Seeing as mostly everyone’s reviewed Fire & Flood, I’m going to do some lists (I love lists). But I want to discuss this beauty, so there will be a SPOILER section. (It’ll be all covered up, though, so you won’t see it unless you wish it.) Comment section is free to be spoilery, though, so avert your delicate eyes if you have not read it!
Thank you Scholastic Australia for the review copy! Fire And Flood by Victoria Scott hit shelves in March, 2014.
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 Scott is a teen fiction writer represented by Sara Crowe. She’s the author of the FIRE & FLOOD series published by Scholastic, and the DANTE WALKER trilogy published by Entangled Teen. Her books have been bought and translated in eleven foreign markets including the UK, Turkey, China, Poland, Germany, Australia, Israel, Taiwan, Brazil, New Zealand, and the Netherlands.
Victoria lives in Dallas with her husband and hearts cotton candy something fierce.
Bless my jungle loving heart, I adored these characters to pieces. They were incredibly well written. Tella is a mess of zany and bubble personality. Do you know how refreshing it is to read about a girl who likes GIRLY things?! I’m not sneering out our kick-butt female friends (I love them as much as the next assassin). But I do get worried that nail-polish-loving-girls are underrepresented in YA. Just because you think about makeup and the size of your butt, does NOT mean you’re a snotty or (please don’t say it) “shallow” person. Tella had wit and quirk and I loved her to bits.
Guy was our love interest. And I don’t know about you, but the minute a character is named “Guy” this is what I think of:
Plus, I would like to point out, that Guy from the Croods has sort-of-Pandora-thingy called Belt. I am suspicious of this similarity. But moving on, shall we?!
I liked Guy’s mysteriousness and serial-killer eyeballs. I liked the slow attraction between Tella and Guy and how they fit well together.
Who didn’t read this book and think: “I really desperately extremely need a Pandora.” They’re genetically engineered animals that help the contestants through the race. I thought they were going to talk. I WAS DISAPPOINTED THAT THEY DID NOT. (What? Don’t judge me. Talking animals are cool.) And when Tella’s egg finally hatched as a baby fox, all I could think of was:
And then I got all disappointed again, because THE FOX DIDN’T SAY ANYTHING. Yes, yes, I’m finished now.
Love love love. It was fresh. It was quirky. Tella was prone to say redundant things, but I’ll forgive her because she made me laugh so much.
I’m going to outright say it: I didn’t “get” the race. Tella takes off to do this thing without really knowing what it is…or talking it through? Um, no. And no one explains the race. Except for the fact there “is a cure”. Um, no. A little more info upfront would have been awesome. I was not once sold on this plot — not the reasons or the climax or the middle goop.
The Survival Stuff!
There’s plenty of extremities to survive in this race, which, frankly, I LOVE. But in this case I found extremely unrealistic. Even with magical Pandoras trotting at their side. Deserts. Jungles. Look, it’s all well and good to go on a 2 week trek, but if you’re not in condition to walk? Then you’ll have more then exhaustion. You’ll have I-need-to-lay-down-and-die-because-my-body-hates-me feelings. While they were tired, they didn’t exactly collapse at any point. And food? They barely ate! THAT IS AN ISSUE TO ME.
The Time Frame!
It can’t possibly be dystopian…it doesn’t have all of the dystopian criteria. Buuut, what is it? Soft sci-fi? It really bugged me that I didn’t actually KNOW what it was. It felt absolutely modern, but no one freaked out over genetically engineered animals, sooo…sci-fi with cool but normalised technology?
Highlight to read:
Dink The Pandora
I saw this coming from kilometres away…which mildly worries me. Was it just that obvious or have I read too much? I was frustrated at how completely idiotic it was to have an eight-year-old on this race. I smelt a rat fast. The question is, why didn’t anyone else?? Where they THAT polite they didn’t need to talk about it? It was very un-Tella to just let it drop.
Harper’s Stomach Map
HOW ABOUT NO. Not only did this make zero sense, it was kind of terrifying. And useless. Sure she had an eagle scratch out a map on her stomach…but how exactly did that help them? Why didn’t they have real maps…or better yet, have that earpiece give them frequent directions. They didn’t even use the gory stomach map in the end, so why was it there?!
The Survival Stuff
Look, this bothered me extremely. You can’t just pop into serious survival situations and be fine! Particularly the desert scene. You need water in a desert and you need a lot all. the. time. If you want to feel the desert, read Stolen by Lucy Christopher, because that is the extremities written realistically. If you take a desert stroll you need a) heaps of water ALL the time, b) food! you absolutely need to eat, and c) something to stop your skin frying off. If they walked in the day they should have collapsed from heat stroke. The minute Guy said, “Ditch your supplies”, I died a little.
Also the complete lack of food made me twitchy. Don’t eat it’ll make you sleepy…bah HUMBUG. Eat and it’ll give you energy to do that whole, you know, walking-for-two-weeks-on-end thing.
You know…I struggled with this. Is it a 3-star or is it a 4-star? While the characters and writing rocked my socks off, I couldn’t get onboard with the plot at all. I did too much disbelieving head-shaking to give this a 4.
Cait would like a Pandora and she would call him Squishy. He would be her Squishy and she would feed him all the day long and he would protect her from library fines and telephones. Besides fantasying about her Pandora, Cait is deciding which of her bazillion book ideas to write next.