“….there’s often more truth found when we sleep than when we wake.”
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?
For local readers buy your copy here: National Book Store
Tella Hollaway’s brother Cody is dying due to unknown sickness and her family is helpless with the situation. They can’t cure Cody nor send him to hospital. It’s an impossible battle for them until Tella gets an invitation to join The Brimstone Bleed — a competition that promise cure to any sickness. In order to win Tella needs to defeat hundreds of contenders in this race that travel across jungle, desert, sea and mountains. She needs to survive and win before her brother die.
Fire and Flood is a promising book with its great and interesting premise but suffers with the popularity of The Hunger Games, a series of books that almost sounds the same as this one. Though technically the only similarity is the fact that the main character is entering a contest of life and death to save her sibling, the overall feel of the novel is still unmistakably the same as The Hunger Games. It’s not a total riff-off but to those who have read and loved Suzanne Collins’ series like me the comparison cannot be avoided. Which somehow took away the full enjoyment of my reading.
In all honesty, Tella is not my favourite character. I even think she is the weakest link of this book. For the role of character/narrator she is too weak to be part of the Brimstone Bleed. Her voice and thoughts sounds very juvenile which makes it hard for me to relate or connect to her. She annoyed me most of the time, specially when she act like a spoil-ed brat or when she is too vain or worst even swallow. I keep on wishing that she’ll show some maturity but it didn’t really happen, at least not on the level I want her to be. If she wasn’t in the battle field I may not care much about her immaturity since technically she is still young, but she’s in arena trying to save her brother and even her own self so I assume the environment will push her to grow fast, or that she’ll adopt accordingly.
Then’s there’s the villain who I think fall to the category of paper-thin character – a one dimensional villain who spend his time doing evil for no reason. I didn’t get his motivation or the reasons behind his cruelty. If only there’s more dept or reasons beyond his evil doings I think I’ll like her character better.
If not for the Pandoras, those genetically engineered animals with special powers that hatch from eggs, I’m not sure how Tella or the other characters will hold my attention enough to finish the story. These Pandoras kinda remind me of Pokemons, to the point that I imagine them as the live version of those animated Japanese characters. They are the one who really captured my interest. They are great addition to the story not only as a weapon for contenders but also the role they provide to the back story.
Another thing I like I guess is the descriptive writing. I appreciate the fact that Victoria Scott doesn’t shy away in writing some of the gruesome and horrifying details during The Brimstone Bleed. There are bloods, casualties, and killings. Even the natural creatures like insects and bugs were used as a weapon, which may weaved some reactions to readers especially those with sensitive stomach.
Overall, Fire and Flood though suffers from a weak protagonist is still an enjoyable read. With lots of actions and a little political intrigue Victoria Scott managed to deliver a thrilling race of adventure and a story of survival in this book.
*This review is based on a copy I received courtesy of the publisher, Sholastic Press Philippines in exchange for an honest opinion.