A pulse-pounding thrill ride, where a teen girl must participate in a breathtaking race to save her brother's life--and her own. Time is slipping away. . . . 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 the middle of nowhere 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 (Fire & Flood #1)FeaturedHot
What I liked:
Tella. Her quick wit and fun personality had me snorting out loud a few times. Even in tense situations she had a way of making the mood a bit lighter. She is devoted to her family, although it's hard to really get into her character at first because shes' a bit of a whiner. I think the more I read, the more I loved her character. At first though, I wasn't sure where Victoria Scott was going with her character and I was a bit confused. I loved her relationship with her pandora, Madox. Which leads me to my next point:
Pandoras. Oh my goodness. I want one. No really, can I have one please? I loved this twist in the story and thought it was really interesting to see all the different types of pandoras. I will say I was thoroughly confused when everyone was racing for the eggs, but once you find out way, it totally makes sense. And I really adore Madox. Gah.
Guy. The first time we meet Guy, we get a sense that he is a "nice" guy. Throughout the book we get to see his strength, vulnerability, his softer side, and his tough side. I enjoyed how Tella cracks his shell and really loved the mystery of him.
Secondary characters. I fell in love with so many characters in this book. I'm kind of anxious to see in which direction they all head in the next book in the series.
What left me wanting more:
Like other reviewers are saying, this book did feel really similar to The Hunger Games trilogy. I hate to compare it to other books, I really do, but honestly it did. Don't get me wrong, it has differences, but there are some pretty blatant similarities. Once you get past those though, it's easy to get into the book.
Like I mentioned earlier, the book is pretty confusing at first. It feels like there should be a prequel.
Overall I'm so glad I read this book and really enjoyed it! I will be picking up the next book for sure!
Fire & Flood is extremely fast-paced and cuts to the chase so quickly, I could barely get a hold on the main character, Tella, let alone her love of her family. I couldn't really get a grasp on her character, and although there were some small attempts to let me know what kind of girl she used to be (she seems to have been quite the soho, high-maintenance kind) when she lived in Boston, I still could not really understand who she was. I know she cares about her family and her brother and seems pretty selfish. Other attempts at telling us about what kind of person she is don't really make sense throughout the rest of the book; for instance, at one point in the story we are told she can "run like the wind," but how or why or if she is a runner or anything like that never is explained, and she never seems to be able to replicate this running ability again during the race. Fortunately, the other characters were better fleshed out, and I was happy that I could get clearer picture of the people she encounters during the Brimstone Bleed. One thing that ended up being kind of humorous was just how independent Tella seems to think herself yet how much she relies on others; it is clear to the reader that she would definitely struggle to make it on her own.
Other things that worked pretty well were the set-up of the games and just creating that sinister, mysterious element to the race and the motives of those who set it up. Guy, one of the other main characters, is a man with a mission, and it is no wonder Tella is so drawn to him. Other characters, like Harper, have a really well-written persona, and for the most part it was easy to care for them and their loved ones and their welfare. Another plus was that there were a couple of really amazing plot twists--one that I definitely didn't see coming. It plays well into the overall story arc and threw me for a loop.
I think those that like a quick read and are into the current trends in the YA world would definitely enjoy this book. Others who like a bit more meat can probably take a pass.
What worked: Fire & Flood is a fast-paced dystopian novel with a likeable heroine who joins a race where the winner is awarded the ultimate prize: a cure for a loved one. Tella loves her ill brother and is willing to sneak out in order to enter the race without her parents knowing. Tella is vulnerable and at times funny. She also loves her Pandora(a token animal guide that hatches from an egg) and has empathy toward not only her fox guide but other Pandoras as well.
I did like how Scott weaves in the backstory about the 'evil' Pharmies who tampered with genetic engineering and created these Pokemon like creatures. Also the whole idea of having a race to give a 'cure' to a winner adds enough tension to make the story engaging. The climax of the story totally took me off guard along with a few revelations. Huge kuddos for that!
It’s also interesting how the competitors search for flags in different types of terrains. There’s tension woven throughout.
What I had issues with: At times Fire & Flood felt really similar to the Hungry Games. This could be one reason why I had a hard time at the beginning to get into the story. Once we get into the actually race, where Tella meets and forms alliances with the others, I was intrigued. Plus the pacing moves really fast at that point.
The Pandoras felt like those Pokemon creatures that my son used to love when he was little. Only Scott does show us how these animals have feelings and how they'd do just about anything to protect their 'humans'.
The romance wasn't quite there for me. Guy starts off as brooding and kind of stalkish but opens up towards the end. I still wanted a little more before the chemistry happened. But then again one of the other competitors, Titus, is creepy, bad.
Still fans of the Hunger Games are sure to love this new series too. There's lots of action, tension, twists and turns throughout.
Tella and her family moved to Montana where they’re more or less cut off from the outside world. Tella is sixteen, and her brother, Cody, is nineteen, and he’s dying. Doctors can’t figure out how to treat him and despite brave faces, banter, and family time, his condition is tough on everybody. Then Tella finds a blue box on her bed, and inside is a device with information about a race called the Brimstone Bleed. And the prize is a cure that will save her brother. She sets out on this adventure, brave and determined, not knowing if it’s real or some strange prank. She soon finds out it’s for real when she completes her first task to secure a Pandora – a companion for the race.
I’m going to stop there for a moment to point out my new obsession with Pandoras. They’re animals with extraordinary abilities, there to protect their Contender. A bit like Pokemons. I need one so bad.
Tella, with her Pandora egg, enters the race – adapting to different climates and surroundings. Facing creatures, insects, and people who live in these places. Making allies when there can only be one winner. They all deserve the cure, they’re all there for someone they love, and they all crave the prize equally. It’s a toughy.
I love a good romance, and there’s a good romance. The adventure is non-stop. The world-building is fantastic – I really wondered how the whole thing came about and what the reasons were behind it, and I was more than satisfied with the answer. The story is narrated from Tella’s POV and I loved her voice. I can’t fault it.
FIRE & FLOOD is a fantastic YA thriller and I’m super impressed.
I need you, book two!
I loved Tella for many reasons. She often made me laugh because she did certain things that are things I totally do. Giving people nicknames, naming her Pandora (I haven’t done this but I would), talking to herself then thinking she’s crazy for talking to herself. Yep so I totally related with Tella in that respect. I could picture us being friends. The other thing I really liked about Tella is that she is a little vain. Even though it’s necessarily considered a great characteristic but it is so refreshing to have an MC that doesn’t do the I’m beautiful in my sweats and don’t know it. She likes to dress up and look cute and hates her hair because it’s too curly just like a normal teenage girl. I am that girl that walks around in t-shirt, jeans and never wears make-up. My two best friends however wouldn’t leave the house without looking anything less then 110%, I’m often attacked with a make-up brush when I’m not looking. In fact my one friend works for cooperate at Sephora. I have to say though if Andrea, Lauren and I were dropped into the Brimestone Bleed I would bet my life on the two of them to win. They are not the girls that go camping or trekking through the woods but they are smart, fiercely loyal and would go UFC fight style on your ass with their stilettos if you mess with them. They’ve got sass and they’ve got fire which is how I see Tella. She’s such a different MC and I love her for that, I love Victoria Scott for that.
Guy had me when he was so noisy in the morning. No one who knows how to survive in a jungle is loud in the morning. I was on to you Guy and you made me crush on you. I also loved the flaws of Guy. He has a mangled ear, he’s got some crazy spiked hair and Tella might suspect he is a serial killer. Of course if it were me in the Jungle, that would be the dude that I would follow. As we get to know him through the book we see some softer sides to him. I like how protective he becomes of the group in that nonchalant way.
Guy and Tella have a complicated romance. They might be attracted to each other but you have to remember the end game. Always remember there is an endgame. They both want the same thing and they both have someone to save. I think Guy tries his best to keep Tella at a slight distance but not effectively. I actually really liked their story because it was a quiet one. They weren’t going to stand on top of a mountain and scream that they like each other. By the end of the book, you get it. You have a deep connection with them and you really understand the complications.
Overall I loved this book. The characters, the plot and the pacing. So I say go pick it up today!!
Also, it is an author that Trisha Wolfe (my homegirl who wrote the amazingness that is Fireblood, Of Silver and Beasts and The Darkest Part) recommends and one that Victoria, the author calls out in the acknowledgements.
We get a taste of the kind of life Tella has been living at the first, and we get to see her relationship with her brother. They banter back and forth but you can tell that Tella does it to keep his spirits up and that is their love language to each other. But regardless of how much Tella wants her brother to get better, she is bored and having a hard time appreciating the country being raised in Boston. I can't imagine the transition from city to country like that much less they don't have computers or anything like that there either.
When she finds the device that ultimately invites her to compete in the competition for the cure, the Brimstone Bleed, she thinks she might be losing her mind. Or it could be the best thing that happened to her... Or a joke. But as readers, we know its real. I saw a shift in Tella in the moment she realized it too, and decided to fight for a cure for her brother. That showed me so much into her character.
As she is discovering what she faces she is really showing her feminine side, and I love it. She doesn't lose her love of nail polish, being self conscious about her looks, and that is awesome. She is strong in all of the ways that matter, she wants to save her brother. But she also wants to try to find the good in others, and she hates the nature of the game. She doesn't like violence, and she has a kind heart. She has a fierce will to survive and she wants to band together with others even knowing it might be hard when the time comes to separate. But all of these things make her such a complex character and I admire her so much for that and Victoria, the author for having the courage to write a character that's girly but still hardcore.
The animal companions give such a unique edge to the story. I mean just when many are thinking that dystopias and games pitting people against one another for survival has been done every way possible, Victoria writes this brillant twist to the story. I don't want to talk about them too much because I don't want to spoil anything. But besides the complexity and amazingness that is Tella, the animals are one of my favorite aspects. They are so individual and distinct (though I will admit with the letter/number names and the sheer number of them at times, I had a hard time remembering which letter/number combo went to which animal). Besides their differences they also demonstrate a lot about the people with whom they are working. For instance, with Tella, she is the most attached to her animal, and she cannot stand to see another animal being hurt or taken advantage of. Tella cuddles with hers, sings to him, and tries to share her food and water. I think that this develops and even deeper bond with them than him just being assigned to her and to help her out.
The pacing of Fire and Flood was amazing. There was always something going on. New challenges for Tella, new people coming into her world and heart, as well as discoveries she is making about the world that she lives in, the sickness that has afflicted her brother and the Brimstone Bleed's origins and current purposes.
The secondary characters that surround Tella stole my heart as well. Harper was so tough, Caroline and Dink a mystery, and Guy, oh my goodness. He started out such an enigma and really stayed that way throughout the story. I can't wait to learn even more about him. He's so strong, the silent type and a natural leader. He is smart about survival and everyone in their party looks to him for advice and trusts his guidance on how to survive the parts of the race.
What is so hard about this group of companions is that they are all contenders. They have someone they are fighting for. Someone they love who is sick and will die or continue to suffer without the promised cure--which only goes to one person. So while they become attached to each other and help each other, there will eventually have to be some hard choices made, and even knowing that, it is hard to keep from liking them and them from forming some pretty strong bonds.
The romance in this one didn't really surprise me, but that is more than okay. I loved how it was a slow developing and that they questioned it like they rightly should in the circumstances. But I think that it made them stronger, giving them more reason to keep going and yet another person they cared about to fight for. There are some moments that take my breath away they are so sweet or there is so much of that good tension and chemistry going on.
The ending, oh my. I think that it stopped in a relatively good spot, although I was def not ready to stop reading about Tella, getting answers about the world, guy's past and what would happen to these people and animals that I came to care so much about. I am certainly continuing this series, and anxiously awaiting the copy of Fire and Flood #2 to be in my hands.
Bottom Line: An amazing dystopia with a unique and fascinating spin with the animal companions and a feminine but hardcore amazing main character.