Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Amazon Burning by Victoria Griffith

Publication Date: October 1, 2014

Series: Standalone

Genera(s): Thriller/Mystery/Romance

Subjects: reporters, rainforests, murder, suspense, adventure, travel, wildlife

Setting: Brazil: The Amazon Rainforest, Rio de Janeiro and Boa Vista

POV/Tense: 3rd person POV, past tense: Emma

Age/Grade Level: New Adult (17+)

Length: 338 pgs. (in the Paperback ARC copy the gave me)

HC/PB: Ebook & Paperback

List Price: $4.49/$11.05

Publisher: Astor + Blue Editions


"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, author of Enhanced

 “When 22-year-old aspiring journalist, Emma Cohen, is forced to flee the comforts of her NYU student life, she maneuvers an internship from her father at his newspaper in Rio de Janeiro. There, Emma is immediately swept into a major news story--and a life-threatening situation--when a famous jungle environmentalist, Milton Silva, is mysteriously murdered.

Emma must now enter the Amazon rainforest with her father to investigate; both awed by the enormity and beauty of the Amazon, and appalled by its reckless destruction. Not only will Emma have to brave the primal world of the Amazon, she must fight to survive the kidnappers, villains, corrupt activists, and indigenous tribes that lay in wait along the ever-twisting trail of the murder case. Stretched to the brink, it s up to Emma, her father and the dreamy news photographer, Jimmy, to unravel the mystery and live to tell the tale. 

Amazon Burning by Victoria Griffith is a spectacular debut Young Adult novel. Griffith's powerful rendering of the Amazon rainforest forms the perfect, wildly exotic backdrop for this extraordinary tale of a young urban woman coming of age in the midst of intense conflict.”

My Review:  This book is different from what I usually read. I usually only read paranormal, fantasy and sci-fi books. The only realist thrillers I’ve read recently were murder mysteries or about hackers. In Amazon Burning the main character Emma is an aspiring reporter and is interning with her reporter father in Brazil. I really enjoyed the setting in this book. It was the most appealing thing and the reason why I said I was interested. The different animals and plants that I’ve only seen in picture or in movies like Rio (the animated movie about a blue Macaw). The setting and atmosphere was well written. It was like a mental vacation to a place I may never get to go to.

The plot was interesting enough. I never guess who killed Milton. The book entwined other issues related to the Amazon, including illegal poaching and trafficking of exotic animals as pets or for “magical” properties. Deforestation and burnings for ranchers was also brought up. There were indigenous people described in the book. They had strange ideas and traditions, but are not savages. They are called the Yanomami and they like in the rainforest and hunt and plant small farms to survive. Some have horrible diseases like malaria.

The romance between Emma and Jimmy is supposed to be a big part of the book, but to me it felt minor. I was turned off by the part that mentioned oral sex. As someone who ever only reads YA, NA is still pretty new and I don’t like erotic stuff or thing that I going to disgust me. I basically skipped through those because I did not want the mental image. I like kissing and there’s some of that. I feel like the romance is kind of unrealistic though. Emma’s personality seems all over the place. Is she really so hot for someone when she has more important things going on? I think the author should have taken it slower with the romance. Plus Emma’s having issues with a professor at NYU who sexually harassed her and is trying not to look slutty in case someone’s watching her.

This book did have some entertainment value and it’s worth a read for anyone who’s a fan of thriller movie or like books about travel and social and environmental issue. It’s thoughtful and anthropological. I still feel like there are some things that could have been improved. The characters felt kind of flat and not worked out. Maybe it’s just the 3rd person POV in this case. It was a change of pace and different from my usual genera.

Cover Art Review: The cover is good for a romantic thriller, but that girl looks nothing like the main character Emma.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Amazon Burning, then you can get at at the following online retailers:

Astor + Blue Publishing Company:

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