I saw this book for free with my amazon prime for Kindle and decided to give it a shot. It was right up my ally for my type of reading, a historical book, and of course, free. Just in passing, I may not have even read this book if it were not for the fact my wife was from Brazil, I have been there a few times and loved it (see some of my posts about my recent trip) and I love the country.
This was quite a novel, 700+ pages that detail the history of Brazil. The story of how it was colonized in the early 1500s by the Portuguese. It was a novel that blended fact and fiction. The fiction part was around the names of the early settlers. The story was built around these families. The fact part was the actual history from the settlement of the country from Portugal, the prince from the Portuguese royal family that lived in Brazil, the slavery and the export of minerals, and the import of coffee seeds. Brazil is now the largest coffee producer in the world) and the development of sugar to export. There were also details around the historical war of south America where Brazil, Argentina, and Uraguay fought over land encroachment from Paraguay.
The negative for me was the writing seemed choppy at times. With a novel of this size, it takes time to read, the chapters and logical breaks were very long, and it was told in 5 sections (almost five individual books) This made it hard to put the book down and when you picked it up, it was difficult to tell where in the story you left off.
In many sections, periods were mentioned, for instance, from 1650 to 1680, but a few pages into the section, the author would go back to maybe 1635, which for me I found it a bit hard to follow.
Many times the story, especially at a new section or chapter, took some time to get going; it was like a train pulling out of the station until it gained steam, and then the story took off and was quite entertaining. Unfortunately, every break had this almost hard stop, and it took pages to build up a flow again. Some of this could, of course, be to the names and words were not expected, more native to Portuguese, but the Kindle does help when you can click on a word and get an understanding.
Unless you have an interest in Brazil or large novels with the historical context, I’m not sure this would be a must-read or something I recommend. If you do and can get through a bit of the choppy style, this can be a pretty exciting book.