Series: Fire & Flood #1
Published by Scholastic Inc. on January 27th, 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Love & Romance, Science Fiction, Survival, Young Adult
Time is slipping away....
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?
Tella, a normal teenage girl lives with her parents and sick older brother Cody in the middle of no-wheres-ville. She receives an invitation to the Brimstone Bleed, a competition where Contendors fight to win the one and only cured or their loved ones.
Fire and Flood starts off with a bang. A mysterious invite to a competition to find a cure for Tella’s brother. And it doesn’t hold up at all. The pacing was in this one is so fast, you can call it lightning speed. It’s a fast and easy read. The action scenes, the environment, the characters are pretty well developed. The writing is very easy to read. As to world building, well there was none in the beginning. I has no idea what time period it was, I only guessed by the electronics the main character talked about.
Tella’s thoughts surrounding her observations about Harper are too judgmental. She acts like her friend one second, and then hates on her the next. Insecurities run amok and you can’t help but cringe when she reveals them. I also had mixed reservations about Tella as a Contendor. She is your typical teenage girl and her intent to help her brother is honourouble. Only she is too vain and materialistic for me. After the first round of the Bleed, she stops to fix her face and her hair! WTF! Your own brother’s life is on the line and you have to care about what you look like? There’s other examples, but I didn’t take note of them. She loves to drop back and forth daydreaming about the comforts of home. Naturally, that is allowed, but she barely thought about her brother. There were moments where she did feel guilty, but they were few and far in-between. Her thoughts revolved around Guy and his mysterious charm and secrets he could be hiding. She lacked the wits and smarts to survive and only latched onto others who did know how. That to me is disappointing. I hope her character arc changes in the next book. Tella annoyed the hell out of me. I wanted to like her, I really did, but she could be completely obnoxious and judgmental.
Secondary characters were more likable in my opinion. Harper who is obviously a character that Tella envies and seems to hate and love her at the same time! Hating her for being “perfect” then turn around and begins pointing out how good of a person she is. (Sheesh! Girls are so catty) Then there’s Titus, who reminded me so much of Cato from The Hunger Games. A complete and psychotic sociopath and animal abuser. I hated him. Then there’s wonderful Guy. Strong-willed, loyal, fierce and intelligent. Harper and him were the only two people who knew how to survive in their terrible environments. The animal companions in this one are just so cute. Especially Pandora. They were my favourite in the entire book!
The romance seemed incredibly forced and I had no idea why the two liked each other. Probably just lusting for one another. I wanted substance and I got very little. Their relationship was cute when they talked about their lives but it was soon glossed over by their raging hormones. The ending was super convenient. She just found what she needed at the very end and again I thought it was too easy.
Overall, I enjoyed this book immensely. This book got me out of my reading slump and it’s worth the read! Can’t wait to find out what happens in Salt and Stone!