I received this book for free from the Publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott
Series: Fire & Flood #1
Published by Scholastic on 2014-02-25
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Source: the Publisher via NetGalley
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A modern day thrill ride, where a teen girl and her animal companion must participate in a breathtaking race to save her brother's life—and her own.
Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can't determine what's wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She's lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying—and she's helpless to change anything.
Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It's an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother's illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there's no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.
The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can't trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?
Fire & Flood was actually really surprising. I definitely enjoyed the book, the race, the characters, and all of the surprises along the way. I wasn’t sure what to expect besides some Hunger Games like story but other than the game of survival, it was very different. The main characters are pretty much opposites and the competition and it’s origins are completely different. And I was very happy with that. I don’t want books that follow storylines of other books that I love. This one still felt unique to me in the same way that books with magic feel different from Harry Potter. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next book. Fire & Flood was strange and intriguing, fast-paced, intense, and surprising.
One of the biggest difference between The Hunger Games and Fire & Flood for me was the main characters. Where Katniss is completely awesome and kick-ass, Tella feels like any girl I could have known in high school. She doesn’t know how to survive in the wild and on her own, she cares about how she looks, and she complains about the food. It might sound annoying but all of these things made her feel more real to me. She also loves her brother and her family, cares about the animals in a way that most of the other contestants don’t, a nd feels strongly about winning but doesn’t want to hurt anyone else. I liked her as an MC and I appreciated her realistic feel. I hope she’ll continue to grow stronger and more sure of herself and her abilities in the next book.
As for the competition, we don’t know a lot about it at the beginning. That much is frustrating. But we get more information about it as the competition continues, mostly information from other contestants who know more than Tella, but we do learn of its origins and some other information about it along the way. And by the end of book one, we know that there’s a lot more to the race and the people behind it than we actually know. It’s one of the main reasons I want to read book two. I want to find out more about the cure they offer as the prize, why the people are getting sick and what they are sick with, if all the contestants family members are sick with the same thing, why so much of the information about the race is secret, why it keeps happening, and if they actually have cures, why are they not being made? Who is keeping all of this information secret? A lot of questions still need answering, but I’m hoping, and assuming, that the answers will come along at the right time as the series progresses.
I also have to talk about the Pandoras and the other characters in this book. If it weren’t for the animals and other contestants but just Tella on her own, I would not have liked this book nearly as much as I did. First off, the Pandoras are awesome and really unique. Each one surprised me. Though, truthfully, by the time Madox showed his power, I was pretty sure that was what it would be. But still, they were very cool and I definitely want one. (Except that surprise one. I would not want one of those!) Secondly, the other contestants were all great characters and added so much to the story and the race. Think Thresh, Rue, Cato, Finnick, Wiress, etc. And while none of them, save maybe Guy, were as dynamic as those from The Hunger Games, they were all interesting and I’m really looking forward to spending more time with the ones that are still around.
Overall, I liked this book. I had to get past the beginning before I really started enjoying it because there just wasn’t a lot of information or background or anything much to go on. I did think it was interesting that so much of the world before Tella enters the race feels like our current world and she worries about everything any current high schooler might worry about but then upon entering the race everything felt really dystopian and kind of futuristic. Since I knew the race was coming and I wasn’t just reading a contemporary, it was a little baffling. But after that, and especially in the second half, the book really picks up. There is tons of action, lots of surprises, interesting characters, and awesome Pandoras. I’m definitely looking forward to book two where I hope we’ll get more world building and more background information on the race as well as get to know the characters a little bit better.