Author: Victoria Scott
Genre: YA Science Fiction/Thriller
Release Date: February 25, 2014
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Source: ARC from Publisher
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?
Fire & Flood is the first book in a new YA science fiction thriller that follows the Brimstone Bleed - a race where Contenders strive to win the Cure, which promises to heal the person they love - who they are competing for - who is sick. One of these Contenders and our leading lady is Tella Holloway. The worst she's ever encountered was being forced to move to Montana in the middle of nowhere with her family. Her older brother is desperately sick and the doctors can't find the reason. Then Tella gets a small blue box with a white earpiece inside, inviting her to join the Brimstone Bleed - with the ultimate prize of the Cure for her brother. Tella immediately leaves for the race, intent on helping her brother. Tella and the other Contenders will embark on a treacherous and exhausting race with surprises and danger around every corner. The only thing provided to them for support is a Pandora - an egg they select at the beginning of the race that hatches into an unique animal with amazing abilities. Will Tella be able to survive the harsh conditions of the race, along with the all the threats around her - including the other Contenders? Will she be able to save her brother?
This was a gripping first book in what promises to be an exhilarating new series. For me, the book started off a bit slow, but that was because the author was introducing us to the characters and the information about the Brimstone Bleed before all the action began. I really liked Tella as the main character. She sounds like a normal teenage girl at the beginning of the book - maybe even one who was a bit spoiled before moving to Montana. It's clear that she is devoted to her family and loves them all immensely. Tella's character undergoes a lot of character growth throughout the book. She goes from being an average girl to one who is determined to not only survive the race, but is willing to do whatever she must in order to win - to save her brother. She's determined, smart, and brave, but she's also kind, curious, and willing to help the other Contenders in the race - although they are technically competing against one another. The other characters who in the book are well written with unique personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. They each added extra depth to the novel, especially as we got to know them all better and watched how they interacted.
Of course there has to be a hot guy and some type of romance (what fun would it be without any?). Enter the handsome and mysterious Guy - the man of few words who Tella can't seem to figure out. I enjoyed watching them interact with each other and how their relationship grew. I'm definitely excited to see where it will lead in the coming books. The plot was intriguing. At first it felt like a mix between The Hunger Games and Survivor - I wasn't sure how much I was going to like it. But then the gloves came off and all sorts of crazy stuff started to happen. The addition of the Pandoras - awesomeness - as well as the different ecosystems and obstacles that they each present makes it incredibly fascinating. It took a little bit, but once the plot started moving - I was sucked into the story alongside Tella and didn't come up for air until I was done. There were great twists and turns thrown into the plot - some good and some bad, and even some that had my mouth hanging open and going OMG! WHAT?! - but all of it only added to the thriller and adventure part of the book.
I've rambled on enough. If you haven't read this book yet - DO IT. I promise you'll be sucked into the author's world and eagerly turning pages to see what will happen next until the very end. This is one of the best science fiction thrillers I've read and I can't wait to see what will happen in the next book! Very highly recommended!!
*A HUGE thanks to the wonderful people at Scholastic for sending me a copy of the book for review!*