Book Review: Victoria Scott’s Fire & Flood
A teenage girl and her animal companion must compete in an exhilarating race to save her brother’s life—and her own—in this contemporary adrenaline ride.
Tella Holloway has a meltdown. When a dozen doctors cannot diagnose her brother’s illness, her parents decide to go to Montana for the fresh air. She’s lost her friends, her parents are mad, and her brother is dying—but she can do nothing to stop it.
Until she receives enigmatic instructions on how to enter the Brimstone Bleed as a Contender, she might win the prize she desperately wants in this epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain. It’s the treatment for her brother’s disease. There is no assurance that Tella (or any other Contenders) will survive the race, as they are all seeking the Cure for loved ones.
The time is running out, the jungle is dangerous, and Tella knows she can’t rely on her new pals. And a crucial query surfaces: Why have so many people become ill in the first place?
Young adult author Victoria Scott’s new teen novel Fire & Flood is a pulse-pounding tale of action, peril, and romance.
Young Tella Holloway enters the Brimstone Bleed, a dangerous survival race, in the vain hope of taking home the prize: a treatment that might prolong her sick brother Cody’s life. Of course, there is a catch; there can only be one victor, and survival is not guaranteed. Tella joins the Brimstone Bleed with little to no experience, and her lone companion is an oddly shaped, dull, and cracked egg that contains an unhatched Pandora. She is told to take good care of it so that it will defend her when she most needs it. Tella’s endurance will be tested to the limit on this epic journey as she travels across a deadly desert and dangerous jungle. As more competitors join the race, Tella discovers companionship and support among a close-knit community of competitors and potential love within a game of life and death.
The book Fire & Flood will have you on the edge of your seat and your heart racing. You and Tella stumble into the race without even knowing what the Brimstone Bleed is or how they might have a treatment for diseases for which no one else seems to have one. Tella rises to the challenge despite being drugged, blindfolded, and dropped into an environment alien to her personality. A flawlessly flawed heroine who lacks courage but is courageous and tenacious. She is incredibly unselfish, and it soon becomes apparent how much of that quality is essential to winning the race as her “little egg friend” transforms into a Pandora (imagine animal robotics). Her connection with this remarkable animal is an impetus for her survival rather than just stealth and talent. I adored her eccentricities, and I found it hilarious that a young kid who would have preferred to manicure her nails and shop at Nordstrom ended up fighting men, animals, and repulsive insects.
I’ll admit that I initially had doubts about the cure component. Still, Victoria Scott gradually reveals this aspect of the plot, showing how the Cure and competitors are connected and what the Pandoras are and who made them. I found this aspect of the mystery to be just as intriguing as the survival race itself. These incredible animal-bot creatures, the Pandoras, will steal your heart immediately. I adored the book’s concept, which is a critical narrative element.
From my perspective, Fire & Flood’s relationship was unique. You are in a horrific position that is a survival race, so any romance must be carefully woven into it to avoid coming off as flimsy. In addition to doing a fantastic job of managing this, Victoria Scott also makes you care about the hero as much as Tella does. You’re going to fall for the badass, sexy, and mysterious Guy—utterly different from her well-known Dante Walker—you can’t help it.
Fire & Flood is a thrilling start to a series that will win over new fans for Victoria Scott as well as gratify existing ones. Perfect for young adults who fawn over swoon-worthy romance and stories of high action and survival. I can’t wait to see where the competition leads Tella in book two, and I need more time with Guy and Pandora.