Release Date: February 25, 2014
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: YA | Dystopia
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 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?
FIRE & FLOOD is so awesome!!
*insert high-pitched fangirl scream*
See I sort of promised myself that I'll read more YA this month because I need to diversify my genre and I'm in possession of quite a few good ones. FIRE & FLOOD by Victoria Scott included. I should say that I regret not reading this sooner but I think this book deserves more enthusiasm than I could muster when I got it so better late than never.
Now this book has been around for quite some time and have received mad gushing from lots of book bloggers so I'll do my best not to repeat what you've already read and/or heard. Let me say briefly that it does remind me of The Hunger Games because of the contest rules and fight to the death nature of the Brimstone Bleed. At the same time, Suzanne Collins dominated this genre with her trilogy, epitomized the essence of Dystopia, and inadvertently set the benchmark for future novels. So to be fair to VScott and her fantastic writing, I will instead focus on the things that stood out for me:
- Tella Halloway is definitely no Katniss Everdeen, she complains a lot, can be self-centered and vain, is into fashion, and would rather play with make-up than be bothered by more important stuff. Talla isn't a leader either, she's more of a loyal and good follower than the person you look to for guidance or advice. However it's her propensity for great empathy that endeared her to me. And it's this same kind-heartedness that prevents her from being ruthless even when being a successful Contender calls for it.
- Aside from Jay Kristoff's The Lotus War series, I haven't read a YA book where some sort of an animal is a main character. The concept of Pandoras is delightful. They're man-made beasts hatched from an egg and as they are genetically engineered, each has a special ability that can be utilized by their Contender. Their emotional/mental connection is quite advantageous as these Pandoras have saved the lives of their respective Contenders on several occasions. Talla's Pandora, Madox, appears to be a harmless little fox but Madox is some sort of a Pandora doppelganger and would transform into whichever creature is best suited for the mission. They also remind me of Pokemons
- I'm not taken by Guy, Talla's love interest, and I also didn't connect with their budding romance.
- I love the pace and the ruthlessness of the other Contenders. This isn't a group of purely teenagers some of them are kids, parents, daughters, cousins, etc. Basically every face and person that can be stricken with the burden of seeing someone you love die slowly in front of you because of some disease.
- I love the backstory behind the Brimstone Bleed. It's not all encompassing like a government mandated competition. It's very elite and personal.
- This didn't feel like Dystopia to me, more of like YA Fantasy.
So these are my highlights and obviously I can't wait for the next one.