*I received this book free from the Publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.*
Victoria Scott is a new author to me since I have forsaken my duties as a reviewer, blogger, reader, and stuck to genre's that perhaps have become a bit vanilla in nature, but they have also become my bread and butter when I get into a major reading slump. When Fire & Flood was put up on NetGalley and other reviewers who I respect said it was worth the read, I grabbed it like the last piece of bacon on the plate in front of a hungry crowd, without reservation or hesitation.
As expected, Fire & Blood has been getting comparisons to the Hunger Games from all sorts of readers since the main protagonist, 16 year old Tella Holloway, voluntarily runs away from home to participate in an unknown challenge called the Brimstone Bleed for the sole purpose of saving her older brother Cody. But, I am not willing to go any further than that because you have to read the entire story. Let me also say that Tella IS NOT KATNISS so please stop the comparisons! Tella is the complete opposite of Katniss in every way imaginable including being a bit soft and sheltered. She also has zero survival skills which leads her to rely heavily on others.
While reading Fire & Flood, I commented that it felt like I was reading Survivor on crack and the reason was that there were over 100 participants and they were slowly eliminated by failing to get to a set point and advancing to the next round of challenges. They could also CHOOSE not to participate any further which Hunger Games contenders were not allowed to do. There are different challenges that participants of the Brimstone Bleed must partake in like surviving various ecosystems in order to win. This part had me comparing the story to the PATAGONIAN EXPEDITION RACE which I'm sure you will all be running to Google now to find out what the crazy old lady is talking about.
For me, Fire & Blood was made much more interesting by the participation of Pandora's. Pandora's are created animals who are supposed to help assist you during the challenges and can do a whole lot of interesting things which I won't spoil. For Tella, she ends up with a fox she affectionately calls Madox. I adore Madox and want one now!
What Fire & Blood truly is about is surviving and advancing in order to save someone close to you. That means surviving rough conditions, and yes, even other competitors who are definitely much stronger, intelligent, and driven than Tella is at this point in the series. I am hoping that since we are only into the first book of the series, that Scott gives Tella plenty of room to grow as a character. This means letting her choices play themselves out until the very end, and not think of her as a relying on her new found friends and yes, even an apparent love interest who has his own agenda.
I would, however, appreciate some world building. While we did get to the crux of the Brimstone Bleed challenge and apparently who started the whole thing, we don't know if this is current world or future world. I would say current world except for the fact that there's a whole lot of science fiction-y stuff that hasn't happened yet, or that I am aware of anyway. In the end, I have to say that I was happy that Scott didn't perpetuate the rape culture when she could have done so with Tella. Every author has a chance to prove that they can write a book without rape in it, and thankfully Scott stopped short of adding this story to my nightmares.
Author - Victoria Scott
Title - Fire & Flood (Fire & Flood # 1)
Publisher - Scholastic Press
Releases - February 25, 2014
Format: E Book, with 320 pages
Genre - Science Fiction