Synopsis via Goodreads:
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?
*Received ARC from publisher in exchange of an honest review.
Adventurous, a good sense of comradery, need to survive, along with the element of romance and a representation of value and what an individual will do for their loved ones. There was quite a lot going on in this thrilling story. I felt intrigued from the opening chapter until Tella started this nail-biting, hazardous race to find a “cure.” I must admit, I haven’t read Victoria Scott’s Dante Walker books, much less any other novel written by her, but I can say that I liked this one and glad it’s my first. Her writing is witty, fast-paced, and not clustered at all. If this is how her other novels are then I’m a fan.
What I enjoyed most about Fire & Flood is how the story wasn’t just about Tella choosing to participate in an event to save her brother, but it also focused on other characters and what they’re in the race for. I liked how they sort of created this unit to help each other until the end. Not many would do such a thing if they were in a situation like that and it really makes you wonder what you would’ve done when you read about the inhumane things that takes place. Of course, no story is quite complete without the aspect of romance in the pages. And the feelings between Tella and Guy (not a fan of the name) were nice to read about while they blossomed along the way. I like that it wasn’t plastered all over the pages or took away from the main purpose of the story, which in fact is the race and reaching the end.
Speaking of Guy, I was a tad confused by his behavior at first but then I got him, and once he started to open up and share what was really going on with Tella his position in the race seemed much bigger than just winning. I adore his strength and determination, along with Tella’s. Whenever she was at a point where she felt like giving up, she reminds herself of the reason why she’s in that situation to begin with and that motivates her to keep going. Another big thing about the story that I loved was her relationship with her Pandora, Madox. She treated him with respect and showed him love, while some took advantage of theirs in shameful ways. All I can say is, if you’re with Peta or you’re love for animals makes you faint at heart when reading about them being treated cruelly, then you should be warned before picking this up. It might affect you on an emotional level. It did that for me.
What else? Twists. There were a few that had me surprised. Like the whole deal with Dink and Caroline. And I must say I was a tad surprised by Harper’s decision towards the end of the book even though she portrayed tough characteristics throughout the story. There were other moments where I received an eye-opening of how terrible the race truly is and just how life-threatening. I think I came to the realization at the same time as Tella. That’s how much I could relate with her character and experience every moment with her.
For some reason though, while reading the book I kept thinking of Digimon adventures and related it in some ways to the characters and their Pandoras. I don’t know why, maybe it’s cause I used to watch that cartoon. Anyways, it’s not a big deal just me and my silly brain.
To conclude, I don’t know how else to say Fire & Flood was terrific. I really, really enjoyed the story and cannot wait for the second book because I’d love to get more of Tella and Guy’s sweet love in the wet jungle or hot desert, and I’m looking forward to them reaching the end and seeing what decision they will make. Because after all, the cure is only meant for one winner.
Shane @ Itching for Books