Sunday, February 2, 2014

Review: Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott


Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott
Book One of the Fire & Flood series
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: February 25, 2014
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from 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?

What I Liked:

I just KNEW I would love this book - and I really did! Victoria Scott wrote the fabulous Dante Walker series (The Warrior, final book of the trilogy, out in May 2014!), and I am a huge fan of that series (take a look at my blog's left-hand sidebar... yup). I had a feeling that I would enjoy this new book of hers - just from what I know about her, her previous series, and also the sound of this book.

I was not disappointed! I'm so happy to say that the hype and buzz surrounding this book did not let me down. Usually when a book is highly popular before it is released, I'm wary. I'm usually one of the Debbie Downers that hates the book that everyone loves. But that wasn't the case with this book. 

When Tella gets the call to enter the Brimstone Bleed in order to fight for a cure for her brother, she does not hesitate to leave her home and go. But she is not expecting to cross a jungle and a desert, fight off other people, and keep track of Pandoras - scientifically created animals with unnatural abilities, given to help their designated Contender. 

But there is something eerie about the Brimstone Bleed. Why does it exist? Why is everyone fighting to save a family member - why are so many people sick with a nameless and incurable disease? There is so much more at stake than surviving in the wild. Tella and other Contenders form a group in order to survive, and Tella realizes that it's just them against her, fighting for the same prize. 

I must say, I was quite happy with the pacing and plot of this book. Not once was I bored, nor did I have to put down the book to absorb content. I literally read this book in one straight shot. I found myself completely drawn into the story, completely sucked in. Scott didn't have lagging scenes, or action scenes that moved too quickly. I was never totally confused or lost, nor was I ever halfway asleep. 

The plot is all about surviving in jungle (and then the desert), but it's also about finding out why things are the way they are. I liked that we not only get to read about Tella's journey and struggle to each base camp, but we get to slowly realize what is horribly wrong with the Brimstone Bleed (not that we didn't know something was wrong). Scott throws curveball after curveball - some predictable, others not so much. 

I like that the romance is NOT the center of this book, nor does this book revolve around the romance. In her other series, Scott seems to base the book around Dante and Charlie's relationship. In this book, Tella and Guy barely do anything, romantically, and feel anything. And yet, their relationship is strange and complex, lust-filled yet driven by deeper emotion. I like that the romance is like an underlying current in this book: it's there, but it's not the point of the series, nor does it drive the series. 

Tella is a girl that I think I would like, if she were real. Granted, she seems very shallow at times, wanting manicures and pedicures and massages and feather boas and things that I really do not care about. I'm not totally girly like that, but I like her strength of character. Like, she seems ditsy, but she's also compassionate. 

Guy is a mystery. We don't get a very good read on him in this book. To me, he seems like a very flat secondary character. He should NOT be a secondary character - he should be a protagonist - and he should NOT seem flat. However, I'm giving Scott the benefit of the doubt on this one - hopefully, we'll see more of a dynamic Guy in the books to come. 

I really like the idea of the Pandoras. That was unique and quite fresh, and very appealing. Madox is adorable, but he is also super fierce and loyal. I'm curious about his abilities (I know there is more to come, I just know it). I hope the rest of the books keep featuring the Pandoras! 

I LOVE the writing style of this book. That was one thing that was consistently on my mind as I was reading this book. Scott inserts humor into this book in the form of Tella's inner voice, and it is HILARIOUS. Some of the lines are just ridiculous - and I love it. Scott's writing style is just so fluid and the voice is so silly at times, and it totally works. I LOVE the humor in this book. 

Overall, this is a solid start to a new series. I was pretty impressed, upon finishing this one. I cannot wait to read the next book! 


What I Did Not Like:

Hmmm, I don't think there was anything specific that I did not like. I really enjoyed this book, from cover to cover. I read it in one sitting, and I wasn't bored - but rather, I was sucked in!

It's getting 4 stars only because this one didn't WOW me, and it's not a new favorite or anything. It's fabulous, I really liked it, and I definitely will be reading the rest of the series. BUT, it's not soooo amazing that I'd give it five stars. Yes? Yes. 

Would I Recommend It:

I really enjoyed this book, so I must say YES, I would recommend it! I've seen it compared to The Hunger Games many times, and honestly, I can see it, but at the same time, it is SOOOO different. Scott really has made this book unique, and her own. So, ignore the comparisons, because this book is kickbutt, all by itself!

Rating:

4 stars. I love Scott's Dante Walker series, and I know I'm going to love this new series! Definitely make this novel a must-read pick of 2014 - you won't regret it!


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

32 comments:

  1. This was definitely a good read. I just found the novel very predictable until they reached the desert. Even Levi's fate, for certain reasons. Guy I loved, though. He was the only thing I couldn't figure out. :)
    I'm part of the blog tour, so I hope you come read my full review (Feb. 19th).

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    1. I know what you mean - it did seem to follow a bit of a formula to a point. But I enjoyed the ride!

      I'll make a point to remember, Kelsey!

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  2. OOh nice review! I enjoyed this one as well. Guess I am delusional or absent from some social media or something because I haven't heard that people were comparing it to the Hunger Games. Never read those myself, so I guess that's what I wasn't seeing it. I can understand why though since there's a competition where only one can win. Oh well! I still enjoyed this book as well and cannot wait to read more! Great review!

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    1. YAY I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed it! And yeah, it was mostly Twitter that I saw the comparison. Either way, I'm happy with the way this book turned out.

      Thank you, Jessica!

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  3. YAY! So glad to hear you've loved this one, Alyssa!
    I'm really looking forward to read this one, and I'm still crossing my fingers I might get approved on NetGalley for it!
    I'm very happy to hear that though there's an undercurrent of romance, it is not the driving force of the book!
    Great review!

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    1. I hope you get approved, Pili! It's totally worth the read. I'm sure you'll love it when you read it.

      Thank you!

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  4. I got to read this book too and I agree that it was totally amazing! It was definitely a thrill ride and I couldn't put it down. I see what you mean about Guy's character being flat, but I think that the last few chapters began to show more depth to his character. Personally, I really liked him, but, as you said, I'm hoping to see more from him in book 2 (which I'm very excited about!).

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    1. I'm glad you also enjoyed it! And I really hope Guy is more fleshed out in the next books. I cannot wait for the sequel! Hurry up, February 2015! :D

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  5. I have this novel from the publisher as well, and I've been itching to read it! I'm glad you liked it--it makes me all the more excited to read.

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    1. You must read it, Gabbie! This is incentive to read it - one more positive review!

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  6. I've seen so many positive reviews for this one! I especially like the sound of Tella's character and the writing style. From all of the reviews I've read, a lot of people have really admired the protagonist, so I'm glad that you did too. Great review, Alyssa!

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    1. Glad to hear that! I actually haven't seen many reviews at all. I think I like Tella! More so than from the beginning of the book.

      Thank you, Eileen!

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  7. It seems that FIRE & FLOOD definitely needs to move up on my reading list with all the positive feedback for it! :D

    I'm happy you enjoyed FIRE & FLOOD! The writing style and the characters all sound great. I wonder how I'll feel about Guy.

    Lovely review! ♥

    Kaede @ Wake Up at Seven

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    1. I think it should be moved up! It's a must-read, in my humble opinion. I'm sure you'll like Guy! Especially if he is more defined in the next books.

      Thank you, Kaede!

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  8. Awesome Awesome Review Alyssa I've been dying to get my hands on the Dante Walker Series for a long time now because I heard sooo many great reviews about it especially about Dante Walker like I need to read this book asap and I heard great things about Fire & Flood as well and I love the summary it sounds just Fantastic I am so happy and glad you love this one as well! thanks for sharing Alyssa!

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    1. I hope you read both series at some point! Both are really great.

      You're very welcome - and thank YOU, Katiria!

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  9. Oo, so glad you liked this! I too am a little wary of all the hype, but it sounds and looks awesome and I'm excited to read it--especially after your fabulous review. I'll hopefully be picking it up soon!

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    1. Hype is never good for me, but this one was really great! I hope you and the team get to read it sometime soon!

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  10. I definitely want to pick this one up. It looks so good! I'm trying not to get caught up in the hype but it seems like this book deserves it. The Brimstone Bleed sounds so creepy yet interesting. I'm going to make sure I pick this one up.

    -P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

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    1. This book definitely deserves it! And all the foreign rights sales and everything. Scott deserves the success! I hope you love this one! Thank you for the comment!

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  11. I have been weighing books for the return of Apocalypse this summer. After your review, I definitely think this is the one I want to do. It sounds fantastic! I am going to grab it.

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    1. Ahhh, I hope you read this one then! I foresee it being pretty popular. Enjoy!

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  12. I started reading this one and I'm liking it so far. Thanks for the heads up!

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  13. Not my genre of choice, but thanks for sharing.

    Stopping by from Carole's Books You Loved February Edition. I am in the list as #29. My book entry is below.

    Elizabeth
    Silver's Reviews
    My Book Entry

    There are also two giveaways on my blog. Check them out if you like.

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  14. I just won this so am anxiously checking my mailbox and not so patiently waiting! I'm glad to hear that the romance doesn't take center stage because I prefer more of a focus on action. I can't wait to get it!

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    1. EXCELLENT! So great to hear! I hope you receive it soon! And I hope you love it.

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  15. The cover is one of my favorites of 2014 already. I love it. And I am completely anxious, waiting to get a copy of this book for myself. I LOVE the sound of it. I am most definitely a tomboy, so in that sense I can't see myself relating with the MC. But the simple fact that she risks everything to save her brothers life is enough to win me over. I love that the story is actually about the STORY, and not a romance. I cannot imagine a reason why I would not love this one as much as you do!

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    1. I have to agree with you! I didn't think I would relate to Tella as well, being more of an non-girly athlete, but I liked her. The story is pretty great! And there is a bit of romance, but as you said, it is about the story, and not the romance.

      I really, really hope you end up loving this one, Jaime! It sounds perfect for you :D

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    2. To Tomboys! :) Done being an idiot now! What I really wanted to say was thank you for always trying to comment back. It means a lot

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    3. LOL! You're no being an idiot at all! And OMG you're so welcome! I feel like it's an important part of blogging - commenting (i.e. CONNECTING) with your readers. Blog readers make my world (blog?) go round. So thank YOU ^_^

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