I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: Fire & Flood #1
Published by Scholastic Press on February 25, 2014
Source: the publisher
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 mind-blowing and amazing on so many levels. My first thought was that it was like The Hunger Games – but way, way better. From there, the comparisons to The Hunger Games faded away and the book became even better. This was my first Victoria Scott Book (I swear, the Dante Walker books are on my TBR! Soon.. Very, very soon…) and I could tell right from the start that Scott was an amazing writer. I was captivated by her writing, her characters, her world-building, all of it.
First of all, I loved Tella. She was a strong, fierce and determined character. Used to living a mostly pampered life, she really came into her own as the story unfolded. She had a few moments of weakness, but that only made her feel more real and more relatable.
Guy was completely swoon-worthy. I adored him from the beginning, even though he was kind of mean to Tella at first. Guy was strong, a fighter and a protector. There was something about him from the beginning that had me curious and interested. Though Tella meets Guy early on, we aren’t formally introduced to him until further into the story. But I had heard so many things about him, I knew who he was immediately and I was eager for more of him!
I loved that Tella and Guy’s relationship had a slow build-up, that it took time for them to trust each other and like each other. And even then, Tella still questioned it. My favorite part of their relationship was when Tella questioned if they liked each other for the right reasons – was it true attraction or due to circumstance? It’s not something often addressed in Dystopian books and it was great seeing the character question the relationship in such a way. It felt realistic.
There were a lot of secondary characters in this book and sometimes, that can feel overwhelming and confusing. But all of Scott’s characters were so distinct, with strong voices, that they stood out and were incredibly memorable. I loved Harper, though I didn’t completely trust her. I was always waiting for.. something to happen. I’m not sure what. And my hunch was pretty accurate. I was pretty wary of Caroline and Dink, too, and for good reasons! Titus was a complete a-hole and he got what was coming to him!
Now, let’s discuss my favorite part of this book – Pandoras! I LOVED LOVED LOVED the Pandoras!!!!!!!! Seriously, Victoria Scott needs to team with GUND to create a stuffed animal line of Pandoras!! I want a stuffed Madox!!!!!!!!!! I feel like the Pandoras were a huge part of the story, so I can’t say too much or I’ll get spoilery on you guys, but they were amazing and cool and amazing and… Did I say cool yet? I just absolutely adored them!
And that brings me to the reason I rated this 4.5 stars instead of 5 stars… Near the very end of the book, there was a… situation. And it upset me terribly. Like.. I was literally sobbing and hysterical. And it bumped this wonderful book down half a star rating. I can’t say a single thing about what it was, what it concerned or why. It’s too big a spoiler. But it seemed unnecessary and completely ridiculous and out of the blue. My heart broke. So yeah..
Moving on. The ending was insanely amazing. I don’t know if I can wait a whole year for book two! I NEED to see what happens next! Especially with the crazy, insane revelations we learned in the last seven pages or so. Victoria Scott is an amazing writer, amazing story-teller and overall awesome person. Not only am I eager for the next book in the Fire & Flood serious, but this makes me even more eager to read her Dante Walker books. And I would DEFINITELY and HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone and everyone!