Friday, February 21, 2014

ARC Review: Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott

Goodreads summary:

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?

My review:

Fire & Flood was such an enjoyable read.  I liked it as much, maybe even better, than Scott's Dante Walker series.  I thought the protagonist was well-developed and easy to relate to, and despite sounding a lot like The Hunger Games, the plot is actually very unique.

From all the reviews I've read, everyone's main problem seemed to be that the main character, Tella, was too girly.  This aspect of her personality, however, is what made me love her so much.  Honestly, I'm a lot like Tella - she's obsessed with makeup and fashion, and there's moments scattered throughout the story where she references fashion or wishes she had makeup with her, etc.  I just loved it, though.  It made her so real.  Take Katniss from The Hunger Games or Tris from Divergent - they're both so tough, and they never worry about their appearance or makeup, unlike Tella.  So, as much as I love Katniss and Tris, it was very refreshing to have a realistic character like Tella who can both enjoy fashion/makeup and kick butt at the same time.  I also enjoyed Tella's sense of humor.  She was hilarious, and I highlighted so many different scenes on my Kindle while I was reading.  

Besides loving Tella's character, I was impressed with the plot.  It sounds a lot like The Hunger Games, but once the story gets started, you find out how complex and layered the plot is.  There's never a lack of action, and there's some fantastic character development mixed in amid all the action and fighting scenes.  Plus, I was blown away by a phenomenal twist towards the end that I totally did not see coming.  If there was anything I disliked, it would probably be that I wanted more world-building, but I'm guessing that will be expanded upon in the second book.

I also liked the romance and the minor characters.  It took me a while to really fall for the love interest, as he was a little too mysterious and silent at first, but I ended up liking him after finding out more about his character.  And instead of coming across as cheesy or full of insta-love, the romance between him and Tella is pretty dang adorable.  I appreciated the fact that it's kind of in the background of the story and never takes over the plot.  Lastly, the minor characters were oh-so-good.  They were wonderfully fleshed out, likeable characters, and despite there being a lot of them, I never got any of them confused.  Scott excels at making them each stand out in a unique way.

To put it simply, I loved Fire & Flood.  Tella is a funny, realistic narrator, and the action-packed plot is balanced out by lighthearted moments and a sweet romance.  This is a must-read for anyone who loves The Hunger Games.  I can't wait to read the sequel!

*I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thanks!

My rating:  4 out of 5 stars

~ Kaitlyn

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