Dinotopia, First Flight: 20th Anniversary Edition
by James Gurney
Cover Artist: James Gurney
Review by Gayle Surrette
Calla Editions Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781606600573
Date: 21 May 2014 List Price $25.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
I always feel that I'm running behind, playing catch up when an anniversary edition comes out, and I've never read the original. So I come to James Gurney's Dinotopia, First Flight: 20th Anniversary Edition as a first time reader. I did see the Dinotopia mini-series; infact I have the DVD and have watched it several times, so I'm basically familiar with the world and the inter-relationship between humans and dinosaurs.
Dinotopia, First Flight introduces the rich and varied world of Dinotopia to readers. Gideon is being trained as a drone pilot, but one day he encounters and is intrigued by a group of dance artists who dress to portray dinosaurs. On his island, there are no animals and very little vegetation, by legislation and the design of the ruler. Before he realizes what is happening, he's befriended this troupe of players and is involved in freeing captured dinosaurs and becoming a terrorist in the eyes of his government. It's through his work with dinosaurs that the skybax riders are born -- he was the first.
A second story line follows Blake Terrapin, who through various adventures comes to lead the rebellion on the ground that parallels Gideon's battles in the air.
There's also pages and pages of concept drawings, character studies, landscapes and architectural drawings of countryside and buildings. This is a beautiful book with lovely artwork that is worth spending some time studying and just enjoying. Gurney's work is lovely -- the color palette and subject matter lend themselves to the stories, adding depth and context.
I read the electronic version of this book and found it easy to read and navigate. The book should already be in your bookstores so, if you're a fan of Dinotopia and James Gurney's artwork, you should check it out.