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 lives in Dallas with her husband and hearts cotton candy something fierce.
Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’ll be honest, Fire & Flood wasn’t really on my radar. Yes… it’s possible that even I miss out on what’s coming out. Unbelievable right. But then I saw some chatter about it. People were saying ‘if you liked hunger games you will definitely like this.’ And I was suddenly very interested. After reading Fire & Flood, I can’t agree with that statement more. This book, though maybe unintentionally, was written for fans of that series. It’s full of action, drama, plenty of violence and yes even some romance! Everything I look for in my books… well, maybe not as much the violence, but Scott certainly doesn’t hold back.
I’m not sure how to categorize this book because it’s set in present time, yet the entire time I was reading it felt like some kind of dystopian world… yet it isn’t.
Tella Holloway’s brother is dying, though no one can tell her and her family why. So they move to the mountains of Montana hoping that getting out of the city will help. Instead she now has no friends and very little civilization to distract her from the fact that no one can seem to help her brother.
Then an invitation arrives.
“If you’re hearing this message, you are invited to be a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. All contenders must report within forty-eight hours to select their Pandora companions. If you do not appear within forty-eight hours, your invitation will be eliminated.”
“The Pandora Selection Process will take place at the Old Red Museum. The Pandora you choose is of the utmost importance, for it will be your only source of assistance throughout the race.”
“The Brimstone Bleed will last three months and will take place across four eco-systems: desert, sea, mountains, jungle. The winning prize will be the Cure – a remedy for any illness, for any single person.”
“There can only be one champion.”
She’s been invited to be a contender in the Brimstone Bleed, which turns out to be a race through four different continents all with their own hazards and dangers and ecosystems. The only companion she will be able to count on is her Pandora. The winner (and there can be only one) gets a cure… one that will cure any disease or illness. She knows she can’t ignore the invitation at this point and so the adventure begins.
First, I loved the idea of the Pandora. It added an interesting element to the entire race. I’m not going to get into the details about them but I’ll tell you that they really extraordinary, and I’m especially intrigued by Madox… It will be interesting to see and learn more about them as the race progresses.
The characters were wonderfully done. I found that I really liked Tella. She doesn’t start out as strong and tough… someone you can see surviving a trek through the jungle or a hike across a desert but she adapts and she keeps her brother in the back of her mind as motivation and she’s smart enough to know that she couldn’t do it alone, nor does she want to… even though it will make things harder at the end. Enter the rest of the gang… Ransom, Levi, Caroline, Harper and … Guy. Each of these characters really isn’t who they seem to be on the outside and that especially applies to Guy. It’s killing me that we are getting bits and pieces of his story because I’m greedy and I want it all. I will note that I really enjoyed the evolution of the friendship between Tella and Guy and I’m excited to see where Scott takes us in book 2.
Overall, this is a book filled with wonderful imagination and creative characters. Excellent pacing and rich storytelling will have you turning pages as fast as you can, and pages filled with action and drama will have you riveted to the story. It’s a must-read in my opinion and I’m absolutely excited for book 2.
Thank you to Scholastic and Netgalley for the advance review in exchange for my thoughts.
Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott is a Sci Fi story that mixes in odd animals and a crazy race. Scott pulls you into Tella’s story and drags the reader through a jungle and a desert while trying to figure out who Tella can really trust. Despite a start that didn’t pull me in immediately, I found myself turning the pages to see just what was going to happen next.
Tella is sixteen and due to her brother’s illness, she and her family have moved to Middle of Nowhere, Montana. Out of nowhere, she is given a device that tells her of a race called the Brimstone Bleed that if she can win, could give her a cure for her brother’s illness. With that as motivation, Tella decides to take the device and attempt to save her brother.
This is where things get interesting. Scott introduces not only this race but also something called a Pandora which appears to be an animal that has been created in a lab. All of the Pandoras have hybrid abilities that will help their contender survive the race if they know how to communicate and use them.
I have mixed feelings about Tella. I honestly didn’t really care for her as a main character at first but it was more because she only talked about how much she disliked her life in Montana and didn’t have her friends around. I found her voice to be a bit annoying until we got pulled into the race portion of the story. As she started to realize and figure things out, I started to like her more.
Guy is still a bit of a mystery to me. I liked him but he definitely has his secrets. It was interesting to see the change in him from day one to the time when they were together after getting through the desert. I will be curious to see how his and Tella’s relationship changes going into the next book of the series.
I don’t want to give anything away with this story so I won’t be giving a ton of detail away. I will say I thought Scott did a great job of creating these characters and the world they are racing through. With that, I still have a ton of questions that I hope will be addressed in the next book. As I mentioned, I thought this one had a slow start for me and that was mostly due to me not immediately loving the main character. She grew on me though and I look forward to book two in this series.
If you like a lot of action mixed in with some science fiction definitely check this one out.
Thank you to Scholastic and Netgalley for the review copy.
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