Date of Publication: February 25 2014
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?
Victoria Scott's breathtaking novel grabs readers by the throat and doesn't let go.
Fire & Flood is a book that can be read in one sitting. Furthermore, at some point the plot becomes extremely engrossing and the pages fly by.
Relative to my expectations, I am disappointed in the story. That being said, it is quite likely I was expecting too much from the story after having read some extremely gushy reviews. No, I don't believe Fire & Flood is a new Hunger Games. It's lacking the real darkness of The Hunger Games. Fire & Flood is a book meant to entertain, and it does that well.
Tella is flamboyant and cheerful. She is a rarity in YA; a female character with a love for clothing, fashion, and someone with attitude. She won't bite anyone's fingers off, but Tella's character improved as the story progressed. Tella's narration was always filled with sass. Little comments about her need for internet or memories of the past endeared Tella to me.
The plot is extremely fast-paced. The page count is low, and that's because the main plot begins very early on. The writing isn't the most descriptive. It's to the point, witty and entertaining when it needs to be, and it gives Fire & Flood some charm. The story begins with Tella lamenting her new home in Montana and introducing her sick brother. There are a few short scenes with Tella and her family before she is off to the races.
I think what disappointed me in Fire & Flood was that I felt like the story was a missed opportunity. There were some scenes where there was great potential for exploring some dark subject matter, and the story instead focused on the plot. Fire & Flood does feature death and violence, but it's not a horrifying book. Its demeanor is light and I would have wanted so more ambiguity and moral relativity.
One of the villains, for example, doesn't make sense to me. They were evil and bad, no doubt, but I wish they had some redeemable feature, even a little, so the story stopped being good people vs bad people. There was a lot of potential, however. Characters like Harper shined, with her strength and badassery. Even Tella had weaknesses.
The flaw with the world building, as far as I know, is that the reason behind the games makes no sense. I mean, it's completely questionable, especially since Fire & Flood is set in contemporary America so it's subject to regular American laws. I mean, it's entertaining, but why is this even happening? I thought Fire & Flood lacked believability.
One part I enjoyed was the part about the Pandoras which are kind of like guardians. I thought seeing their powers and how different Contenders reacted to their Pandoras fascinating. To be honest, I want a Pandora. They're adorable. They kind of reminded me of Pokemon.
All in all, I can't say this was what I wanted, but Fire & Flood was still a good story. It's a story that is so readable and I was shocked to discover how late I ended up staying up to finish the story. I didn't even realize I had read it all because it never even crossed my mind to put Fire & Flood down. It's absolutely an entertaining read. A little slow at the beginning, and I thought needing a little more darkness and development for the world beyond what's already given (I hope it can become something that makes sense!) and the series has promise. Hopefully, the sequel goes further. Till then, on the lower scale of 3 stars because I liked it.