Fire & Flood
by Victoria Scott
Series: Fire & Flood #1
Publication Date: 25 February 2014
Scholastic Press, Hardcover, 305 pages
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 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.
I completely underestimated this novel. Prior to this one, I’ve read Victoria Scott’s first novel, The Collector, and despite giving both her books 4 stars, they are amazing in vastly different ways. Which was why I started off expecting Fire & Flood to be similarly humorous to The Collector and because I’ve yet to encounter a humorous action-adventure book that turned out very good, I had my doubts.
However, Fire & Flood was definitely one of the most intense books I’ve read this year and though there still was humour scattered throughout it, the suspense and tension of the Brimstone Bleed was most prominent. The fast pace and vivid gore involved had been a complete (but oddly pleasant) surprise, since neither was something I had expected.
On the downside, Tella, the protagonist was a little bit of a disappointment. Often coming off as shallow and materialistic, I’m far from her biggest fan. Yet, I utterly admire her whenever she gets serious and her strong spirit starts to show, especially when she’s defending those she cares for. I guess in the end, Tella’s slight ‘bimboticness’ can be seen as making her a more different and vibrant character, although I don’t expect many readers to like that side of her. Just try to remember her better qualities such as selflessness, courage and perseverance.
In the romance department, it was – expectedly – swoon-worthy. Guy and Tella. They might have started off your typical dislike-turns-into-attraction couple but I loved how Victoria Scott developed their relationship through simple ways, like nightly fireside chats. Guy’s the confident, quiet (and sometimes a little scary) sort, similar to Four from Divergent by Veronica Roth. He complemented Tella’s extroverted personality perfectly and though I did think their relationship had been a teensy bit rushed after the first leg of the Brimstone Bleed, they were still pretty amazing, as fictional YA couples go.
Fire & Flood also had a spectacular plot. The fear, determination and desperation of the contenders were nearly tangible; it had felt like I was competing in the Brimstone Bleed and facing all the dangers right alongside them! Moreover, the organisation in charge of the race had been quite nicely kept in the dark. The story will hint at the cause of the Brimstone Bleed just enough to get you reading non-stop – neither too quick and obvious nor annoyingly elusive.
To wrap this up, Fire & Flood was a nail-bitingly adventurous novel that will keep readers on the edge of their seat. Even though the main character does get slightly annoying at times, the book, overall, was probably one of the most interesting and engaging ones I read this year. I definitely can’t wait for more news on the sequel, Salt & Stone, soon!