Thursday, June 12, 2014

Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott

Tella has been stuck in the middle of nowhere after her parents suddenly decided to move in order to aid her older brother's health. It is so isolated that there aren't any stores or people for miles. Needless to say, she is bored. When a mysterious listening device (Like an mp3 player) shows up on her windowsill, and her parents confiscate it, Tella becomes curious. She is even more intrigued when she discovers her father burning the device in the middle of the night. Tella retrieves it from the fire, and is able to hear its message.

The message is inviting her to the Brimstone Bleed. It's a race through four environments: jungle, desert, mountain, and sea. Brimstone Bleed is brutal, full of life-threatening obstacles and harsh conditions. People can, and do, die during the race. Why would anyone voluntarily compete? The prize is the cure, one cure for the winner. All of the competitors are racing for someone that they love, someone with the same debilitating disease that Tella's brother has.

In order to save her older brother, Tella sneaks off in the middle of the night. She has to drive for days to get to the first checkpoint. The challenge is to grab an egg. There is a frenzy, as everyone rushes to get an egg and leave. The room clears out, and it seems as though everything is already over. A kind-of-scary guy just a little older than Tella points her towards a shelf, where she finds an egg underneath. It's a little cracked, but it will work.

Soon, the contestants are sent off to the first environment: the jungle. Tella starts alone, following the helpful young man. They form an alliance with another young woman, a set of pre-teen twins, an older woman, and a young boy. Also, an a-hole guy. It turns out that the eggs hatch, and inside are animals. The animals have special powers and they serve and protect their contestant. Tella doesn't think her egg will hatch at all, like the young boy and older woman's. Eventually, it reveals a little fox that she calls Maddox. After that, she gets all insecure that Maddox doesn't have any fancy powers like the other animals. Of course, that's not true. Little Maddox has a big surprise.

Fire & Flood deals with the jungle and desert portions of the Brimstone Bleed. Tella makes a group of allies, but also an awful, crazy enemy. The book is interesting. There are traces of Hunger Games, but also Pokemon. It's a little weird.

 I was a big fan of Tella. She was a girly girl, but she entered the race to save her brother, because he would have done it for her. After she almost lost the egg challenge when a contestant grabbed her by the hair, Tella cuts it all off. True, she isn't the toughest female character. Most of the time she is saved by her love interest, and she has a lot of insecurity. I still liked her. She was funny and snarky, and she made me laugh. I'd like to continue the series to see how things end for Tella and Maddox.

I received my copy of Fire & Flood from Netgalley, courtesy of Scholastic Press. It's available for purchase now.