Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Review: Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott

Title: Fire & Flood (Fire & Flood #1)
Author: Victoria Scott
Release date: February 25th 2014
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Format: ARC
Pages: 305
Source: 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 is a gorgeous novel with an intriguing premise, awesome writing, and lots of heart-pounding action. I'd been waiting for this book ever since I heard of it, because I love Victoria's Dante Walker series and I'm sure I'll love everything she writes. This book definitely lived up to my expectations, and it sure did wow me in a lot of places.

Tella's brother is sick, and she has no idea how to help him get better. Until she's chosen to be a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed - a race between a whole bunch of equally desperate candidates, all fighting for the one thing they need above everything else - a guaranteed cure for their loved one. There is only one winner, and Tella is determined to get the cure for her brother. But she's not equipped for a survival race, and she is pushed to the extremes of her limits - both physical and mental. She's got her Pandora to help her out, but then so do all the other Contenders. Tella has to toughen up if she wants to win, but she can't help wondering how this race can exist in the first place. The answers she strives to get are more dangerous than she thought.

The premise of Fire & Flood is pretty similar to that of The Hunger Games, so if you're a huge fan of that, you have to check this out. There are obviously a lot of differences in the race, like the Pandoras and the fact that this one is a lot less gory, but the basic stuff is there in both. I liked how there are four ecosystems that the Contenders have to experience. It definitely ups the interest and the stakes.

Tella is likeable enough, and it's easy to really get into her perspective. I think the writing really helped with that, because we get to see exactly what she's thinking and feeling, and it's honest in a way that I haven't seen in too many YA novels. I did have a couple of issues with Tella, though. I get that protagonists need to have their flaws, but Tella's vanity just didn't allow me to empathize with her too well, even though I got her most of the time. There would be instances where she'd be more worried about her hair than anything else, or she'd be wishing for make-up. I found that a little hard to believe. I was also a little frustrated about the fact that Tella is so intent on saving Madox (her Pandora) or her friends, but not herself. But regardless of that, I did find myself liking Tella more and more as the novel progressed. Her character develops beautifully, and I can't wait to see how she grows in the next book.

One thing I really loved is that the romance didn't take the front seat in this book. The plot is focused on the Brimstone Bleed, as it should be. It takes a while for Tella and Guy to warm to each other, and I liked seeing the build-up. Guy is the tall, brooding type, and Tella's intimidated at first. But we get to see he has a different, softer side, and I loved that. Guy is pretty intense and enigmatic, and we don't get to find out much about him. So I really hope that will change in the sequel. The only thing I didn't like about Guy and Tella's relationship is that Guy has to keep saving Tella all the time. It's too much of a coincidence that almost every time Tella is in a bad situation, Guy shows up. It's sweet in a way, though.

I adored Tella's Pandora, Madox! He's a cute little black fox, and he definitely has some tricks up his sleeve. The concept of the Pandora companions is great - I loved seeing the people care for their animals and vice versa. Though there are exceptions, of course. Evil, evil ones. I shudder to think of them. Victoria's certainly portrayed the villain well!

There isn't too much world-building in this one, and the only answers we get come towards the end. I still have a lot of unanswered questions, which I'm hoping will be addressed in book 2. I guess we couldn't find out too much in this because there's a lot packed in due to the race, and adding more on top of that may have been an overload in the book. So I'm pretty desperate for the next book now! Though I'm glad there wasn't a cliffhanger. I really don't think I could deal with that, considering how intense this book is! Trust me, you'll be on the edge of your seat once you really get into it.

I really liked most of the side characters, the other Contenders Tella travels with. They have their own huge secrets, and if you look closely you can figure out one of them soon enough. I felt pretty proud when I did! Some you'll definitely never see coming. And I loved the surprises throughout. With the constant action, you never know what'll happen next, and that's the beauty of it.

Fire & Flood is a can't-miss of 2014. Seriously, this is one YA novel where you can really picture everything happening in front of you. The environment, the danger, the romance. All of it. It's wonderful! V, you've got yourself a start to a great series here.

*Thank you to Emma Brockway at Scholastic Press for sending me an ARC fore review*

Rating: 4/5


  1. This book sounds so good! I've been wanting to get my hands on it for months now. Lovely review Richa :-)

  2. I saw your comment on my review of Fire & Flood today, so of course, I had to check out yours too! Great review. I too am looking forward to learning more about the world they're in in book #2. Hopefully we won't have to wait too long for it to come out!

  3. I'm definitely a fan of the premise. I'm curious. I think I saw this in NG so I'm going to request it. :) Thanks for the review!

  4. Everyone is talking about this author and this book and I'm here lost in universe. I know nothing about either. Anyhow I'm so glad you enjoyed this one. I'm glad that the focus wasn't just on romance because it gets boring when it is. I love the sound of characters here. Great review :)


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