015 film Jurassic World, where she was played by Bryce Dallas Howard. We are introduced to a younger version of Claire Dearing than we saw in the films, having the books take place when Claire is just 19, just after the end of her first year of college. Sharpe does a wonderful job of truly staying loyal to the vibe and legacy of the Jurassic Park films, while reinventing the story for the YA audience.
Sharpe employs a time tested method of telling a well-known character’s origin story. Claire starts off as a recognizable yet wildly different version of the character the audience expects, and gradually, over the course of the installment, you see the events that begin to change the character into the more familiar version of themselves. In this case, Claire starts off as an idealistic and almost naïve intern on the Isla Nublar, the island which acts as the setting for not only the book, but Jurassic World and some of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Despite her relative shyness, Claire’s determination and passion are both familiar and endearing. Claire is a ardent animal rights activist, leading to the natural progression of becoming a dinosaur rights advocate. The story follows Claire’s internship with the park, and while it is undoubtedly an action novel about dinosaurs, the personal journey and empowerment Claire experiences is just as important.
When Jurassic World first came out, Claire was, perhaps unfairly, declared 2-dimensional. People were so caught up in the mysterious and rugged bad boy of Chris Pratt’s Owen Grady, that they weren’t too bothered by Claire. It could be argued that her character was boiled down to tightly-wound shrew-like plot device used for Owen’s character development. The biggest discussion involving Claire’s role in the film was how she would have been able run around the island to escape the loose dinosaurs while wearing high heels. And while that is an impressive feat, and a valid question, this book definitively proves that there is so much more to Claire. Claire is a strong and caring character, making the progression from fervent advocate in this book to cold business women in Jurassic World all the more interesting. She comes into her own in this book, dealing with both personal dilemmas, as well as dinosaur problems.
The Evolution of Claire truly leans into the backlog of lore available to them. Claire’s life had been changed by the T-Rex attack in San Diego that took place in Jurassic Park: The Lost World. The book is riddled with John Hammond and Ian Malcolm references, and furthers the story of the park by giving readers a detailed look at what goes on behind the scenes. The scientific jargon is blessedly simple, while still remaining intricate enough to be believable within the world. Sharpe nailed the hard to hit spot of embracing previous installments in a story, while still making it new and distinct.
The Evolution of Claire is not a vital part of the Jurassic Park story, nor is it an obvious bestseller, but it is an interesting development in a loved franchise. The book fills a particular niche, that people of any age could enjoy.
RATING: 4.25 OUT OF 5 STARS
The Evolution of Claire is out now. It can be found on Amazon or support your local bookstore via Indiebound.
Discover the beginnings of one of Jurassic World ‘s most beloved characters–Claire Dearing–in this original action-packed young adult novel.
During the events of Jurassic World, Claire Dearing faced the savage fury of dinosaurs unleashed . . . but it wasn’t the first time. In this entirely new coming-of-age story, Claire lands an elite internship working for Simon Masrani and soon discovers his plans to build an all-new theme park–Jurassic World! Along the way, Claire establishes valuable relationships with both her peers and the prehistoric creatures she studies, but when the situation turns dangerous, she begins to see the dinosaurs in a different light. Fans of Jurassic World will delight in filling in the gaps of Claire’s past, all while gaining insights into the experiences that transformed her into the strong woman we know today.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is being directed by J. A. Bayona (The Impossible, A Monster Calls), with Steven Spielberg and Colin Trevorrow serving as executive producers and Frank Marshall and Pat Crowley as producers.