Title: Fire & Flood
Author: Victoria Scott
Series: Fire & Flood #1
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: 2-25-14
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Source: ARC from publisher in exchange for honest review
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.
(DNF at 25%)
From the synopsis, it’s clear that there are similarities between Fire & Flood and The Hunger Games trilogy — a girl fights in a competition in which there can only be one winner in order to save her sibling. But I went into it with an open mind; the idea of a similar story didn’t really bother me, and I loved The Hunger Games, so there was nothing to lose. But ultimately I just couldn’t get into this book.
The biggest reason for why I decided to not finish this book was because the eARC file that I was given was completely messed up. Chapters and passages were put in the wrong order, making it very confusing to read and I eventually just had to give up. I probably wouldn’t have DNF-ed it if it weren’t for that, but I still think that I probably would’ve rated it fairly low — between 2 and 3 stars.
The similarities didn’t end up bothering me at all. It turns out that Fire & Flood is actually pretty different from The Hunger Games, at least in my opinion. Tella is very snarky and sarcastic, and her humor had me laughing out loud a couple of times. The tone of this book in general is very different…and a little more lighthearted.
There is also no dystopian aspect, and it seemed to be much more fantasy/sci-fi based. But I didn’t really enjoy that part…there was pretty much zero world-building, so it was confusing when a lion was suddenly being born from an egg. Tella wasn’t even phased, but the reader doesn’t get the impression that it would’ve been considered “normal” in her world, so it was very weird.
My biggest problem with this book was the lack of connection I felt with the main character. We’re thrown into this story, and within only a couple pages, she’s already part of the race. She has one conversation with her sick brother before she leaves, and has maybe two conversations with her parents. It was very rushed, and made it so that I didn’t have empathy for her or her situation. Why do I care about her brother if we don’t even get to see them interact so that I can understand why it’s so important that she needs to risk her life to save him?
Ultimately, I felt like this book had a lot of potential (from the 25% I read), but it wasn’t realized. The author focused too much on the action parts of the book rather than the emotional side, which made me feel disjointed from the story and apathetic towards Tella’s situation. I wouldn’t recommend this book to fans of The Hunger Games, because even though I felt like it was fairly different from that series, it still brings to mind a comparison between the two, and unfortunately, Fire & Flood is in no way on the same level as Suzanne Collins’ epic masterpiece.