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Amazon Burning Paperback – July 11, 2014
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Victoria Griffith’s debut novel is a triumph! Amazon Burning is a spellbinding tale of love, intrigue, and murder set in the imperiled Amazon rainforest. A young woman’s coming of age story is deftly woven into this vast ecological conflict, as indigenous tribes struggle to defend their land against the loggers, ranchers, and miners who are destroying it. A nonstop thrill ride that will leave you wanting more. (Courtney Farrell, Bestselling author of Enhanced)
About the Author
Victoria Griffith is the author of the award winning non-fiction picture book 'The Fabulous Flying Machines of Alberto Santos-Dumont', which won numerous awards, including the prestigious 'Parents' Choice'. Before becoming a full-time author, Victoria spent twenty years as an international journalist, fifteen of which were as a foreign correspondent for the UK's Financial Times. During that time, in which she served as the newspaper's US science correspondent, followed by a stint as its' representative in Brazil, she covered a wide range of topics, including architecture, space exploration, the human genome, the growth of the Internet, and Brazil's Yanomami Indians. Environmental issues also featured and she spent some time in the Amazon rain forest. She even managed to fit in some children's book reviews. Victoria currently resides in Boston with her husband and three daughters.
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Top Customer Reviews
I received this book as a gift from the publisher.
+++I would not classify this as YA but more of a New Adult murder mystery or contemporary.
This cover is beautiful. It captivates, the colors explode off the book capturing the wild and untamed majesty of the Amazon. (Though I’m not too sure about that black purse).
The descriptions of the Amazon are bold, dark, and embrace the dangerous whimsy of the deepest recesses of the jungle.
Between the landslides, the vicious animals, the uncertainty of life or death, it’s a precarious world that reeks of danger and corruption. The suspense mounts as each scene is laced with the unexpected and the anticipation of something sinister.
Mystery, Nancy Drew style, weaves throughout the plot. There are clues that shout out, clues that are subtle, and those that are so seemingly random you don’t know what to make of them. The puzzle is tantalizing. You’re consumed with the desire to solve the riddle of the murder and everyone looks suspicious. It’s hard to know which characters to trust.
I learned so much from this book. It was like being transported to a magical and slightly nightmarish dream world. Insight into the crime rings, the risks journalists take, the prevalence of guns and attacks on the streets were terrifying and enlightening. It really opened my eyes to issues in the Amazon in terms of environment and domestic crime. The Amazonian Indians, the Yanomami, I had no clue that they existed or any idea about how their culture words and interacts with the rest of Brazil. These tidbits of information were fascinating and show that Victoria did her research.
Emma was an uncoventional protagonist. She’s headstrong and courageous but scared. She throws herself into stories, fighting for her career and refuses to give up on her dreams because something scandalous marred her image. Her fears are very real, of intimacy and trust but also her fear of what humanity is becoming and how we treat our fellow man. The scenes in the hospital were brutal, bleak, and disturbing but hopeful. There’s so much to be said about advocacy and the power a great journalist has in spreading the word and getting funding.
Jimmy is a bubbly, sexy, and funny male lead. He’s playful at some points and extremely serious in others. He’s devoted to his photography and very passionate about using the photos to make a statement. Paired with Emma, this duo is dynamic. They accentuate each other’s strengths and calm their nerves by getting lost in their chemistry.
The subplots were left undeveloped and although they played a significant part in character growth and overall personality, there was not enough discussion. For example, Emma’s father, Mike, as a journalist was kidnapped by the Taliban and tortured, leaving him with severe nerve damage. This was mentioned briefly but it says a lot about how Mike deals with Emma’s aspirations and the events that happen later in the book. There’s a huge disconnect between this story, the near-rape sexual offense and battery lawsuit, and emotions.
Environmental activism is a prominent aspect of this story but merely discussed, there wasn’t any in depth exploration into the politics. It seemed like, at first, because of the way the story was set up, that this would be the foundational motivation and guideline for the entire investigation but it gets lost as smuggling exotic animals, kidnapping, and the illegal gold trade get thrown into the plot.
The sex scenes alternated between flowery and blunt.
Amazon Burning by Victoria Griffith tells the thrilling story of aspiring journalist Emma Cohen and her journey into the Amazon to uncover the truth behind the death of prominent environmentalist Milton Silva. Emma is in Rio de Janerio interning with her father when news of Milton's death reaches them. Hopping aboard a plane with her father and newspaper photographer Jimmy, they head to the jungle to cover his funeral and do a little digging. From dealing with corrupt police to gold diggers to an illegal exotic animal ring, Amazon Burning will keep you engaged in the action until the very last word.
Emma Cohen is 22 years-old when she takes her father's offer of an internship at the newspaper he works for in Rio. Moving from NYC to the bustling city is a bit of culture shock for Emma, but with everything that is happening in NYC it is the best option for her. Without revealing any spoilers I'll just say that Miss Emma is facing a lawsuit and being kicked out her senior year of college because of something that happened with a professor. Needless to say, Emma is very strong-willed, a fighter, and has a nose for trouble.
Jimmy is a photographer for the newspaper in Rio, not much older than Emma, and extremely charming. He comes from a rich family, went to school to be a doctor, but has decided that it isn't for him. He and Emma become fast friends, but there is more than just friendship brewing between them.
Romance and Action
Okay so the plot is two-fold. First there is the main plot....who killed Milton Silva and why? This plot leads the characters on a wild goose chase through the Amazon jungle, risking life and limb literally! There is gold smuggling, an exotic animal ring, a trek into the jungle to meet the natives, and a kidnapping...and that's just the tip of what Emma and Jimmy go through!
Then there's the romance aspect or lack there of. I found it more a lust instead of an actual romance. There was not really any relationship building, just Emma thinking Jimmy was hot and how she wanted him to kiss her in the midst of all the action, also at rather inappropriate times. Jimmy was also a bit intense promising her nothing would happen to her while she was with him. I mean really?! How can he promise that when they are literally putting themselves in the middle of a very dangerous situation? But I digress, there wasn't much romance per say, lots of lust though.
Overall this book was just okay for me. It had excellent action and a very suspenseful plot, however I had expected a romance and well there wasn't one. Sure the characters lusted after each other, but why? Just because of looks? There wasn't much character building, except with Emma where her character was slowly revealed throughout the book. Jimmy was basically a closed book, not much about him other than he came from a rich family and studied to be a doctor. I guess I just didn't connect with the characters.
So why four stars? Well like I said the action and suspense kept me engaged to the very end. I had to know what was going to happen to the characters and what happened to Milton, though I had figured it out before Jimmy and Emma. They aren't very good journalists. FYI there is a small amount of profanity and quite a bit of sexual references so I would recommend this book for mature audiences only! If you enjoy new adult fiction, a little romance, and lots of action/suspense then I believe this book is for you!
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