Isabel Allende was one of my favorite author when I was a teenager so I jumped at the opportunity to buy City of The Beasts when I saw it. The book was published in 2002 and is the first part of a trilogy
On the back of the book it says.
With his mother in hospital, Alex Cold is sent to his fierce, wonderful grandmother Kate - a pipe-smoking, vodka-drinking old reporter with blue eyes "as sharp as daggers' points". Kate is about to embark on an expedition to the dangerous, remote world of the Amazon rainforest, but rather than change her plans, she simply takes Alex along wit her... In a novel rich in adventure, magic and spirit, internationally-celebrated novelist Isabel Allende takes us on a voyage of discovery and wonder, deep into the heart of the Amazon.
The plot of the story starts well, it is believable and tragic. However, as the story goes on you start to wonder what kind of drugs she was taking when writing the book! I know that the book is a fiction book but it is just too much of a fiction. I'm not sure why I feel this way but I do think it has something to do with my experience with Allende's other novels. I was expecting the novel to walk the line between reality and fiction better but instead it just jumped into the fictional side and drowned.
I felt as well the fact that Alex was feeling attracted to a girl that was much younger than he (he was fifteen) and still comparing that girl to his younger sister quite disturbing. Just the fact that her boyish body is described in one place and in the other how grown up she seems and how Alex has started to look at her in a different way and you know she is the same age as his sister that is around 12 years old. For me that really damaged the book a lot.
"One day the crew shot a couple of monkeys, and that night when the boat was tied up along the riverbank they were roasted. They looked like couple of burned infants, and Alex felt queasy just seeing them." Page 59-60
"The rain was warm as soup, and it turned the narrow little streets into steaming mud pits." Page 70
""I set him free," César Santos replied with awesome serenity" Page 107
"In a movie or a novel, this would be the moment that the helicopters arrived to rescue him and he looked toward the sky, but without hope; in real life, helicopters never come in time." Page 218
"They had to brush away from their eyes the delicate spiderwebs embroidered with mosquitoes and dewdrops suspended like lace among the leaves." Page 253
I don't think I'll read the rest of the trilogy and I think I will stick with her books that are aimed at adults. I can't deny that Isabel Allende is a great author but this book just didn't do it for me!