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Rio: Snakes Alive! is a graphic novel published by Papercutz and the first graphic novel prequel to Rio 2, the sequel to Rio. It was written by Stefan Petrucha and James Silvani and released on 15th April 2014. The name refers to Ssssalbatore, a giant Anaconda and one of the two antagonists in the story. The novel tells the story of Blu and Jewel who go on a quest to save their home, the Blu Bird Sanctuary from being sold due to a financial crisis and help Tulio and Linda find the money to buy the land upon which it is built. However, Nigel gets in the way, busy satisfying his own interests and the macaw couple get into more trouble when preyed upon by the giant snake, Ssssalbatore.
The novel was developed as a prequel to the upcoming Rio 2, over which there was much excitement from Rio fans. It was meant to introduce the reader to how the story had moved on since the film Rio, setting the stage for Rio 2. It gives the reader a very good idea of how the Spix's Macaw chicks, namely Carla, Bia, and Tiago, will appear now they have grown, giving away some of their personalities. It also clarifies that Fernando was adopted by Tulio and Linda, and lives with them on the sanctuary premises.
After it's release, readers showed that they had enjoyed the novel and complimented the drawings and colours. Having the chance to have an idea of how the chicks have grown and how Nigel's story has progressed was also appreciated. Many fans looked forward to the upcoming sequel to Rio, Rio 2 and the next novel(s) as a result.
The story catches up with Blu and Jewel as they raise their three children Carla, Bia, and Tiago in the Blu Bird Sanctuary near Rio de Janeiro. When the sanctuary is hit with financial problems and is threatened to be closed, Blu and Jewel embark on an epic journey to recover an ancient elixir that may save the sanctuary and their home. After overhearing that the sanctuary may be sold, he hurries to tell his family. When searching for a solution, the macaw family discuss moving to the wild, which Blu is frightened of but his children fantasise about the idea. This turns out to be an inappropriate solution as Tulio, Linda, Fernando and all the other birds would also lose their home. They turn to Luiz for help who then describes an ancient civilisation that found an elixir for regrowing hair, fur and feathers which they could sell to a man who said he would "pay a million bucks" for something that would regrow his hair. Luiz is uncertain of the validity of his suggestion but credits himself with compliments of genius about it. Having no other solution in mind, the macaw family decide to go ahead with Luiz's idea. However, Nigel overhears the macaw family speaking of the elixir as they fly away, and seeks to find it for himself as he is too lazy to regrow his feathers through a strict diet and healthy regimen. Meanwhile, once Blu and Jewel go in search of the elixir in Pedra da Gávea, Carla, Bia, and Tiago trick Rafael, Nico, and Pedro who are minding them into playing a game of hide and seek as they escape to follow their parents into the wild. Blu and Jewel find the elixir but are attacked by an angry swarm of bats and become trapped in a cave-in. Nigel takes the opportunity to use up all the elixir and believes the feathers that made him an idol have returned. After rectifying a misunderstanding, the bats decide to help free Blu and Jewel. Bia uses her intellect to read the ancient writing on the walls that leads Blu and Jewel to opening the door of the dreaded monster, the giant snake Ssssalbatore. Blu bravely attacks Ssssalbatore in an attempt to save his family, but is hit by Ssssalbatore's head and is sent flying out of the mountain through the crack. Thinking they are safe, Ssssalbatore bursts through the tiny crack and attacks the macaw family, the bats and Blu attack the huge snake but are overpowered and while the bats are left behind, Blu is carried off with Jewel following, Ssssalbatore drives them over a ledge into the sea but Blu escapes. Later, Blu leads Tulio and Linda to the cave inside Pedra da Gávea and find that the bat population had settled there. Tulio finds out (through his method of licking a specimen) that it is a new species of bat, they find that they could get enough money from their discovery to buy the sanctuary. Blu thanks his children for saving him and Jewel but is unsure whether to be angry or grateful. The novel ends with Rafael, Pedro and Nico still searching for Carla, Bia, and Tiago.
San Diego, California – July 21, 2013 — PaperCutz, the industry's leading children's graphic novel publisher, will introduce fans to the box office sensation “RIO” through an ongoing series of graphic novels developed in partnership with Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products. Available in March 2014, the first book will serve as a bridge between the original animated comedy adventure, and the highly anticipated sequel from Blue Sky Studios and Fox Animation, “RIO 2,” arriving in theaters in April 2014.
This novel will be released on April 15, 2014 and sold at Amazon's webpage. It will be available in two formats: Hardcover and Paperback, which are on pre-order.
- Blu, a male Spix's macaw and the protagonist of Rio. Despite his personality in Rio, Blu is very brave when his family is in danger, overcoming his fear which soon catches up with him.
- Jewel, a female Spix's macaw and deutagonist of Rio. She appears to have settled very well in the sanctuary where she now lives with her family.
- Carla, the first hatched chick of her brood, she appears to enjoy fantasising about the idea of living in the wild.
- Bia, the second hatched chick of her brood. She is the most intelligent of her brood and displays the ability to read ancient writing.
- Tiago, the youngest of his brood, Tiago is the most energetic of his brood and, like Blu, enjoys the comforts of living with humans but enjoys the idea of getting to live in the wild.
- Nigel, a sadistic Sulphur-crested cockatoo and the main antagonist. Nigel was formerly a television star, but was replaced by a parakeet. After an aeroplane accident at the end of Rio, Nigel is no longer able to fly due to damage to his feathers. Which leads him to going after the elixir in the novel for himself.
- Luiz, a bulldog who helps Blu and Jewel save the sanctuary through information he had retained about an elixir in Pedra da Gávea.
- Rafael, a Toco Toucan and one of the three main tritagonists. He claims that Nico and Pedro don't know kids when they're playing hide and seek.
- Nico, a close friend of Pedro and one of the secondary tritagonists. He is a Yellow Canary with a green and purple striped bottlecap as a hat.
- Pedro, a Red-crested Cardinal and one of the secondary tritagonists. He, Nico, and Pedro look after Carla, Bia, and Tiago when Blu and Jewel search for the elixir.
- Basil, a young bat who is startled by Blu causing him to drop his best friend, a stick called Jeffrey. Resulting in a misunderstanding between the couple and the bat colony.
- Bat Colony, after a misunderstanding with Blu and Jewel, they try to help rescue them after being trapped in a cave-in and when being attacked by Ssssalbatore.
- Ssssalbatore, a giant Anaconda and the secondary antagonist. He is the monster that guards the elixir in Pedra da Gávea. He is presumed dead after falling from a cliff into the sea.
- Linda, Blu's human owner, she still has a close relationship with Blu since moving to the sanctuary in Rio de Janeiro.
- Fernando, a former antagonist, he is adopted by Linda and Tulio and lives with them at the Blu Bird Sanctuary. It appears he has settled in very well and is now living comfortably.
- Tulio, a Doctor of ornithology, he and Linda open a new bird sanctuary in Rio de Janeiro and move into a cottage on the premises. The Spix's macaw family and many other birds also live in the sanctuary.
- Sal and his partner, two minor characters who offer Nigel some pão de queij.
- The two Nigel fans from Hollywood, two minor characters who mock Nigel and then try to birdknap him to make a show.
- Woman wearing a boa, a minor character who is seen wearing a boa, which Nigel steels in an attempt to improve his appearance.
- Vegas enthusiast, a minor character who bumps into the woman wearing the boa, knocking off his wig. He comments that he would "pay a million bucks" for something that would regrow his hair, which gives Luiz an idea about how to save the sanctuary.
- Brazil, a vast South American country, it stretches from the Amazon Basin in the north to vineyards and massive Iguaçu Falls in the south. It is where most of Rio and the novel Rio: Snakes Alive! is set.
- Rio de Janeiro, The State (and city) in which most of Rio and the novel Rio Snakes Alive! is set.
- Blu Bird Sanctuary, the nature reserve in which Tulio and Linda do most of their work together. They also live in a cottage on the premises with the birds and Blu and Jewel's family living nearby.
- Tijuca Forest, a tropical rainforest in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is claimed to be the world's largest urban forest, covering bothsome 32 km. It is where Pedra da Gávea is located.
- Pedra da Gávea, a mountain in Tijuca Forest, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Composed of granite and gneiss, its elevation is 844 metres, making it one of the highest mountains in the world that ends directly in the ocean.
- Nigel claims he could regrow his feathers if he followed a strict diet and healthy regimen. Even though in Rio 2 Dr. Monáe claims that Nigel will never fly again.
- Tulio claims he has discovered a new species of bat, it is unclear by he would be able to identify this if he is an ornithologist and so theoretically shouldn't know the appearance (and taste) of every bat species in Brazil.
- Rafael is missing the orange markings along his upper mandible and his eyelids appear to be more of a dark blue/purple colour as opposed to his light blue eyelids in the films.
- Pedra da Gávea appears completely intact outside despite the major cave-in inside, and there also appears to be no concern of the loud rumble in nearby Rio de Janeiro.
- It is unclear how a giant snake could possibly survive for centuries or millennia trapped in a cave having already eaten any prey that could have lived inside originally soon after being trapped.
- It is uncertain how Linda and Tulio could have known to bring helmets with torches as it is clear they had no idea where Blu was leading them.
- At the start of the novel, Tulio makes it clear that the Blu Bird Sanctuary does not own the land on which it is built, but may be owned by one of their funders or the local/state/national government.
- The novel appears to be based around the time of the Bonfire Festival, which takes place in June each year.
- Nigel gives us insight into his main routine from when he was still an idol.
- The two Nigel fans from Hollywood comment that the parakeet that replaced Nigel never had the same "panache", implying they never had the same flamboyant confidence of style/manner and/or the same crest feathers which would have been a big part of Nigel's appearance, which are absent from a parakeet.
- Luiz gives insight into an ancient civilisation near where Rio de Janeiro is around the region of where Pedra da Gávea stands, which is later proven to exist by Blu and Jewel's discovery of their most sacred place which contained the elixir that could regrow hair, fur, and feathers.
- The elixir from the ancient civilisation in Pedra da Gávea appears not to regrow hair, fur or feathers or do anything except humiliate Nigel. Thus proving that the elixir is a myth.
- There is a fictional cave inside Pedra da Gávea which appears to have been turned into the most sacred room of an ancient civilisation from the area.
Rio: Snakes Alive! is the first of three graphic novels based on the Rio films. The first two (Rio Snakes Alive! and Rio: The Creature from Blu's Lagoon) were prequels to Rio 2. The third, the upcoming Rio: A Dog's Tale, is based on Rio's sequel, Rio 2, and tells the story of how Luiz travelled from Rio de Janeiro where Blu and friends left him to how he got to being flown in by Kipo at the end of the film.