Author: Victoria Scott (Twitter)
Publish Date: February 25, 2014
Genre: YA, Dystopian
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 race for survival, a race for family and a race for a cure; these are all winning elements for the perfect setup to a fantastic dystopian novel - even in an extremely tired and overplayed genre. The trickiest thing for such a novel, however, is standing out within this genre, and it must be said that, while some elements of the story seemed vaguely reminiscent of other such novels, Fire & Flood does enough to stand alone and stand alone well. Author, Victoria Scott, promises readers a thrill ride from start to finish, giving us enough action and adventure to satiate our appetites, as well as a main character in whom we're readily eager to place our trust.
Tella was quite an energizing protagonist. I worried that she'd feel a bit too cloying with her mission to save her brother at the forefront of the novel, but I was pleased to discover that she actually felt like a tangible and accessible teenage girl. Though her quest to save her brother does define her, it also serves to transform her through Fire & Flood and, in doing so, we see a delicate air of vulnerability to her character that makes her both endearing and incredibly fun to travel with on this journey. I found that Cody, on the other hand, pretty much served only to fuel the nature of the plot along, which was slightly disappointing, but not altogether a game-changer for me.
The setup for the Brimstone Bleed within Fire & Flood definitely made me wary at first. I was getting flashbacks of other well-known dystopian novels, and I really didn't want to see it fall into the trap of becoming a replica of another novel. Thankfully, the book offers us an adventure and a race that is different enough to capture our interest and keep us invested in the story. The race transports us to a new scene, which presents challenges both to ourselves and to our characters, and we get to see firsthand just how brutal the Brimstone Bleed can be. I must say that I enjoyed the element of our characters receiving a Pandora, or an egg, which will transform into an animal through their journey to guide them along. This element was surprising, fun and definitely unique to me.
I was, however, disappointed in the love interest of the story, Guy. I felt as though we got to know a plethora of characters, but his character was never completely defined. Rather, I felt as though we got to know snippets of his persona, but we never truly understand or empathize for his motives for being in the race. Furthermore, the plight of the budding relationship between Tella and Guy felt a bit too familiar to another epic romance in another incredibly popular dystopian series. Though they felt for each other, they were scared to succumb to their feelings because of the inevitability of one winner.
Overall, however, I was really quite impressed with Fire & Flood. The story offers us enough originality to get us invested in yet another dystopian series and, in doing so, we've found a whole new world in which to become invested. I give this book a 4 out of 5, and I recommend it to all fans of dystopian novels, especially those who enjoy epic adventures.
I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.