Title: Fire & Flood
Author: Victoria Scott
Time taken to read: 2 days
Goodreads synopsis: 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?
I will start off by saying that I am biased here because I met the author, Victoria Scott, in my Barnes & Noble a couple weeks ago. She came upstairs while I was doing bookseller training and introduced herself, and I had never heard of her or her books, but she was so sweet, and she was patient through my rambles about how much I want to be a writer, so therefore I love her and everything she does, and I was not feeling like my normal judgmental self while reading this. But I tried to stay objective, so it’s hard to tell whether this book was actually really great or if I just love the author. Either way, I loved Fire & Flood, and I’m confused about why The Hunger Games is popular and this is less so, because The Hunger Games is garbage, and this is similar but way better.
I think Tella is so funny, like when she woke up in the box thing in different clothes, and she was like, oh my god, am I wearing my good underwear. Hashtag me. She is a feminine badass, and I love her. And her lil fox friend is adorable. I was really weirded out by Guy at first because for some reason I pictured him as like at least 30 years old, and then all of a sudden she was like in love with him, and I was like, wait, but he’s old…but he’s not actually old, so I don’t know why I thought that. No judgment from me even if he was old, though, for real. Anyway, Titus was like 100% horrifying and should have been in jail forever. Hashtag I’d rather die than be on the same planet as him, so I feel for Tella. I feel like interacting with him in any way would be traumatizing. OH, and Dink!! I’m just going to say that I called it. As soon as he got in the river to save Caroline, I knew it. But not in the way that it was so obvious and therefore so dumb–it was like, I thought I knew it, but I wasn’t 1000% sure, but I was excited to be proven right and to see how exactly that would play out. And it was creepy and great. At first it bothered me how Tella kind of barely mentions Cody once she’s in the race, and she gets all obsessed with Guy, but actually the whole situation reminded me of residential treatment. I told myself going into res this year that I was not going to get caught up in any drama, that I was going to keep my head down and work on getting better and remember who I was there for, but when you’re suddenly submerged in a completely different world with no contact from anyone else, you can’t help but get swept up in everything. You forget that you have a life outside of there.
So I’m giving this four out of five stars instead of a full five stars because of the whole Cure thing. I am impressed by the fact that there was a reason for this whole race and that it wasn’t completely absurd, but also, I really cannot imagine anyone being in mourning for their child and then setting up this elaborate race. That’s not what you do when you lose a loved one. I don’t know exactly what you do, but it’s not this. Also, why would you make a cure for any illness and then make this race when you could just sell your magical science and make, like, unlimited money? Why torture people when you could cure everyone and live in a castle? I guess the answer is because then we wouldn’t have this book, and that’s how it is with most stories like this, which I can accept, I guess. It’s similar with The Hunger Games. There’s no way that any society would end up doing anything like that, but it’s interesting and exciting to read about. Except The Hunger Games sucks, and Fire & Flood is good, so read this instead. Tell your friends.