Formerly 'The Mile Long Bookshelf'

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Fire and Flood by Victoria Scott

Title: Fire and Flood
Author: Victoria Scott
Published by: Chicken House
Publication date: 6th March 2014
Pages: 366
Genres: Young Adult/Dystopian/Adventure/Action
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Tella's brother is dying. He's got cancer and Tella is helpless to save him. Or so she thought. When an invitation arrives for Tella to compete in the Brimstone Bleed, a deadly competition that will lead her through treacherous jungle and scorching desert, she doesn't think twice. Because the prize is a cure to any illness. But Tella will be facing more than just the elements...

Pfft. Mixed feelings.

*twiddles thumbs*

Fire and Flood is not what I expected it to be. I was imagining a dark, thrilling, original dystopian, was dark...sometimes. It was certainly thrilling. But original? No. It was almost exactly the same as The Hunger Games, right down to the little gold pin. After the huge success of The Hunger Games trilogy it's no surprise that the YA market has been flooded (see what I did there?) with similar books, but...y'know. Can we have something different now?

Tella's parents randomly decide to home school Tella and her brother, and move to the middle of nowhere in Montana. Tella is dying of boredom without a mall and her friends close-by, so when a small blue box appears on her bed, she can't help but feel curious. Inside is a small white device like a hearing aid, and it plays a message inviting her to participate in the Brimstone Bleed, a race to the death in which competitors will encounter four different environments, with the help of their chosen Pandora - an animal with special powers that will protect them. The prize for winning the Brimstone Bleed? The cure to any illness, and Tella's brother has cancer. If she doesn't win, she'll die trying, and so will her brother. Only one can win the race, but who will it be?

Despite what I said at the beginning of this review, I did really enjoy this. Tella's self-deprecating humour and wit made me laugh a lot, but she was also really irritating at points. For example, she tried to take purple glittery nail polish into the jungle. She had purple, pink and red feather boas above her mirror at home. She was worrying about the fact that she had no make-up the jungle. She's that girl. Picture Amy Willerton when she was in I'm A Celeb and you've got the idea. Luckily, something that Victoria Scott is exceptionally good at is character development and, towards the end of the book, I actually really liked Tella, and the experience changed her for the better. What I'm about to say next is probably very controversial but I ended up liking that she wasn't insanely badass, daring, and independent like Katniss and Tris. She was just normal, goofy and compassionate. It was nice to have a break from the usual dystopian female mold.

One thing I would have loved to see more of was world building. I don't know whether the Brimstone Bleed happened in the past, present, or future, and I wouldn't be able to tell you anything about what state the world was in at that point. Fortunately the descriptions within the race were good and I could picture everything clearly, but some context would have made it much better.

Ah, cliffhangers, I really don't like you. *spoiler* After all that action, we didn't get to find out if she won or not. I need the second book. Now! *end of spoiler* However, I can tell this series is going to be extremely popular and successful. Full of adventure and moments of life and death, this is a book you will not want to put down, whether you love it or not...


  1. I'm not sure what to make of this. I would like to read the book as there clearly are some interesting concepts within it but I'm not the biggest fan of the Hunger Games.
    Maybe I will, maybe I won't. Either way an interesting review :) xx

    1. It's basically a more tame version of THG so you might enjoy this, actually. Thanks Holly :) xx

  2. I have a copy of this on my TBR pile and I'm a little reluctant to pick it up because, as you said, it's not exactly very original, is it? Hmm, I guess I'll still be giving it a go, so it's good to know that you enjoyed it despite the Hunger Games resemblances. Great review, Amber ;)

  3. Hunger Games has taken the title when it comes to a game, massive arena and only one winner which sucks for many books but you have to be original. It does sound funny but I think I'd be annoyed by it so I don't think I'll be reading it anytime soon.

  4. Hoo Haaa Hmm (wut?) I wrote my review a while ago and it was pretty much saying the same thing as yours..WHO NEEDS NAIL VARNISH IN A JUNGLE WHERE YOU COULD POTENTIALLY DIE? just.
    although. yes i did enjoy it, it will probably be popular and HELLO CLIFF-HANGER ;)

  5. Although the fact that it's so similar to THG is a bad thing, I agree with you it must be nice to have a main character that isn't strong, independent etc. because as a reader you probably don't immediately identify with those people! I do really like the cover of this book though! Thanks for your review :)
    Juli @ Universe in Words

    1. I was worried everyone would hate me for saying that so I'm glad someone agrees. Yes, I like the cover too! :)

  6. The book seems really cool, but it's a bit like The Hunger Games. Also, it reminds me of Game of Thrones a little bit, too. But I'm so happy that YA/dystopian is becoming more popular! Great post, Amber :D

    1. Haven't read Game of Thrones so I wouldn't know but I'm happy YA dystopian is becoming more popular too! :)

  7. I actually loved this book. I didn't feel it was a copy Hunger Games. Yes it had some things that were in common to each other, but I felt there was enough differences to make the book enjoyable. I actually liked it better than Hunger Games. Great review.

  8. This is EXACTLY how I feel about this book. I really like that Tella isn't a badass strong-willed character. She seems a lot more like a normal person compared to other dystopian characters like Katniss and Tris, who can be bland and predictable sometimes, in my opinion. The similarities to THG are cringe-worthy, but like you said, I don't think it took away from the thrill and suspense of the story. I have yet to finish it, but I'll most likely rate it 3.5 too. It's enjoyable!

    Fantastic review :)

    -cabbehj disguised as a broccoli

    1. I seriously thought everyone would disagree with me on that point. I agree dystopian characters are becoming more and more predictable because it's like the characters are being re-used in hundreds of other books, it's nice to have someone new even if she is a bit annoying sometimes. I'm glad you're enjoying Fire and Flood, can't wait for your review :) Thx cabbehj ;P

  9. I really didn't like Tella as a main character. She annoyed me so much, but once I got over the fact that she wouldn't change in the entire span of the book, I started to enjoy it. The Pandoras were the BEST part of the book. I really did enjoy the fast-paced action and it got me out of my reading slump so yay!


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