Amazonia – 4 stars
4yrs ago, a government scientific expedition team lead by Dr. Carl Rand had vanished in the unknown depths of the jungle of Amazon. Now after all these years one of the team members- a special force soldier comes out of the jungle and dies within hours from multiple diseases, scars and molestations. But, he has come out with both of his arm although he had gone in with only one! Now the government decides to lead another expedition to trace back the missing years following the dead soldier’s path with a team of scientists and soldiers. They also enlist Nathan Rand(son of Carl Rand) who wants to solve his father’s death at any cost with the help of his friends. But little does he know that there is one more contender of their findings who lurches behinds them hiding in their shadows while the unseen horrors and ancient secrets of Amazon waits for all of them!
Ok, I was hooked with just the premise itself! The plot is very engaging. I have read many science fiction and adventure novels but mostly those focus on technologies very much. But rarely comes novels like Amazonia which focuses on the nature and its horror! the wilderness, the jungle, its animals, weird bugs, medicinal leaves – all of these knits a gripping and enjoyable story which is decorated with stupendous action, chase and one after another twists. The jungle’s description and the actions are written so well that it feels like happening in front of the eyes like a movie (will come back to this point). With betrayal, revenge and a good villain thrown into that, James Rollins has really written a fantastic gripping novel.
Each of the characters are living through the pages and feels very very realistic. Manny, Prof. Kouwe, Tor-Tor became friends of mine too along with Rand. Nathan Rand is one of the best heroic characters that I have read. His anger, sadness and bravery really leaves a mark on the reader’s mind.
Sadly the books is very very cinematic at some places. It kind of does feel like a sci-fi adventure movie with little bits of Predator thrown in. But what really hurt me was that the 2nd half of this book is almost a blue print of the movie AVATAR by James Cameroon!! Amazonia came out on 2001-02 whereas AVATAR was out on 2009. The jungle, animals and intriguing story elements are so similar that it feels uncanny to be ‘just a coincidence’! It even felt as if Mr. Cameron ripped off some of the pages of this book to write the script. I usually like movies of Mr. Cameron but this sad realisation left a bitterness when I finished the book.
I highly recommend this book to any science fiction or adventure lovers.