Primeval: Shadow of the Jaguar book review

When Parsley wanted to know if the Primeval spin off book was any good, he immediately thought of asking the two boys that had introduced him to the show in the first place...

My friend Paul and his kids had come round one Saturday night, on the strict understanding that we would all sit in reverential silence for ITV’s sci-fi show Primeval. I felt it was ITV attempting to answer Doctor Who, but their enthusiasm for it got me interested. Even though there was a lot of history and back plot I still enjoyed that one episode a lot, but I did have them to guide me.

When a Primeval book came up for review I decided to enlist their help.

Ben kicked it off by writing this short review:This exciting, breathtaking novel is extraordinarily brilliant in terms of description and vocabulary. Although, this book contains some language and I would rate it 12. This is a very entertaining book and it is really easy to relate it to the television programme because the characters are similar to those on TV. The suspense this book creates is shocking at times, but it can also be surprising, thrilling and heart-stopping. The book is about a sabre-tooth tiger lurking in the Peruvian jungle and threatening to kill hundreds of villagers. Get this book now! It is truly brilliant!

After that heads up from Ben I decided to interview both boys about their views on the show and the book. Here are the edited highlights (PTL-Parsley the Lion, BL-Ben Lester, EL-Ethan Lester) :

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Primeval and The BookPTL: Who do you think Primeval is made for – Children of your age or for grown-ups?EL: Well the book is more for grown ups actually.PTL: So what’s the attraction? Why is Primeval a great show?BL: Monsters and dinosaurs are really good.EL: They’re futuristic.BL: Not futuristic! Real.EL: Real.BL: And there’s adventure and action.PTL: So if you’re saying monsters and dinosaurs, that’s saying to me that the people that liked Jurassic Park would like Primeval.EL: Same producers.PTL: Are they?BL: No, Walking With Dinosaurs.PTL: Walking With Dinosaurs, right. So we can trace the history of this kind of show from Jurassic Park, into Walking With Dinosaurs, into Primeval.

Harry Potter vs PrimevalPTL: Ok, so I’ve got a choice: There’s a new Harry Potter book, and there’s the next Primeval book.BL: Primeval, Primeval, Primeval. I’d like to read Primeval.PTL: And you as well?EL: I go for Primeval.PTL: Including if it was this kind of book?BL: Yes.PTL: So what has this book got that a Harry Potter book hasn’t got?BL: Well, very good description and it’s like putting you in there.EL: Harry Potter‘s a bit slow, there’s not that much happening.BL: Primeval‘s got loads of action.EL: And there’s lots of different settings in it.PTL: Right, whereas you’ve got Hogwarts and most of the action is there.

Doctor Who vs Primeval – The ShowsBL: Doctor Who would win, although I think I prefer Primeval but generally people prefer Doctor Who because their parents have watched it and they’ve watched it, and if Doctor Who carries on then their children will watch it. The majority, in fact all of my class watch Doctor Who, only 3 or 4 watch Primeval.PTL: Wow.BL: But I do prefer Primeval.EL: Not sure what I prefer.PTL: There’s not that many people that like Primeval in your class, which is interesting.BL: It’s not because they don’t like it, it’s because they haven’t seen it yet.EL: Yeah, because there are lots of other programmes on at the same time.PTL: So what other programmes would they be liking other than Doctor Who and Primeval?BL: I like Pushing Daisies but no one else watches that.PTL: So your taste isn’t typical of kids your age?BL: No, actually we’re a bit weird. Primeval and Doctor Who aren’t on at the same time. Primeval is usually on at winter or early spring. Doctor Who is late spring or summer.EL: So when Doctor Who‘s on Primeval‘s not on and when Doctor Who‘s finished Primeval‘s on.PTL: That’s weird cos you expect the Doctor Who fans given something similar would go to Primeval but they don’t, they just don’t watch anything.

Doctor Who vs Primevel – The MerchandisingEL: I think the Doctor Who figures are a bit better than the Primeval ones.PTL: The faces were completely unrealistic.EL: There are many more Doctor Who figures. Many more characters.BL: There are about 75 Doctor Who and about 10 or 20 Primeval figures.PTL: What about the monsters in Primeval? Do they only ever appear in one show?BL: Well the Gorgonopsid was in two episodes, and Future Predator was in three.PTL: So there are a lot more different aliens and characters in Doctor Who than Primeval.BL/EL: Yep.BL: I don’t like having that much otherwise it’s hard to get your ahead around ‘oh who’s he, I don’t remember what he did’ and something.EL: And the episodes of Primeval have got more than one monster, three monsters normally.BL: No, the last episode there was about 9. All of the dinosaurs of series 2 were in one episode.EL: That’s a really good one.PTL: So merchandising for Doctor Who is better than the merchandising for Primeval?BL/EL: Yeah.

Doctor Who vs Primevel – The Spin-off BooksPTL: So how does the Primeval book compare to the Doctor Who books?BL: I’ve only read one Primeval book. I would read more but I don’t know where to get them from.PTL: And out of the one Primeval and the few Doctor Who books that you’ve read, which is better ?BL: The Primeval book was really good.EL: Doctor Who‘s really good.BL: Primeval would come up on top.EL: By a bit.BL: Because as I said it’s got more action than Doctor Who. Doctor Who‘s got ‘wow there’s a monster, oh my goodness, save me!’ and Primeval there’s more…PTL: .. more description about what’s happening, the action…EL: And in Doctor Who he gets a companion, then just leaves him. Second episode he gets another one and just leaves him and gets another one.BL: It’s really clumsy.EL: He’s got so many companions, and then they come back in some episodes. We don’t know who they are because we haven’t been watching Doctor Who for long enough.PTL: So for continuity, Primeval is better in terms of getting you involved with the characters and keeping you involved.

So, after the Lester boys’ advice I think I’ll be watching and reading Primeval for more planet Earth characters and lots of dinosaur and monster action.

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Author: Steven SavilePublisher: Titan Books, £6.99Parsley the Lion’s own website is and he can be contacted via



4 out of 5