Title: Fire & Flood
Author: Victoria Scott
Genre: YA, fantasy, dystopian (sort of)
Series? Yes, Fire & Flood #1
Publication Date: February 25, 2014
Synopsis from Goodreads: 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?
A promising book that ultimately fell short for me. There were some positives, like an antagonistic/loving brother-sister relationship, cute animals called Pandoras that protect their owners, and the sassiness of the narrator. But those were just parts, and the overall execution in the pacing, romance, and believability left a lot to be desired. It wasn’t so horrible that I couldn’t finish it, but I’m not so sure I’d chase down the sequel.
I’ll be honest right now: I was really disappointed with this book. I read this on Superbowl Sunday, and honestly there were some points where the game was more interesting. And I don’t even like football – I asked a friend “is the inning over yet?” if that gives you a picture of my relationship with football. As the book progressed, there were some parts that grabbed me, but by the end, there just wasn’t enough to make this book something that really gripped me and made me say, “I want to read the sequel already.”
Let’s start with the good:
- The Pandoras. Each contestant in the Brimstone Bleed gets this little egg that hatches into a companion animal. Now I don’t know about you, but I’ve always loved the idea of animal friends/familiars. Love them! So the Pandoras were definitely a plus – especially the fact that Tella’s is a fox.
- Tella is a sass-master. When a book starts with the line: “If my hair gets any frizzier, I’ll shave it to the scalp. Or light it on fire. Whichever is easier.” (eARC pg. 1), you know it’s going to be good. Tella has a similar snarky tone throughout the book, though at times it does feel a little forced, especially when she starts complaining about how she doesn’t have Chanel makeup in the rainforest (what?).
- The relationship between Tella and her brother is ridiculously sweet. It’s one of those antagonistic, I’ll call you names and pretend I hate you, but really I love you and I would give anything to see you better again sort of relationship. That’s probably why I loved the first 10% the most – before Tella left for the Brimstone Bleed.
And here’s the bad:
- The relationship between Tella and her brother. It had so much potential, and then after Tella left for the race, there was hardly mention of him. It’s like Tella’s entire family just disappeared off the face of the earth!
- Insta-love. Queue vomiting. First of all, I don’t like characters that are named Guy. It’s just a thing for me – totally personal. But when Guy is some master of survival, acts all mysterious and douchey without a reason, and then Tella still falls in
lovelust with him, I’ve got an issue, name aside. Girl, if it’s abs you’re after, I can find you abs. Don’t jump the first guy who gives you half a second of attention. And can I also remind you that YOU ARE IN A RACE TO CURE YOUR BROTHERS MYSTERIOUS TERMINAL ILLNESS?
- Despite the fact that this is a book that promises loads of action and fighting and stuff, there just wasn’t much going on. Once Tella is in the BB, it’s like nothing happens. They literally just walk. I’m a tolerant person, but 200 pages of walking is just too much for me. Sure, there’s a battle sprinkled here and there, but I swear it’s like a Pokemon battle – the contenders send in their Pandoras and watch the fight from the sidelines.
- The Pandoras: as much as I love them, they were a bit… convenient. They all start out with zero powers, but then just happen to discover them the moment it’s most dire? I want to see the struggle – dehydration, bleeding lips, hallucinations, no food for days. Sure, they were a little lacking sometimes, but not even close to destitute. It just seemed too easy.
I think that about sums up my thoughts for this book. Like I said, it had a lot of promise, but ultimately it fell short. I was rolled my eyes far too often, and when the most boring football game in the history of forever is more exciting, then I know there’s a problem. I would consider reading the sequel, but most likely I’ll just have someone spoil it for me so I know how it ends.
My Final Rating: