3.5 Stars, Rounded Up
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.Do you know what's horrible? The fact that in the title, the "i" is not capitalized, but all the other letters are. It's terrible, and I almost didn't read it for that capitalization error alone, but come on, it was a Victoria Scott novel, and that woman is an amazing writer. But fear not! What's inside the book makes up for that "i". Kind of.
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?
So a while ago, there was a huge craze about this book. It's died down since then. But what always confused me was what a Pandora was. Maybe it was just me being the typically ignorant me, and Victoria and everyone in the blogging community specifically defined it, but I never really understood what it was until after I read the book. And no, this isn't a spoiler, since it's in the first fifty-ish pages. For all you people out there that are like me, a Pandora is a genetically-engineered animal companion in the Brimstone Bleed. It's a different animal for everyone. For Tella, however, it's a fox. A really, really, REALLY cute fox. One that you just want to snuggle with and pet and play with. All the Pandoras have special powers and are basically amazing.
The plot is like in the Hunger Games. Actually, it is the Hunger Games. There's a teenage girl who needs to save her younger sibling and the only way to do so is to join a tournament where only one can survive. Add in a few extra characters and plot points, and ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Brimstone Bleed!
Fire & Flood is basically the Hunger Games, but better. Tella isn't as whiny or ignorant as Katniss, there's no love triangle, and the writing's just better. Victoria Scott has this imaginative way of writing that's snarky and relatable.
Since this book is targeted for teens, there's automatically going to be a romance aspect to it. An awesome thing about this book is that there's no instant attraction between the two main characters. In fact, it's like they don't really care for each other. For part of the book, at least. And then, with little to no warning at all, both of them just become like every other teen couple in YA,
The descriptions and the settings of Fire & Flood were insanely vivid and interesting. Though I'd hate to be in the Brimstone Bleed, I can relate to Tella and how she manages to pull through every challenge the tournament throws at her. She had some of the idiotic teenage moments, though, which really annoyed me.
This novel immediately hooked me in from the beginning, but then it drags towards the middle. The end of Fire & Flood is better than the beginning, though.
If not for all the similarities to the Hunger Games, this would have easily been a four point five, maybe even a five star read,
Thank you, Scholastic Publishing, for giving me the opportunity of reading and reviewing Fire & Flood.