Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott
Series: Fire & Flood #1
Published by Scholastic
Published on February 25, 2014
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult
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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.
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?
Brenna and I are really excited to take part in the blog tour for Fire & Flood! I had the pleasure of reading this book in December, and I loved it. Fire & Flood was incredibly addictive, and the characters and story stick with you long after you’ve read it. Check out my 5++ Star Review, a thrilling excerpt, and a GIVEAWAY for a chance to win 1 of 10 finished copies of FIRE & FLOOD!
Please note that any quotes used in this review were taken from an uncorrected proof (Advance Reader Copy), and are subject to be possibly changed or removed from final copy.
When I received the ARC for this book from Scholastic in the mail, I was giddy beyond belief. I am a HUGE Victoria Scott fan, and I was excited to crack this baby open, and get all kinds of up close and personal with this story and it’s characters.
Just from reading the blurb, I was hooked. Action, adventure, suspense, and an array of memorable characters? COUNT. ME. IN! Are you a fan of The Hunger Games? Are you a fan of The Amazing Race? What about Survivor? Yes? Now, imagine if all three joined forces to bring you this book. You know what you’d get? A big batch of AWESOME.
Are you intrigued? Pfft, of course you are!
I spent a couple weeks trying to formulate a way to write a review that would be worthy of this unbelievably thrilling story. Even though I won’t be able to truly do it justice (cause trust me, you NEED to read this, there’s just no other way around it), I will try my best to wet your whistle.
This book is set in modern day times, and is told in first person POV, through the eyes of Tella Holloway. Who is Tella Holloway? (Peep the graphic, yo!)
The book begins with us getting a glimpse into how Tella and her family are adjusting to life in “Middle Of Nowhere, Montana”, after relocating from Boston. Tella’s family consists of her Father, Mother, and Brother, Cody. Her family moved after her brother fell ill with a mysterious disease that continues to weaken him with each passing day. This leaves Tella and her parents feeling helpless as they’re unable to find doctors who are able to figure out what’s wrong (or how to help him). It’s heartbreaking seeing how his illness not only impacts Tella’s parents, but also how it affects Tella herself, as her and Cody are very close.
“Now he’s down to this: pretending. Prentending to be the brother who swung a right hook in my honor. Pretending to be the son who danced a jig in the end zone that his dad taught him. He’s still the guy who isn’t afraid to write more than his name in a greeting card. Still the guy who loves redbrick buildings and cars that growl and Cheez Whiz sprayed straight from the can into his open mouth.
He is still my brother.
He is not my brother at all.”
One day, Tella walks into her room, and she finds a box. Unsure of where it came from, or who put it there, she opens it up…and I got a brief case of the giggs from her reaction:
“I close my hand around the lid and pull it off. Inside is a tiny pillow. I imagine all sorts of miniature animals using it in their miniature beds. But that’s dumb, because how would they ever find a pillow case to fit?”
Under the pillow, she finds a small white device that resembles a hearing aid that has a blinking red light. When she is finally able to pop the device in her ear, she hears a voice coming through with a message:
“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 invitations will be eliminated.
The Brimstone Bleed will last three months and will take place across four ecosystems: desert, sea, mountains, jungle. The winning prize will be the Cure—a remedy for any illness, for any single person.
There will only be one champion.”
At this point, the clock is ticking. She has to make a choice. For Tella, this is a no brainer. She knows that this may be her only opportunity to obtain a cure to help save her brother’s life. This means leaving her her family behind, and following the instructions coming through her earpiece to complete the tasks needed to make it into the Brimstone Bleed competition.
Pandora Selection Time.
During this selection process Tella begins to see just how cutthroat this competition will be. What are Pandoras? They are companions that each Contender are able to select, which will help them throughout the course of the Brimstone Bleed. Pandoras, which are in egg form at this stage, are a mystery to each Contender. So for the Contenders, it’s a game of chance, until their pandora’s identity is revealed during the competition. Oh, but I won’t spoil that for you. Just trust me when I tell you, the Pandoras are AWESOME. REALLY COOL. They all have different abilities, and throughout the course of the book, you’ll get to discover what they are…
During the Pandora selection, Tella not only has a chance to attempt to obtain a companion, she also gets an opportunity to have her first run-in with a broody, hunky specimen of a man: Guy Chambers.
Who is he? Well…please refer to the graphic and GIFS…and I dare you NOT to drool.
Here’s what Tella had to say of Guy on their first meeting:
“The guy looking down at me is very tall, or maybe he just seems so because I’m still on the ground. He appears to be about my age, though the broad width of his shoulders tells me he may actually be a couple of years older. His eyes are blue. Not in the way that makes me buckle at the knees and start naming our children, but the kind of blue that makes my breath catch. A cold, hard blue that looks more like a statement than a color—one that says, ‘Back the fuck off.’”
“His hair is so dark, it looks like wet ink, and is spiked around his scalp in soft tufts. He has a strong jawline, and right now that jaw is clenched so tightly, I’m afraid this guy is about to kick me when I’m down.”
Need more visuals? Yeah…me too. You can thank me later, as this is a public service.
Okay. Focus. Yeah…keep scrolling down…
Hopefully, you’ll see that Guy has the potential to make you wanna leave the one your with…if you know what I’m saying. Where were we?
Ok, so Pandora Selection: complete. Now is the time for things to get REAL. Tella is then thrust into the first ecosystem of the competition: JUNGLE.
Throughout the entire Brimstone Bleed, the Contenders are getting instructions from the faceless voice coming through their earpieces. Information is hard to come by, though Contenders are aware of only one thing: to make it to the next ecosystem. If they’re to be the first one to do so in the end, they will become the champion and obtain the cure for their loved one.
Tella soon realizes that she needs to play to her strengths, and overcome her weaknesses. Even though the Contenders have their Pandoras to rely on for help in the competition, some discover that at least for now, there is strength in numbers. After stalking, I mean, following Guy, Tella finds herself joining him along with a few other Contenders as they try to work together to survive the elements, and attempt to make it through to the next step of the competition.
Trust me when I tell you, that this is no easy task.
Oh, I’m not going to get into more detail about Tella’s jungle journey, as you’ll want to read and experience every heart-stopping moment. Nothing, and no one is safe. EVER. Don’t blink, and at times, don’t breathe, cause anything can happen. There are twists you may see coming, and there are some you won’t be prepared for. I don’t think my heart rate went down until the last page. If you’re looking for an adventure, you’ll most definitely get it with this book.
If you’ve ever read anything written by Victoria Scott, you’ll know that you can always look forward to a little comic relief. Tella’s voice was so much fun to read. I found myself laughing out loud (LOUDLY) on several occasions. It made me connect with her character right away, for the way to my heart is with humor. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all fun and games with Fire & Flood. At times, I was laughing on one page, and grabbing tissues for my feels on the next page. Your emotions are not safe with this book. You’re going to have them all. Anger, happiness, astonishment, love, hate, fear, anxiety, sadness, satisfaction, disappointment, rage, and….
You will have them ALL and then some while reading this book. So prep your #feels.
Overall, I LOVED this book. So much so, that I wanted to do nothing more than reread it cover to cover once I was done. The only thing I was sad about, was the fact that I didn’t have a lot of people I could talk to about it with (as it’s not due out for another month and some change–2/25/14). Trust me, this is the kind of book that will stay with you for a long time. You’ll want to grab your closest friend and talk non-stop about the “ooh” and “OMG” moments, as well as the characters (and PANDORAS) who made this story truly enjoyable. I’m going to go out on a limb, and say that this is going to one of my top reads of 2014.
I give this book 5 HUGE stars. I can’t wait for you all to get a chance to read this too. We’ll all be in need of a Fire & Flood support group, as this book and series is truly addictive!
Is it too soon to say that I’m ready for the next book? Cause I totally am. Until then, time to make plans for the multiple re-reads in my future!
PREORDER Fire & Flood (Expected Release: February 25th, 2013)
“If you are hearing this message, then you have successfully completed the Pandora Selection Process. It also means you are now at the official starting line.”
Around me, Contenders whoop with excitement. Seriously? They’re about to plunge into a wild jungle, and that brings them happiness? Once again, I realize how out of my league I am. I don’t even have a change of clothes, for crying out loud.
“As you may have realized, you are on the outskirts of a rain forest. This will be the jungle part of the course. You will have two weeks to arrive at the jungle’s base camp. You will find this base camp by following the path of blue flags.”
Contestants glance around, immediately looking for the first blue flag. As for me, I’m watching the taillights of the semi and having a massive coronary.
“If you are the first to encounter a blue flag, you may remove it, but you may not remove the stake it is attached to. Doing so will result in immediate disqualification.”
I wonder why anyone would want to remove the flag to begin with. No one else seems concerned by this.
“While the Cure will be awarded to a single winner at the end of the last ecosystem, we will bestow a smaller prize for each leg of the race. The prize for the jungle portion will be monetary.” The woman pauses dramatically. “I’d like to officially welcome you to the Brimstone Bleed. May the bravest Contender win.”
That’s it? That’s all she’s going to say? Because it seriously sounds like she’s wrapping up. So why aren’t I running after the trucks? Why am I not chasing after my only way out of this jungle like my life depends on it? I know the answer — though I wish I didn’t. Cody would do this for me. I am his only hope. I have to believe his cure exists. My only other option is to return home and watch my brother die. If I could even get back home.
I glance around frantically, looking for someone to tell me what to do. The Contenders have formed a long line, the kind you see at the start of a marathon. A few yards down from where I stand — I see him. My throat tightens when I realize his cold blue eyes are locked on me. It’s the guy from the Pandora Selection Process. The serial killer–looking dude who I thought was going to kidney punch me. He glares in my direction like he might take this opportunity to finish what he never started. I raise my hand in a small wave, hoping it says something like: See? Look how friendly I am!
He lifts his own enormous hand. For a moment, I brighten. I think maybe that — even though it looks like he hates every fiber of my being — he’s going to wave back. But he doesn’t. He holds up two fingers — his pointer and his middle — places them under his eyes, and then points in front of us.
Oh no, he didn’t. I think he basically just told me to pay attention. I’m still processing this when the woman’s voice rings in my ear.
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