Review: Amazon Burning by Victoria Griffith

Posted October 23, 2014 by Lillian in Reviews / 0 Comments

I received this book via the publisher, . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review: Amazon Burning by Victoria GriffithAmazon Burning by Victoria Griffith
on 2014-10-21
Length: 338 pages
Reviewing eARC Rating:

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.

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.

Character Breakdown

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.

My Conclusion

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!

About Victoria Griffith

Victoria Griffith is the author of the award winning non-fiction picture book The Fabulous Flying Machines of Alberto Santos-Dumont (Abrams, 2011), which won numerous awards, including the prestigious Parents’ Choice. The book was recently translated into Portuguese for the Brazilian market and was also released in audio book version.

Before becoming a full-time author, Victoria spent twenty years as an international journalist, fifteen of those years as foreign correspondent for the UK’s Financial Times. During that time, she had fun writing on a wide range of topics, including Brazil’s Yanomami Indians, architecture, space exploration, the human genome, and the growth of the Internet. She even managed to fit in some children’s book reviews. Her most terrifying assignment was preparing lunch for Julia Child, who praised the Brazilian fish stew but refused to touch the blackberry dessert. Victoria lives in Boston with her husband and three daughters.

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