Monday, April 18, 2016

Book Review: Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott

Title: Fire & Flood
Author: Victoria Scott
Series: Fire & Flood #1
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Release Date: January 2015

Source: I borrowed a physical copy from the public library
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Goodreads summary:


What would you do to save someone you love?

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 the middle of nowhere 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.

My review:


The story starts off somber with Tella worried about her sick brother, Cody. She gets an invitation to a race against other contenders where she has a chance to win the cure for his illness. However, as the race kicks off, Tella realizes that death is around every corner and most of the time, it's coming from the contenders she's up against.

I saw a lot of bad reviews of this book, but I saw a lot of praise. I decided to tackle it and finished it in about a day. I understood where the frustration came from and where the love came from.

Here's how I broke down the novel.

Tella's voice was super young. She is sixteen years old, but talks like she's twelve. This bothered me because there is a romance in the story. Fortunately, and this one huge points for me, the romance plays a strong role in Tella's head but not in the overall plot. Someone please tell other writers to do this, because when the romance takes over the plot and not just the character, it becomes a romance, not a science fiction or fantasy or mystery or whatever. 

Going back, Tella's voice felt very middle grade to me. If you cannot get into MG stories, this one may not be for you for this reason alone. Not only that, but Tella's priorities do not change. Whether's it's page two or page 302, Tella is still concerned about how she looks without make-up in front of the guy she likes even though she's stranded in the wilderness with no food or water. It was a character trait I couldn't connect with.

As for what sold me on the story, the action doesn't stop. The fight scenes are written well and very detailed, and the other contenders offer more substance to soak up. I appreciated the fact that each person was fighting for another person. In most dystopians, they fight in a "race" to survive and win something they can share with their families. In Fire & Flood, it's not just survival: if they die, someone in their family will automatically die as a result of their illness.

I expected something fishy was going on, but I can't wait to see how every person and Pandora is tied into the unveiling in the second book. Speaking of which, the Pandoras were really cool. Someone on Goodreads compared them to Pokemon or Digimon. No. No they are not either. They don't evolve. They don't speak. They don't come equipped with 3-4 moves. They are cool mutations and should be called such.

Lastly, this is NOT a dystopian. This story happens in 2014. Yes, it's science fiction. No, it's not dystopian. On that note, it will not be as dark as Hunger Games, Divergent, or The Testing because not every person is starving or dying. Death is specifically centered around the people called to be contenders, which gives it a unique spin.

I will be picking up the sequel because I did like the story. Tella annoyed me, but the rest of it was fine. I know, disagreeing with the protagonist is not good, but I want to see what happens with the race and the characters. And those Pandoras! So cute!

Rating: 3 / 5 stars



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