La Ciudad de las Bestias (City of the Beasts) by Isabel Allende (♦♦♦♦)
The Cold family is having problems due to the grave illness affecting the mother/wife. Alexander, the fifteen-year-old son, must travel to New York City to live with his paternal grandmother while his mother endures chemotherapy treatments. Kate, Alexander’s grandmother, and Alexander embark on a trip to the Amazon jungle courtesy of International Geographic, to discover and document the existence of a giant creature known as The Beast.
During the trip Alexander finds a friend in Nadia, the guide’s daughter, and together they unleash the power of magic and their own to help an endangered tribe; also they are forced to grow up by overcoming the trials they encounter along the way.
La Ciudad de las Bestias (City of the Beasts) by Isabel Allende is a passionate narrative for young adults in which reality and fiction, myth and fantasy coexist. The intricate and little known Amazonian jungle and the legendary city of El Dorado are the lush scenarios in which this magnificent and mysterious story unfolds.
The reader immerses in the story and is able to feel it intensely despite a few flaws. In the passages in which Allende lets her imagination fly, the result is breathtaking, not so in the passages in which the children encounter and visit the tribe, for Allende emphasizes anthropology and natural history as if it were a lecture; in other words, the flow and freshness of the plot up to that point are interrupted.
In my opinion, the narrative would have benefited more if conservationist messages had been avoided, but the story is very good regardless.