City of the Beasts

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An ecological romance with a pulsing heart, equal parts Rider Haggard and Chico Buarque - one of the world's greatest and most beloved storytellers broadens her style and reach with a Amazonian adventure story that will appeal to all ages. Fifteen-year-old Alexander Cold has the chance to take the trip of a lifetime. With his mother in hospital, too ill to look after him, Alex is sent out to his grandmother Kate - a fearless reporter with blue eyes `as sharp as daggers' points'. Kate is about to embark ...

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OpheliasOwn

Jul 24, 2008

A bipolar book with lots of personality

I liked this book, but I don't think I would give it to just any student- only those who really enjoyed reading and could suffer through the middle 150 pgs. The book began a little iffy. Allende is an AMAZING author, but the first ten or so pages seemed as though she did not even consider she was writing for a young adult audience. Quickly, though, her story becomes addictive as a 15 yr old boy must go with his grandmother, who can be described as the least maternal grandmother alive, to the Amazon in search of a Bigfoot-like beast. He is sent away so his father can take his cancer-stricken mother away for experimental treatment. The story continues through his adventures and adjustments to the harsh world of the Amazon. After 200 wonderful pages, the story takes a turn. There is a 150 page "vision quest" where reality, superstition, and fantasy collide. This is beautifully done, and I appreciated and enjoyed Allende's descriptions, but I cannot imagine my students making it through this chunk of the 400+pg book. Once this mystical piece is over, the story returns to the exciting, fast paced adventure the originally started as. It ended fabulously. I would give the beginning and end 5 stars, and the middle section 3 stars, so I compromise for a solid 4 for the book as a whole!

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