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Fire & Flood

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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?

305 pages, Hardcover

First published February 25, 2014

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About the author

Victoria Scott

52 books2,911 followers
Victoria Scott is the acclaimed author of nine novels including FIRE & FLOOD, THE COLLECTOR, and ​TITANS. Victoria’s books have been YALSA-nominated, have appeared on the prestigious Spirit of Texas ​Reading ​Program​, and have been included on Bank Street College of Education's Best Books of the Year list. ​Her stories have been translated and sold in fourteen countries​, and FIRE & FLOOD is currently an Amazon Teacher's Pick selection. ​

Victoria is also the owner and founder of Scribbler, ​a monthly mailing that functions as a writing conference in a box. Scribbler has been featured by BuzzFeed​, Good Morning Texas, and NaNoWriMo​. Victoria holds a master’s degree in ​business ​management, and plans to expand Scribbler into an all-inclusive resource for novelists.

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February 21, 2014
The woman pauses dramatically. “I’d like to officially welcome you to the Brimstone Bleed. May the bravest Contender win.”
Wait, what?
“Put this on your shirt.”
It’s a small gold serpent pin, and it’s fairly heavy.
Well, isn't that just fucking special?

This book is half Hunger Games, half Digimon/Pokémon hybrid, and 100% terrible. The writing and the main character is absolutely juvenile---without all the sexual scenes, this book would feel like it was written for a middle grade audience because of the utter immaturity (and imbecility) of its main character.

Let's get the obvious over with: this is a Hunger Games wannabe, without the setting, without the complexity of the characters, without the depth. I wouldn't call this a clone, because for one thing...this book doesn't work. At all. Comparing this book to The Hunger Games would be a gross insult to the original books.

You see, this book takes place in a contemporary setting. We start in Montana, the United States. Quickly, we are plunged into rainforests, jungles, deserts. Nothing makes any sense.

The Summary:


16-year old Tella is a fucking moron. Her older brother, Cody, is sick. He is wasting away, and her family has decided to uproot themselves to Montana so he can get all the fresh air and stuff in an effort to cure him. Like people with consumption in the 19th century move to the West so they can get away from all the bad humors in the city.

There's just one problem: it's 2014, and it's Montana.

Tella is, like a typical 16-year old, really not into the move. She wants Facebook. She wants technology. She will die without her phone. One night, she goes into her room...only to find a mysterious blue-wrapped box on her bed. A BOX!!!!
Holding the box to my lips, I tell it, “You’re mine, precious. All mine.”
The box holds a device the size of a hearing aid with a blinking red button. Tella pushes it, this message plays:
“If you’re hearing this message, you are invited to be a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. All Contenders must report within forty-eight hours to select their Pandora companions.”
Tella doesn't fucking know who left her the message. She doesn't know how the box got there. Her parents are trying to hide the box from her, to the extent of literally setting the box on fire.

Tella digs it out of the flames anyway. The message continues. It promises her something great.
“The Brimstone Bleed will last three months and will take place across four ecosystems: desert, sea, mountains, jungle. The winning prize will be the Cure — a remedy for any illness, for any single person.”
Well, howdy doody! She doesn't know who fucking left the message, or how the person is going to cure her brother when modern science already says that there is no cure for her brother, but fuck, let's do it! Let's just listen to the mysterious message from god-knows-who, let's just run off in the middle of the fucking night to god-knows-where, only to disappear from your parents for 3 fucking months (nobody cares about missing children, anyway, right?), in order to pursue a mysterious cure for your brother in a race involving god-knows-what!

Makes perfect sense to me.

So good old Tella defies her parents, steals their car---she takes the crappy car, of course, being the amazing daughter she is:
And after almost two hundred thousand miles, the car is an utter embarrassment to the auto community. My parents will wake up to find their daughter gone. I’d hate to have them left with the crap car, too.


So Tella runs away, to an empty museum in the middle of nowhere, like the message told her. In any other book, you could almost guarantee that the heroine who does this shit would end up the victim of a serial killer. An empty museum, in the dead of night in the middle of nowhere.

Tella's instincts are telling her RUN RUN RUN. Fuck instincts, what are they good for, anyway?
I’ve watched a lot of scary movies, and I’ve learned nothing good is ever at the bottom of a winding staircase. Pulling in a breath and preparing myself to be eaten alive, I head down.
In the middle of a room are an assortment of eggs. Large eggs, small eggs. Shiny ones, iridescent ones.

If I wandered into a room full of eggs, my first thought would be "Where's the fucking bacon? I want to make an omelet!!" But not brilliant Tella; she just knows the eggs are there for a purpose.
I don’t need the device in my pocket to tell me what my gut already knows.
This is the Pandora Selection Process.
While Tella is standing there, wondering about the meaning of life, a million other contestants rush in and grab all the eggs (fucking brilliant). Tella manages, by the skin of her teeth, to snatch the very last one.

She is then introduced to our love interest #1: the sexy serial killer.
He looks back at me, and I wonder if maybe, even though he looks a little like a serial killer, he’s going to help me up.
They go to a train station, where they are met by an Effie-Trinket school reject in garish, loud clothes, and handed a pill. Naturally, MUST TAKE THE PILL.


Regret is the morning after. Tella wakes up.
Pounding my fists against the boards, I scream. I swallowed the pill. I’m in a box. How stupid could I have been? I left without telling my family where I was going, got on a train to a city that doesn’t exist, and swallowed a foreign object. Oh yeah, and I also picked up a rotting egg along the way.
This type of self-realization is important; in my native language, we have a phrase for it that roughly translates to "you are so fucking dumb that when you die and join us in the land of the dead, we will pretend that you don't exist because you are an embarrassment to our family line."

Just kidding.

Tella wakes up in a motherfucking jungle. It is a race, and the first legs are through the jungle and the desert. It's not a race to the death, because there are 4 legs of the race along the way. The competitors can join forces, and it's damned good thing they do, because Tella is so fucking helpless she wouldn't survive without their help.

Along the way, the eggs hatch. They hatch into a fox, an elephant, a raccoon, a bear, an eagle.

Tella punches that eagle. A BALD EAGLE. She just sucker punched the national bird of the United States.
...when the eagle gets close enough — I swing a right hook and collide with the bird. She slams into the ground and slides for several feet.

It turns out this is a race. This is more The Amazing Race (the TV show), than anything resembling The Hunger Games.

The Premise: Fucking ludicrous. I don't know why the fuck this book is shelved under "dystopia," it is not. It is modern-day United States, and the premise of a Hunger Games race is simply idiotic. I don't know why the fuck all these people are there. I don't know why the fuck there are child contestants---some barely 10. I don't know why the Big Bad Guys (and there are always Big Bad Guys) are doing this in the first place, when they supposedly have a cure for all kinds of illnesses.

The people who run this race are called Pharmies, as in Pharmaceuticals. I don't know if you guys know this, but pharmaceuticals and the drug industries are worth hundreds of billions of dollars. If these guys have the cure to every fucking thing, why are they just limiting this to a stupid pointless race when they could be making major bucks for their discovery? It makes no fucking sense.

Why the fuck are we in the desert? Where the fuck is this motherfucking jungle? Did anyone question this shit? No. Is it in Africa? Maybe. It could only be Africa, considering the fact that the contestants get attacked by fucking gorillas.

Does the people running this competition wonder, well, MAYBE PEOPLE ARE GOING TO QUESTION THE FACT THAT THEIR LOVED ONES ARE DISAPPEARING FOR MONTHS AT A TIME. No. Some of these kids are well, KIDS. You think maybe someone's going to wonder OH THEY'RE MISSING SCHOOL FOR 3 MONTHS, YOU THINK?

DIGIMON, DIGITAL MONSTERS, DIGIMONS ARE THE CHAMPIONS! Oh, the eggs. They're fucking Digimon eggs, guys. Seriously, these people are given fucking eggs that hatch into creatures.

Ok, not exactly like that, they're normal creatures, like eagles, raccoons...



These creatures are actually rather special, they have special abilities. Like Digimons, they...morph.
His head falls back and his spine ripples. Beneath him, his legs and arms stretch longer and wider, and his black coat begins to thicken. My Pandora grows massive muscles and new body parts — morphing.
Not ondo they morph, they duel each other in a Pokémon style duel to the death. They Digivolve. Cute.

TELLA-HER TO SHUT UP: Tella is the most annoyingly grating heroine I've read in a long time. The narration is first-person, and it is simply intolerable.
I close my hand around the lid and pull it off. Inside is a tiny pillow. I imagine all sorts of miniature animals using it in their miniature beds. But that’s dumb, because how would they ever find a pillow case to fit?
Tella is so juvenile, so immature. She has the dumbest trains of thoughts. Every time she goes into a long-winded narration, I wanted to punch her in the face. She talks to herself. CONSTANTLY. UNCEASINGLY. WILL IT EVER STOP?
I decide to stay put but reason that if I see another Contender soon, I’ll run my tag-team idea across them. Deal? Deal.

Oh Jesus. I’m already talking to myself. Or thinking to myself as if there are two of me. Is that the same thing? I’m not sure. But I do know I’ve been alone for two minutes and I’m already losing my shit.


Tella is a fucking moron, I've said it before, and I really mean it. She makes the dumbest fucking decisions. While deciding what to pack for the competition, instead of, like...survival shit, emergency food, warm clothes, matches...she thinks...OOH, I NEED NAIL POLISH.
Because I have no idea of what I’ll need, I also throw in random things from my desk: pens, paper, scissors, tape. The last thing I pack is a photo of my family that’s stuck in the edge of my mirror. That and my glittery purple nail polish.
Tella is hurt, bleeding, she needs to get her ass on in the competition so that she doesn't fall behind the other contestants. What does she do first? WHY, FIX HER FACE.
Running my fingers through my hair, I think about how I should be racing toward Lincoln Station. But the compulsion to repair my face is too strong.

I grab my makeup bag — the one I never leave home without — and fix what I can.
Tella is hopelessly out of shape. She's not ready for any sort of a competition. BUT SURELY, IF SHE LOOKS THE PART, SHE'LL DO JUST FUCKING FINE.
With curls trimmed close to my head and a roguish green-and-blue feather dangling over my right shoulder, I decide I just might seem like someone who would enter a daring race — and win.
...That's not exactly how it works. During the competition, conditions are terrible. They're hungry, they lack water...Tella lacks makeup.
For a fleeting moment, before the woman speaks, I pray that the orange pack I’m wearing holds Chanel makeup. And a brush. And a mirror.
The Plot: All action, no sense, no excitement. There is no competition, because this is a survival race as they go through each terrain. I was never engrossed in the plot because there was largely no point to this book.

The Other Characters: None of the characters in this book stand out. I can't remember any of them. The only character that stands out is the 8 and 10 year old kids because they are so completely young and out of place. The other characters have no personality, I cannot be fucked to remember who is Caroline, who is Harper, who is Ransom. The love interests are douchebags, both of them. One looks like a serial killer with a heart of gold, the other is a serial killer who looks like the boy next door. One is slightly less loathsome than the other.

They start off uneasily. All of a sudden, before 50% of the book is through, they're making out and they're in luuuuuuuuurve. I don't get it.

I want to point you guys to Cory's review of this book, because she explains the perpetration of rape culture in this book much better than I can. This review has wasted enough of my time already.

Needless to say, fuck this book.

Quotes were taken from an uncorrected proof, subject to change in the final edition.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
February 17, 2014
There's something familiar about this story...

A group of people must compete against one another in a game of survival, an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean and mountain. They face the danger of their fellow competitors, as well as the various threats of nature. There can be only one winner.

Where have I heard this before?

During this competition, some of the competitors choose to form teams in order to increase their chances of survival out in the wilderness. There's flirtations between the MC and the hot, mysterious dude. And why is she doing all this again? To save her brother.

Hang on a minute, I've definitely seen this before...

'The woman pauses dramatically. "I’d like to officially welcome you to the Brimstone Bleed. May the bravest Contender win."'

Yep. This is another book about a competition/game where there can be only one winner and the protagonist - this time called Tella Holloway - is doing it all for the sake of her sibling. There's just very little need to read this if you've already read The Hunger Games. And if you haven't read The Hunger Games, then go read that instead. Or Battle Royale. But probably not this.

Fire & Flood is more of a spectacularly average book than it is a bad one, and still might offer some entertainment to those who aren't familiar with THG or don't mind reading similar versions of the same story. I found Tella to be an uninspiring, bland main character whose narration cannot compete with either the bold, interesting Katniss or the charismatic narrator of the author's other books - Dante Walker. Ms Scott has a quirky style to her writing that can work very well at times but never really felt suited to Tella and her acute blandness. The cast of secondary characters also increases as the book moves along but none of them are particularly interesting - not even mr sexy with his impressive muscles.

Plus, I immediately started to dislike Tella after reading this:

The last girl I see, I want to strangle. Like the woman, she has long hair. But instead of dark, it's blond - no, honey gold - and shines like that of a Broadway starlet. I can't see her eyes from here, but I'm sure they're some kind of stunning shade of blue. She has cream-colored skin and a body that belongs in a magazine - the kind for guys, not girls. I hate her with everything I have as she laughs her perfect laugh and tosses her perfect hair and crosses her to-die-for legs... We could be friends, I realize, if I weren't so overwhelmed with the urge to end her.

*sigh* Will this never end in YA?

As for the positive, there was one thing I really liked. In this story, each of the competitors starts off with an egg that hatches into an animal that may or may not have special powers - these animals are called Pandoras and team up with their human companion to help them win. And Tella's Pandora is a little black fox called Madox who is more than he first seems. He likes to trot around her feet and lie on his back waving his legs in the air... he is effin' adorable. I swear he is the only reason this book got two stars. Let's finish with a picture of him:

Profile Image for Victoria Scott.
Author 52 books2,911 followers
October 5, 2012
So excited to share this new series with you! It couldn't be more different than the Dante Walker books. I suppose I like to keep you guys guessing. ;)
Profile Image for Lindsay Cummings.
Author 13 books5,103 followers
October 10, 2012
one of my best friends wrote this. she's awesome. she's hilarious. she's got killer descriptions. therefore, this book is awesome. got it?!
Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,356 followers
January 27, 2014
Does it bother you to think about being covered in bugs, bugs that eat your flesh and blood? Then prepare yourself because this book is nightmare-inducing! I'm not sure what it says about me to know that this is part of why I enjoyed it so much. I guess a book that can prompt such horrific images in my head to the point of making me shudder is up there with the awesome. Or maybe I should be on medication. That's up for debate.

Fire & Flood surprised me in many ways. At first it had a lot of similarities with The Hunger Games, which for me is a complete turn-off, so it's with pleasure that I can say these parallels fade early on, leaving us with an original, creative, and exciting novel. Ultimately we've got a survivalist story with dashes of fantastical and Sci-Fi elements. There are a lot of extreme conditions that we see Tella fight through, while making us wonder how we would do in her place. With cinematic details, each setting is brought to life from an endless yet claustrophobic jungle, to a dry, barren, and unbearably hot desert. It's all incredibly vivid. Which is both an applaud and a warning: I honestly felt those ants on me. For hours. Yes, it all comes back to the bugs. *shudders*

We meet a lot of characters throughout this story. With a large cast like this it's hard to connect to each character on an emotional level. This is not a huge problem seeing as this book is very plot driven. However it did leave a lot of room for me to analyze every single aspect of this story, to put what seemed like trivial details together, and eventually figuring out most of the many twists this book had up its sleeve. Still, some of them are clever, others creative, all leading to a very enjoyable read regardless of if you see them coming or not. The plot itself is full of secrets and conspiracies, giving us an interesting history behind this mysterious Brimstone Bleed - a race with a prize many would - and do - kill for. It involves some science fiction explanations that, I'm thinking, might be a hit or miss for some, but it brings about some really cool accessories (for lack of a better word and avoid spoiling) to help the contenders in the race. Actually one of my favorite parts was finding out what the Pandoras could do!

With uncomfortable conditions, hunger, anxiety, and fear throughout - oh, and ALL OF THE BUGS!! - Fire & Flood will keep you in suspense from beginning to end!

I will leave you with this - ON YOUR FACE WHILE YOU SLEEP:

An advance copy was provided by the publisher for review.

For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
Profile Image for Carol [Goodreads Addict].
2,433 reviews24.8k followers
November 12, 2015
When I am given the opportunity to read a book that hasn’t been released yet, it means I am going into it without having been influenced by reading other reviews on Goodreads. It means going into it with no expectations, either positive or negative and leaving myself open to the possibility of finding a wonderful book. And that is exactly what happened when I read Fire and Flood by Victoria Scott. This is the first book I have read by Ms. Scott so I had no idea what to expect and what a surprise I was in for. I found this book to be fabulously exciting with a main character that surprised me at every turn.

Tella Holloway loved her life in Boston. Her idea of exercise was how far she would walk at the mall while shopping with her friends. But, her brother Cody has become ill with a mysterious disease. Countless Doctors have not been able to help him. Tella and Cody’s parents move them to a small town in Montana hoping the “quiet” life would be good for Cody. Tella misses her friends, internet, television, and all the comforts she has become so used to. Cody is slipping, getting weaker and weaker. Mysteriously, one night, Tella discovers a small gift box on her bed. In it is an invitation to participate in a race called the Brimstone Bleed. The winner of the race will receive a “cure” for their sick family member. What is this mysterious race? Who put the box on her bed? But Tella knows that whatever the answers to all her questions are, she has to go. She has to do whatever she can to try to save her brother. Thus starts an adventure that Tella never could have imagined.

The race is to take place in four sections, the jungle, desert, ocean and mountains. So Tella sets off with no idea what she is getting herself into. The first order of business is selecting a Pandora. The Pandora is an egg that will eventually hatch into an animal that will help them throughout their journey. Each animal is different, and each animal will have unique powers. Tella’s Pandora eventually ends up being a little black fox. But all the other animals obey their contenders. Tella’s doesn’t seem to listen to her at all. And what will it’s powers be? Does it even have any? No matter what, though, she loves her little fox and will do anything to protect it.

 photo blackfox_zps321372a8.jpg

The first part of the race is the jungle. A place where it rains all the time and you can hear strange things scurrying about in the darkness. Here Tella eventually meets up with some fellow contenders and they form a small group, deciding they are stronger together than alone. One person in particular is Guy. What is it about him that draws her to him? They form a tentative bond but this is a race. Only one person can win. Can she trust Guy, maybe even with her heart?

 photo jungle_zpse3a3f01d.jpg

The second part of the race is the desert. Their little group has been through so much already. But the desert presents a whole new set of challenges.

 photo desert_zpsee56bf85.jpg

I just can’t say enough great things about this book. Tella starts out as a typical teenager but during the course of the first two parts of this race she discovers so much about herself. She is so strong. But she is also so compassionate. She is not going to let this race harden her. She always does what she thinks is the right thing. Watching her change throughout the course of this book was so wonderful. And I loved watching her relationship with Guy change and grow.

As I said, this book takes us through the first two parts of the race so there are two left. As I was reading it, even if I had just a few minutes to grab a few pages throughout the day, I was immediately immersed back into this world. I could picture the deep greens of the jungle or the endless sand dunes of the desert. And the little black fox stole my heart right from the start. I can’t wait for the next book in this series. Thank you so much to NetGalley, Victoria Scott and Scholastic Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book.
Profile Image for Jeff.
115 reviews502 followers
November 12, 2014
Very good indeed! Not my normal read but I enjoyed it thoroughly. I thought the pace was fantastic and something needs to be said about the increasing amount of new literature, that uses the short, sporadic chapter lengths. Some of the chapters in this book were 4 pages! I am used to epics which sometimes have chapters of 50 + pages, so having short chapters makes the book seem to fly by. Ultimately I fell in love with the story, and I will admit, the characters. I have a gripe against romance in novels and this one is no exception, but I caught myself tolerating it a bit more in this one. It reminded me a bit of Philip Pullman's "his dark materials" trilogy with the usage of animal companions. So let's say an amalgamation of hunger games with his dark materials! Well done overall, very quick, very fast paced and very well written!
Profile Image for Natalie Monroe.
595 reviews3,587 followers
January 20, 2022
3.5 stars

For a fleeting moment, before the woman speaks, I pray that the orange pack I’m wearing holds Chanel makeup. And a brush. And a mirror.

Welcome to the Prada sale of a lifetime, people! Instead of fighting past the Black Friday crowd for shoes, the teenage Becky Bloomwood will take part in the Brimstone Bleed without makeup for a cure for her brother, Cody! She will be helped along by a steadfast, raised on Man vs Wild Luke 2.0! Join our heroes as they trek across jungles and deserts and ultimately end up with no resolution!

Just as well, the cure probably wouldn't have matched Tella's nails.

I'm not the first person to point this out, but that doesn't mean I won't say it: Fire & Flood is a mash-up of The Hunger Games and Digimon. A bunch of people have to compete under harsh conditions in order to save their loved ones and They get magical animals called Pandoras who are fiercely loyal to their Contender.

Ah, the hours I wasted convincing my mom to buy me a Digivice. I never got one.

However, the protagonist is not a ruthless Katniss or a brave Tai, instead we get Tella, the American Becky Bloomwood.

Because I have no idea of what I’ll need, I also throw in random things from my desk: pens, paper, scissors, tape. The last thing I pack is a photo of my family that’s stuck in the edge of my mirror. That and my glittery purple nail polish.

Tella and I have a love-hate relationship because I definitely hated her in the beginning. Victoria Scott explained in her blog that the reason she wrote Tella the way she is—girly and fixated on looks—was to give feminine characters a chance to shine. That's all very nice and well, and I heartily approve of Victoria's decision. There's no reason why you can't kick some zombie butt and then go pick out your prom dress right afterwards.

Tella goes way too far though. She has exactly one hour to get to the train station and she wastes time by slicking on lip gloss.

I think about how I should be racing toward Lincoln Station. But the compulsion to repair my face is too strong.

I grab my makeup bag — the one I never leave home without — and fix what I can.

Seriously, girl, priorities.

But I like what happens afterwards. Another Contender had used her silky tresses to gain the upper hand in a fight earlier, and Tella swallows her vanity and gives herself a haircut Mulan-style. It reminds me of that scene in Naruto where Sakura cuts her own hair short in order to be taken seriously as a ninja.

However, whereas Sakura immediately whips out a kunai to fight after the dramatic hair-shoring, Tella laments her loss and comments on how her new hairstyle makes her eyes look wider and her lips fuller. And how her freckles stand out more.

One step at a time, I guess.

Did I mention that Tella can be incredibly stupid at times too? A mysterious box shows up on her bed, telling her to participate in a competition to win a cure for Cody. Tella instantly packs up her bags (including her glittery nail polish) and hightails to the meeting place without telling her parents. You could argue that her mom suspected what was going on, but a note would be nice. Something like: "Hey, mom and dad, I'm going to participate in this contest I know nothing about to win a maybe-non-existent cure for my dying brother. Toodles!

For all Tella knows, this could be a scam and she could be sliced open for organs or something.

She also falls prey to what I like to call the Berners-Lee Cancellation Effect. There's a computer at the diner Tella stops by, but she doesn't use it search up some information on what this Brimstone Bleed is before running blindly to the starting point. I don't even know why I'm bothering to point this out. No one uses the Internet in YA novels. We need to do research? Let's just go to a bar and ask random people! It's not like there's this fantastic invention called Google or anything.

See, even Becky-fucking-Bloomwood knows how to use Google!

Plus, for a girl who cares so much about looks, Tella sure isn't shy about slut-shaming others.

The last girl I see, I want to strangle...she has long hair. But instead of dark, it's blond—no, honey gold—and shines like that of a Broadway starlet. I can't see her eyes from here, but I'm sure they're some kind of stunning shade of blue. She has cream-colored skin and a body that belongs in a magazine—the kind for guys, not girls. I hate her with everything I have as she laughs her perfect laugh and tosses her perfect hair and crosses her to-die-for legs...We could be friends, I realize, if I weren't so overwhelmed with the urge to end her.

That's the girl who was desperately trying to beautify herself earlier. Even after Harper (that's the girl's name) lets Tella join her group for mutual protection and they become friends, she still relentlessly hates on Harper in her mind:

I'm relieved to see that she has the slightest hint of stretch marks on her belly. Though they're hardly visible, I'd like to imagine she was once enormous.

How dare she be more beautiful than me and my purple nails! Fie!

Fortunately, Tella gets better in the second half. I think Victoria Scott deliberately made Tella an annoying little whiner in the first half so when the character development fairy came, we'd be like:

Well, it worked for me. Tella still has idiotic moments, including the shady rape culture business with another Contender, but compared to the her before, Tella is a Katniss. She protects a bunch of stolen Pandoras from people who want to kill them. She fights back. She even bites someone who was attacking her. And this was the ditzy girl who was worrying about Chanel products.

Harper's by far my favorite character though. She looks like a freaking supermodel, but is willing to sacrifice her looks for survival.

The bird raises a talon and makes a tiny slice three inches above her navel. Blood drips from the wound when the eagle removes her claw.
"Jesus, Harper," Levi says. "Couldn't you have used something besides your body?"
"My stomach is a map, see?" she explains, ignoring Levi. "When we find another flag, we make a new mark in relation to this one." Harper points at the bleeding cut. "It needs to always be with us," she says. But what she means is: me. It needs to always be with me.

Now that's commitment. As Dumbledore said, scars are very useful. Tella could learn a thing or two from Harper.

Now for the setting, which I still haven't quite figured out. I know it's present-day because Tella mentioned Mcdonald's, Victoria's Secret and Lady Gaga. At the same time, there is some seriously advanced technology in form of fire-resistant radios and Pandoras. Lions can breathe fire. Eagles can turn invisible. Cute baby foxes can shapeshift.

Yet no one questions this? They're totally cool with a raccoon being able to heal wounds with a flick of its tongue? If it were me, I'd freak out, slaughter my way to the top and then figure out how to turn this baby into cash.

What, Cassie Clare's doing it.

All in all, Fire & Flood isn't a bad read. The heroine might get on your nerves at first, but her ditzy monologues are quite funny sometimes and her character develops as the book goes on. And Madox, Tella's Pandora, is freaking adorable.

I need a Pandora, stat.

My Review of Salt & Stone
Profile Image for Wendy Higgins.
Author 20 books7,953 followers
August 10, 2013
Oh, wow. Get ready for an intense first installment to this new series, y'all. I'm a little stunned by it all. And a lot impressed.

I have an author crush on Tori Scott. For reals.
Profile Image for Paula Stokes.
Author 14 books1,153 followers
September 12, 2013
The Hunger Games meets The Amazing Race meets How to Train Your Dragon, and the result is freaking outstanding.

Sixteen-year-old Tella is just an ordinary girl with extraordinary problems. Her older brother is dying of a mysterious illness and the only way she can save him is to enter an epic race across desert, jungle, mountain, and ocean. Tella's not much of an outdoorswoman--her idea of roughing it is going without internet access--but not trying means letting her brother die, and that ain't happening. And so begins the Brimstone Bleed.

What I liked best about Fire & Flood (other than the Pandoras--I want one of those almost as much as my letter from Hogwarts) is the balance displayed. Tella is tough, but still very relatable. Although she's trapped in an inhospitable environment with her life constantly in danger, I never felt like her plight was hopeless. With a less deft hand, this story could have become overly bleak, but Victoria Scott uses her supporting characters and their Pandora companions to infuse laughter and lightness at just the right moments.

Fire & Flood is an epic adventure story full of high-stakes action and just the right amount of humor and romance. I laughed. I swooned. I cheered. I got angry. I cried. I cheered some more. Readers will want to root for Tella as she embraces her newfound inner strength and risks everything to save her brother.

Sometimes you don't know what you want in a book until you read one that hits all the marks. For me, this book was PERFECT. I eagerly await the next installment...and the arrival of my Pandora egg ;-)
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,535 reviews9,956 followers
November 13, 2015

So I was loving the beginning of the book because Tella was so funny with her snark. Then... she gets the little ear piece thingy that says she can join the Brimstone Bleed if she gets to so and so by so and so time.

There are things about the book I liked and others were just:


I loved when Tella got there, got her egg and got on with where they had to start the game. And I fell in love with her Pandora, which comes from the egg they get in the beginning, he was a little fox, but he has some things he can do :)

I loved Guy, he ended up being Tella's love interest and his pandora was a lion.

The thing is a few of them team up to help each other get to the finish line. They start out in the jungle and a few people and pandora's die attempting to get to their destination in two weeks.

There is a guy that is a jerk and a half, his name is Titus. He is evil to the core and I wanted someone to take him out.. maybe they do...

Anyhoo, over all I liked the book but I didn't love it like I thought I would from the start. Makes me sad because... well because it just does!

I'm glad there are many out there that loved it though, there is nothing like loving a book :) I don't like the meh ones or the ones I really don't like at all..... Fin
April 21, 2014
If you’re hearing this message, you are invited to be a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. All Contenders must report within forty-eight hours to select their Pandora companions. If you do not appear within forty-eight hours, your invitations will be eliminated.
The Brimstone Bleed will last three months and will take place across four ecosystems: desert, sea, mountains, jungle. The winning prize will be the Cure—a remedy for any illness, for any single person.
There will only be one champion.”

I’ve been looking forward to Fire & Flood since it was first announced and before it even had a cover. I fell in love with The Collector and was eager for more from Victoria Scott! Even though this isn’t my usual kind of book, but I didn’t care. I was excited to meet Tella and Guy (!) and the Pandoras. My favorite aspect of The Collector, was how Victoria captured Dante’s voice so perfectly. I was curious to see how Tella’s character would be since she’s worlds away from Dante. From the first page, I knew Tella and I would get along just fine. This girl was funny and witty with such an awesome sarcastic attitude. The fact that she’s also fearless and determined to save her brother at all costs, makes it pretty much impossible to not love this girl.

Tella’s older brother has a rare, undiagnosed and incurable diseases that is slowly killing him. It broke my heart to see how determined Tella and her brother are to keep their relationship the same, even if he can’t even get out of bed anymore. When Tella receives a mysterious message telling her she has 48 hours to report to be a contestant to the Brimstone Bleed. Winning the race will get her the cure for her brother’s illness, but there can only be one winner. Tella has no other option, she knows she’s her brother’s only option so she sets off to try to save his life. I was so excited for the Pandora selection and to see what animal Tella (and the other contenders) got to help her in the race. This was one of my favorite parts of the book and as much as I loved the story, the Pandoras kind of stole the show. No I won’t spoil what Pandora Tella chooses, or what his name is or what he can do. But I will tell you that you will love him as much as Tella does.

The competition, Brimstone Bleed, last three months and covers different ecosystems: desert, jungle, etc. This takes up a good chunk of the book and kept my attention the entire time. Tella meets other contenders who are also competing for a cure for a loved one. She even befriends a group of them. I think this is one of the reasons why the competition part of the book never gets boring. It’s not just Tella wondering by herself (although she does for a bit in the beginning) but we get to meet this great cast of secondary characters. My favorite was Harper, who I wasn’t even sure I would like when I first met her. But of course, my favorite character was Guy Chambers. *insert dreamy sigh here* *and another one* If I were to go to the Brimstone Bleed, I would pick Guy Chambers as my Pandora ;) This is one of those slow-building relationships, but the payoff is worth it! I was hooked on Tella and Guy’s every interactions. So excited to see where this goes next!

While I’ve heard the comparisons between this and Hunger Games, other than the competition thing, I didn’t really see it. It was like when people would compare every vampire book to Twilight…For me, it was more like an awesome mix of The Amazing Race and Pokemon. Pandora, I choose you!!! This is part of a series so there will definitely be unanswered questions in the end, but I do love the way everything came together at the end and gave us the perfect set up for book two. The ending wasn’t a cliffhanger (at least not for me) but it does end in a to-be-continued sort of way that will have you itching to get your hands on the next book. A thrilling and action-packed story with vivid descriptions and plot twists (some you may expect and some that will blindside you), Fire & Flood will take you on an epic adventure!

4.5 out of 5 stars!

 photo blfireampflood_zps19ac8fbd.jpg
Fire & Flood by nereyda1003

Read full review & more of my reviews at Mostly YA Book Obsessed
Profile Image for Elena Mayr.
121 reviews324 followers
December 11, 2021
Kategorie: Leseempfehlung
Bewertung: 4/5 ⭐️

+ Die Handlung ist genial - liebe ich!
+ Viel Spannung, konnte das Buch kaum weglegen
+ Panem-Vibes
+ Ist definitiv mal etwas Neues - sehr coole Ideen (Heilmittel, Pandoras etc.)
+ Beiläufige Liebesgeschichte, die sich sehr gut in die Geschichte fügt

- Zu schneller Einstieg in die Geschichte
- Anstrengende, naive und kindliche Protagonistin
- Charakteren fehlt es etwas an Tiefe
- Ein paar Längen

Auch wenn ich ein paar Punkte kritisiere und das Buch nicht „perfekt“ ist, kann ich es wirklich empfehlen.
Ich hatte schon lange nicht mehr so viel Lust, eine Geschichte weiterzulesen.
Die ganzen Ideen der Autorin fand ich unheimlich gut und innovativ (möchte natürlich nicht spoilern).
Die Liebesgeschichte ist auch nur im Hintergrund, was in dieser Story sehr passend ist.

Freue mich auf den zweiten Teil! 😍

Profile Image for Meli  .
1,103 reviews202 followers
February 27, 2017
4/5 Sterne mit einer Tendenz nach unten.

Tellas Bruder Cody ist krank und es scheint keine Heilung mehr für ihn zu geben.
Doch dann bekommt sie ein mysteriöses Gerät, dass ihr einen Weg zeigt, ein Heilmittel zu bekommen: Das Brimstone Bleed. Sie weiß erst nicht, was es ist, doch zögert nicht.
Es entpuppt sich als Wettstreit zwischen über hundert Kandidaten und sie alle wollen das Gleiche: Den Hauptgewinn, um ihre Geliebten zu retten. Und einige von ihnen sind bereit, alles dafür zu tun.
Mit ihrem Pandora, ein genetisch verändertes Tier mit besonderen Fähigkeiten, stellt Tella sich der Herausforderung, denn sie ist fest entschlossen, ihren Bruder zu retten und mehr über das Brimstone Bleed herauszufinden.

Tella legte früher wohl mehr Wert auf ihr Äußeres, wie sie durch Gedanken an Maniküre und ähnliches zeigt, aber während der Handlung des Buches hat sie keine Gelegenheit für solche Dinge. Daher fand ich das erzähltechnisch recht geschickt, weil es zeigt, wie anders die Umstände für sie sind und wie stark sie für ihren Bruder ist. Aber sie ist auch menschlich und wird manchmal neidisch, verliert ihr Ziel aus den Augen, aber sie gibt nie auf.
Guy ist unser Love-Interest. Ich finde, das hätte nicht sein müssen, also es wäre auch ohne gegangen, aber bei der Zielgruppe ist das in Ordnung. Es ist ein taffer Kerl und scheint immer genau zu wissen, was er tut. Also der besonders coole Typ halt. War vorhersehbar, dass sie Gefühle füreinander entwickeln.

Andere Charaktere
Die Teilnehmer beim Brimstone Bleed sind relativ zufällig gewählt. So sind da ziemlich krasse Typen, die vor Mord und Gewalt nicht zurückschrecken, aber auch Kinder, die versuchen, sich irgendwie durchzuschlagen. Und die Kämpfer wie Tella und Guy.
Es gab Beispiele für jede Art und es waren auch schon einige Charaktere, und vermutlich werden es im nächsten noch ein paar mehr.
Die Pandoras fand ich eigentlich recht interessant, aber auch ziemlich verrückt. Und Tellas Pandora Madox ist natürlich das Besondere, das irgendwie anders als alle anderen ist. Und das muss nicht immer gut sein, denn Tella kommt erstmal nicht so gut mit Madox klar.

Es gibt Plottwists, die man vorausahnt, manche von ihnen sind trotzdem gut. Und es gibt Plotwists, die total unerwartet kommen, aber wenn man darüber nachdenkt, gab es Hinweise. Dieses Buch hatte von beiden Arten gute. Das steigert doch die Spannung ^^
Obwohl dieser Wettstreit recht actionreich ist, fand ich den Rest aber nicht außerordentlich spannend.
Das Motiv des Brimstone Bleed fand ich bisher etwas flach, ich hoffe, das wird noch ausgebaut.

Insgesamt hat mir "Feuer & Flut" gut gefallen, ich mochte die Protagonistin und die Idee der Handlung, aber es war mir nicht spannend genug.
Profile Image for Alicia Batista (Addicted Readers).
256 reviews507 followers
January 2, 2015

4.5 Stars

Oh, where do I even begin? FIRE & FLOOD amazed me!! Seriously, I was not expecting FIRE & FLOOD to be as amazing as it was! It is definitely a "MUST READ OF 2014!"

I have to admit, the beginning drove me insane! The main character Tella, was SO annoying, whinny and the most childish Main Character that I have read, maybe even ever! BUT, as the book progressed and Tella actually found out that there was a way to save her brother, she changed. She became determined, stronger, motivated, and SO much less annoying! She became a fighter! It's like she became a totally different person all together. Granted she still had her occasional sixteen year old moments, but she knew what needed to be done, and she knew whining about them was not going to take her over the finish line. And she even started cracking me up about half through the book! I was laughing pretty much every other paragraph! I mean she was saying the most stupidest/funniest things, and I'm thinking "When the hell did Tella become a comedian because this girl is seriously cracking me up?" But I also came to see why it was important for Tella to be the way she was in the beginning. What fun would it of been if we had this baddass, tough chick from the beginning? Well yeah, that might of been great. But I think it was important to see Tella as she was; a normal sixteen year old girl, whining about hair and nail polish. Then to watch her as she was willing to throw it all away to save her brother, and grow into a strong, determined young adult, who will endure anything to save the one she loves! Tella really became an amazing character by the end of the book. And I came to appreciate her in the beginning because of who she became at the end! Does that make since?


What would you do to save the one you love? Would you go to any limit for a chance of bringing the one you love back to good health? Would you battle the most brutal environments just to compete for a slim chance to get a cure for the one you love? Would you be willing to kill someone if need be, in-order to survive and bring home the cure?

Well that's exactly what Tella and every other contender in The Brimstone Bleed is prepared to do in-order to save the one they love!

Tella, a Sixteen year old girl is determined to find a way to save her brother from the disease eating away at his body. And the only chance she has is competing in a vicious race against a hundred or so more contenders, all there for the same thing, The CURE!

Every contender is given the opportunity to save a love one. They've been invited into the Brimstone Bleed, where contenders will race through 4 ecosystems: Jungle, Desert, Mountains, and Sea. They will be forced to endure the harsh environments with very limited resources. But luckily, every contender enters the race with a Pandora egg, which will later hatch and in essence become their only life line in the race! Their Pandora animal is special, not like regular animals, and they will have to rely on their Pandora's if their going to have any chance of winning this race or even surviving period!

The race is on, and their can only be ONE winner out of so many! But after each ecosystem is completed, the winner of that particular ecosystem will be granted a small prize and given the opportunity to return home if they wish. But there is ONLY one winner that will win the complete cure to save one single person, and everyone is there to save someone they love, and most are willing to do just about ANY thing to win the race and get the Cure!

Tella will face many obstacles and hardships along the way. But she teams up with a group of other contenders all agreed to travel together until the final leg of the race, then it will be every man for themselves. But Tella can't help to feel close to her group and want to help them, not make it harder for them, for the ecosystems does that enough. But there is one particular boy that looks at her as she is different. He is distant, and rough around the edges, but something about this boy is pulling her closer and closer to him. But what will happen when the time comes to battle her friends for the cure? Will she be able to do what needs to be done when the time comes for every man to stand on there own?

FIRE & FLOOD is a book that is NOT to be missed! It satisfies all cravings for, action, adventure, blood-shed, survival, betrayal, love, and of course romance!

Victoria Scott, PLEASE bring on the next one, because I will be holding my breath until then!!!
589 reviews1,029 followers
June 5, 2014
See more reviews at YA Midnight Reads

1.5 stars

After the endless praise and fangirling for the Dante Walker series, I was hoping Fire & Flood would deliver correspondingly. Instead, I got a cheap version of The Hunger Games with a dash of Pokemon.

No second thoughts aside, Fire & Flood was lacking originality. We got a pin, an Effie-replica, a rush to the Cornucopia (but this time for eggs). The main character's motive to enter the game was to save her sibling, the competitors were thrown into an unknown environment and there will be only one winner. There's even this:
"I'd like to officially welcome you to the Brimstone Bleed. May the bravest Contender win."

However it wasn't just the glaringly alike symbols and characters that put me off. The biggest party-pooper was the main character. To put it candidly, Tella is vain and every other synonym for stupid. When she finds a mysterious device that gives her instructions, she listens to it. She doesn't care about if it's just a prank or could lead her to danger, she listens to it because it just seems right--even though her parents tried to burn the device. Then she leaves her home without informing her parents. Well, aren't you just the most considerate and brightest kid! Then, in the race, she frets about her appearance and not taking makeup with her. GIRL. YOU NEED FOOD AND SHELTER. NOT MAKEUP. *rips face apart in frustration*
The last girl I see, I want to strangle. [...] I can't see her eyes from here, but I'm sure they're some kind of stunning shade of blue. She has cream-colored skin and a body that belongs in a magazine--the kind for guys, not girls. I hate her with everything I have as she laughs her perfect laugh and tosses her perfect hair and crosses her to-die-for legs. [...] We could be friends, I realise, if I weren't so overwhelmed with the urge to end her.

*rips out organs* That quote speaks for itself.

I can't even talk about the romance. It was disastrous and pointless and ridiculous on so many levels. There wasn't instant love, but the love interest was so unappealing, like the main character. Was Fire & Flood written by the same author as Dante Walker? Because I'm struggling to believe it.

I can say nothing positive about the world building. What is there to say where there was barely much of it? We got a few basic facts, but I wanted to know more. More, in order to understand Tella's world and actually become engrossed into the book. Instead, I was standing on the sidelines, only seeing half of what could have been an amazing and unique world.

The only thing that made Fire & Flood bearable were the Pandoras. I found them to be rather interesting and a lot of fun to learn about. Putting it simply, they are animal companions that hatch out of the eggs and have special abilities, they help the competitors during the competition and each and every one of them are unique.

To sum up, Fire & Flood was a huge disappointment. Originality is one thing, but unlikable and weakly developed characters just were enough.

~Thank you Scholastic Australia for sending me this copy!~

Profile Image for Kat Kennedy.
475 reviews16.3k followers
March 8, 2014
Someone much crueller than me would describe this book as a Survivor Reality show meets YA. Giant race, one winner, only instead of a cash prize and not-so-eternal glory, the winner of the Brimstone Bleed gets a cure to save their dying relative. That’s the situation every contestant, including Tella our protagonist, is in.

With only their Pandoras to rely on, each contender has to run the game with no rules and make it to the finish line first to claim a prize. Fire & Flood covers the first two locations, half of the race, and follows Tella as she tries to survive the harsh conditions to save her brother. Clearly my first thought was to seriously consider whether I would do such a race for either of my brothers.

haha no

Should have let me play with your lego, asshole!

Honestly, I’m joking. Pretty sure I’d do this at least once for each of my brosephs, but maybe that’s because I think I could probably survive this whole experience a bit better than Tella who has exactly no survival skills. Tella, I love you, but you roll a leech off. Don’t pull it! Basically, the only thing stopping me from winning this race would be my appalling sense of direction.

Scott had completely won me over with The Collector, so I was pretty excited to read this. It is a massive departure in style, story and thematically which is brave of Scott as a writer to embrace. I have a lot of respect for authors who can branch out and try new things. This book mostly worked for me. I didn’t absolutely love it, but I quite liked it.

The positives are what Scott brought to the table in terms of characterisation. The book is very character driven when not drowning you in suspense and walking. The survivalist aspects of the novel are a major selling point if you’re into that sort of thing. But I would have liked to have seen more development in the romance. What did Guy like about Tella? What made them click other than throbbing hormones and the safety net he provides her? I couldn’t say. Not that I didn’t like Guy but that their relationship made little sense to me.

The Pandoras are a great addition to the novel, providing much of the moral quandary and entertainment for the reader. Scott has pulled all out to build up not just the cast, but their Pokemon sidekicks too, in order to enrich the novel. Downside is that the story just didn’t make much sense. The eventual explanation for the race was something of an anticlimax, leaving me scratching my head and wondering how this event has stayed so incognito. There’s a lot of questions and not nearly enough answers.

All up it was an enjoyable novel and I look forward to the sequel. Even if I could beat this book in a race.

man vs wild
Profile Image for Hailey (Hailey in Bookland).
614 reviews87.8k followers
January 19, 2015
4.5 or 5 i can't decide

I think the only thing I didn't enjoy about this book was when the animals were in pain. I can't handle that shit.
Other than that, I loved it. I loved the quirkiness and just the whole overall concept.
Profile Image for Whitley Birks.
294 reviews355 followers
December 12, 2014



This wasn't even the worst book I've gone through on my blog, but that just contributed to its utter boredom. There wasn't even (much) for me to rag on. It was just bland event after bland event, all of it poorly described, with no context, no detail, and no consequences. Tella gets a rash, then forgets about. Tella gets chased by monkeys, then after they're gone never mentions them again. Tella gets an illogical ever-bleeding wound that she rubs germs into, and then it's completely forgotten. Tella jumps in a river, almost drowns, and sprains her ankle, but after she runs on it for a while she's perfectly fine and it's never mentioned again. Horrific, brain-breaking stereotypes appear to try and kill everyone for completely unexplained reasons, and then they vanish and no one talks about them again.

That's it. That's the whole book. Things that could be interesting, described in an absolute minimum of detail and never having any result at all. The whole thing is just a series of vague actions that add up to fuck-all nothing because they don't even add.
Profile Image for Ash Wednesday.
441 reviews525 followers
January 29, 2014
There's a part of me that doesn't like her considering us tools in this race. I just want… for these people to be my friends.

Take that as fair warning should you decide to pick this one up. Also:

Do NOT expect The Hunger Games' depth.

Do NOT look for Dante Walker's charming snark.

Do NOT expect to like the heroine. Only a few will get this analogy but she's Miaka from Fushigi Yuugi with a cuddly Pokemon shoved to survive a Lord of the Flies/The Amazing Race hybrid of a predicament in order to win a cure for her sickly older brother Cody.

Her name is Tella Holloway. She now lives in Montana with her parents, transplanted from Boston because her brother is sick. Like going to die eventually sick. She receives a listening device that tells her she has been selected to be a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed, a race where the ultimate prize is the ultimate cure for her brother's ultimately unnamed ailment. Which of course she joins because A) that's what you do when these strange circumstances happen to you and B) she's bored as hell in Montana.

Oh alright, she also cares for her brother and wants him to live long and prosper. Plus mom gave her a lucky feather to wear which would be totally bizarre outside the context of a strange mysterious race.

Anyway, contingent to joining this race is that she has to choose a Pandora to accompany and help her. At the beginning of the story the participants come into a house with eggs that eventually hatch into curious creatures with special abilities meant to protect and help them make it through the dire conditions of the contest. The Brimstone Bleed will last for three months where they are directed to find the base camp in each of four ecosystems: jungle, desert, mountains and sea with each leg yielding a winner, earning them a minor prize and a choice. As with how most of this stories go, other Contenders and their own Pandoras get incorporated in Tella's quest: a gorgeous amazonian blonde (Harper), redhead twin boys (Levi and Ransom), an unlikely pair of a middle aged woman (Caroline) and a young boy (Dink), the cruel sinister boy (Titus) and the ruthlessly methodical young man who seem to know more about the race than he lets on (Guy).

The thing is, Fire & Flood had an interesting story to tell. I like that it isn't entirely a rehash of what THG set out to accomplish and had some original ideas in the Pandoras and okay, an unlikely heroine. I like the imagination and personality behind the creatures the most and I do appreciate the effort to give the readers something different, despite the feeling that their sole purpose was to manipulate me into liking Tella by proximity.

It took me a bit of time trying to figure out what Victoria Scott is trying to cut across writing her lead character like Tella. There was very shallow character build up in the beginning for this heroine. It feels like carrying out a personal conversation with a complete stranger who talk as if you're BFFs right off the bat. Which of course rubbed me the wrong way because you know, introduce yourself first, FFS. That's what rational people are inclined to do after all.

So I get dragged into this "adventure" with a virtual stranger who gradually starts to grate on my nerves with her observations, her godawful singing meant to be interpreted as cute (I HATE any form of singing when its done out of context. The only context acceptable being: drunk in a karaoke bar or forced at gun-point.) then it clicks: she's a shoujo anime heroine! The ditzy, clueless, goofy and hokey type trying to survive while away from her usual comforts but is going to kick everyone's ass down the line. One can hope.
The only thing I can think while I'm swallowing a hunk of snake is that I am the type of person to have three glittery feather boas draped over my dresser mirror at home: purple, pink and red. And now I am eating a snake.

So I could get down with that. I mean I survived (half of) Sailormoon and Fushigi Yuugi (the entirety WITH OAVs) this will be great.

Then she jumped into that swamp-river to save a drowning woman (without good cause, probably screaming "Too kawaii to live, too sugoi to die!" while doing it) who got saved by an eight year old boy instead… leaving Tella as the new other victim the rest of the group has to save.

I'm fine with ditzy so long as there's some counterpoint to the ditzy in the heroine's character. Unfortunately this had barely there counterpoint. More than the humor that fell this side of flat, Tella's more of a spectator than a doer. Or if she does anything its towards the ends of being the victim to be saved instead and make allowances for by everyone around her. She WATCHES. Not in the voyeuristic sense but in the I'm-an-innocent-bystander-in-a-chaotic-hotel-lobby sense. Someone in the group starts to vomit? She CALLS someone to attend to the person. She wakes up realizing she's sleeping on a bed while the rest are sleeping on the floor? She goes back to sleep. And so on and so forth. But when she decides to meddle its out of impulse with catastrophic consequences.

It's like an infinite well of effort NOT to redeem her.

Such that in the second half of the book when some effort was exerted to present her in a more favorable light, the aftertaste of her earlier behavior just refuses to wash out. There was no adorbs, her antics just sends my eyes to roll seismically particularly with the introduction of that WTF romantic angle. I suppose having someone muscled and tattooed in the story, it was bound to happen.

Guy as a hero was all about the knuckle cracking, cliche dishing and intense gazing. Beyond that… well he has a so he has that working out for him. So yeah, I guess yay, Guy-Tella! (I have a sudden hankering for Nutella.)

I do have an issue with Guy keeping his secret for the majority of the book. Because WHY? There was no burden really on him to keep that from everyone else. Or if there is I don't get it. I also spent the great majority of this book nitpicking the details of the Brimstone Bleed: because overanalyzing me is having an issue with a Contender racing to save someone dying of Alcoholic Liver Cirrhosis versus someone racing to save a child born with unresectable Rhabdomyosarcoma. Fortunately it was explained, though rather insubstantially with lots of logic and motivational holes. Unfortunately its at the very end.

I did like some of the reveals towards the end, though the entire scene in the last sequence came across shoddy and rather messy. People were turning up out of nowhere, damning temporal continuity and circumstance. Jaxon and Olivia's introduction late in the story made them out as token additions. Emotional manipulation was on full blast with the last instruction in the race. Something I can forgive as .

I am reluctant to continue with this series because on the one hand the ending holds some promise to expanding the intriguing premise of the Brimstone Bleed, maybe some potential to create better complexity in the race itself.

On the other, there's Tella.
I'm just a girl who loves purple and Greek food and mani-pedis and singing out of tune. A girl who would give almost anything to be away from here and magically back in Boston, hanging out with her best friend, Hannah. I'm just a girl who thought she could save her brother.

Also on BookLikes.

ARC provided by Scholastic Press thru Netgalley in exchange for an honest unbiased review. Quotes may not appear on the final edition.
Profile Image for Joelle (Throne of books) .
193 reviews67 followers
December 7, 2015
*Read March 2014*
The Hunger Games meets Pokémon in this addictive new series about a race against jungle and desert!
Tella Holloway's brother is sick. When the doctors can't determine what's wrong, Tella's family moves to Montana for a change of scenery and fresh they hope will help her brother. One day Tella receives a mysterious box with an earpiece giving her instructions to become a contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It's an epic race against Jungle and desert, that will help her win the cure she needs to help her brother. The only problem is, all the contenders are after the cure.
Everyone buckle up and get ready for the intense roller coaster ride that is this first installment in a new series!
I must say I was genuinely surprised by how much this blew my mind. It's Very similar to The Hunger Games with a Pokemon twist to it. The "Pandoras" are the companions that follow the contenders along on their race for the cure and I was stunned to find out that they are unique in that they have abilities. Such as Fire breathing, and invisibility.
The main character, Tella, is perhaps the most relatable character I've ever read about. Can't run off into a race without our glittery nail polish! She's smart, funny, and most importantly, Human. So many other authors tries to make their main characters seem invincible with super bad-ass skills but Victoria Scott has written a character who is like us, a simple teenage girl who tries her best and gives it her all rather than be someone who is an unbelievably skilled badass right off the first page. The character development was SO beautifully executed, I really felt a connection between the main character and me, I loved Guy (the love interest) who started off being borderline rude but as you read on you learn that's a just a front he puts up. The Pandoras were also very importantly a huge part of the story. The world building went along smoothly, it was so well described I could vividly picture everything in my head, it was crystal clear.
Also Titus was very well hated. HARPER MY LOVE. MY HEART GOES OUT TO HER. ILY HARPER. Okay I'll stop talking about all the characters now or I'll never stop.
Full of heart warming moments, heartbreaking moments and twists and turns you never saw coming! Fire & Flood is an instant new favorite and I can not recommend it enough, I HIGHLY suggest you go and buy this book right now. And yes, I'm being bossy. Do I care? NO! This book was too good to be ignored by you! GO. BUY. THIS. BOOK.
Profile Image for Regan.
457 reviews110k followers
June 9, 2023

Solid story, super action packed and engaging from page one. I am really excited for the next one :D
Profile Image for Grüffeline.
1,111 reviews103 followers
October 27, 2017
4,5 Sterne!
Es hat nicht lange gedauert, bis mich dieses Buch begeistert hat und ich mochte es auch eigentlich gar nicht mehr aus der Hand legen. Die Geschichte ist fesselnd, es ist toll erzählt und die Charaktere sind auch eine super Mischung. Ich musste persönlich beim Lesen oft an die Tribute von Panem denken, wer diese Bücher also mochte, dem wird auch dieses gefallen.
Die Hauptfigur ist allerdings gelegentlich ein wenig seltsam und meines Erachtens nach ein wenig widersprüchlich, aber wirklich gestört hat es mich nicht. Andererseits zeigt Tella (was bitte ist das denn für ein Name, ich dachte erst, es sei ein Kürzel für irgendwas, aber anscheinend ist das tatsächlich ihr Name) eindrucksvoll, was Menschen alles tun für diejenigen, die sie lieben. Und sie macht innerhalb des ersten Bandes eine unheimliche Entwicklung durch.
Aber seien wir ehrlich: das Beste an diesem Buch war Madox. Er ist einfach nur toll und am liebsten würde ich ihn aus den Seiten herausholen.
Die (heimlichen) Stars dieses Buches sind eindeutig die Pandoras in ihren vielen Facetten.
Auf jeden Fall spreche ich hier eine ganz klare Leseempfehlung aus und bin schon gespannt, was der zweite Band für uns bereithält.
Profile Image for AJ.
2,935 reviews958 followers
February 2, 2014
Whoa, what a wild ride!

I have seen other reviewers say that this book is like a mix between The Hunger Games and The Amazing Race, and yeah, I can absolutely see that! The thrills and excitement are non stop as we follow a very special girl through an extraordinary journey.

16 year old Tella has been dragged out to the middle of Montana by her parents. Her older brother, Cody, is sick with a mysteriously degenerating disease, and they felt that the fresh air would be good for him. Now Tella is without her friends, without technology, being home schooled by her mother, and is watching her brother slowly die. She deals with the lack of a real life as best she can, but her situation is not awesome.

Everything changes when she discovers a mysterious blue box on her bed which contains an invitation for her to become a Contender in the ‘Brimstone Bleed’ - a three-month long race across jungle, desert, ocean and mountains – with the winner receiving a Cure for one person, for any illness. Tella loves her brother deeply, so she doesn’t even have to think twice when she decides to sneak away from her family and follow the bizarre instructions she receives in order to enter the race.

What follows is a thrilling, non-stop adventure as Tella is thrown into the race of her life. With only a ‘Pandora’ by her side (no, I’m not telling you what that is, you’ll just have to read and discover, because it’s all a little bit awesome), she is one of 120+ Contenders in the Brimstone Bleed – first stop – jungle.

Tella allies with a bunch of Contenders – a fantastic group of characters including children that will steal your heart, smartass teenage twins, a few smartass 20-somethings, and, a deeply mysterious, super-hot Bear Grylls-type character who brings a nice element of badassery and heart-pounding awesome to the story. All racing to save somebody that they love, their group must face the perils of their environment, as well as others racing for the same goal.

Going in, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this book. And whatever you do, don’t go in expecting another Hunger Games, yes there are elements that are similar, but this book is different in so many ways. Mainly – it’s not dystopian. It’s set in the modern day, in the real world, nobody has superpowers, and the Brimstone Bleed isn’t something that everybody knows about. It seems to be a secret, and that’s all part of the mystery – where are they, why are they racing, who organised it, why do they have a cure, and why are there so many people sick in the first place?

I was hooked from the very first page. I instantly loved Tella! She is a normal girl who loves her brother fiercely, and her bravery and determination to help him is incredible. She also has a sensational sense of humour, and I laughed out loud so many times while reading! Even while she’s in the “epicentre of hell”, she remains true to herself, she doesn’t fall apart, and her monologue is just brilliant.

For some reason, the only thing I can think while I’m swallowing a hunk of snake is that I am the type of person to have three glittery feather boas draped over my dresser mirror at home, purple, pink, and red. And now I am eating snake.

With all of the intensity going on around her, this was a very welcome part of the storyline. Tella’s monologue is like a breath of fresh air, and even though she is stressed out, facing death and danger, she is still a bit of a smartass, and I love it!

For a moment, I imagine winning the Cure for Cody. On one hand, after he’s better, I could be all quiet-hero and never mention how difficult the race was. People will talk behind my back and say, She’s so brave. She never even brings it up, but we know how it must have been terrible. That Tella, she’s amazing.
On the other hand, I could go for martyr-who-will-never-let-it-go. I could shove it in Cody’s face every chance I got. I’d be like,
Hey, Cody, enjoying that doughnut? You wouldn’t be if I hadn’t saved your ass.”

She’s a great narrator, and I felt fully involved in what was going on throughout the book. I felt like I was right in it with her, and this is also really cleverly done through the character dynamics. It all bring so much to the story – firstly through Tella’s love for her brother, then through her relationships with the others - particularly with Madox and Guy. Oh Guy *dreamy sigh*. I love the way the relationship between them develops from their very first meeting. He is dangerous and intriguing, and I really like how his character is slowly revealed along their journey. The encounters between them have that ‘zing’ that I crave between book characters, and I loved every little moment.

This book is action-packed! There’s hardly a quiet moment, and when there is, it’s packed with humour, drama, and yes, even a bit of romance (woohoo!), and I was enthralled. We do get some questions answered, and I will admit I was a little squinty eyed during the explanations (really?), but there is still a lot to learn, so I withhold my final judgement until all is revealed. I’m really happy with the way the story progressed (the good and the bad), and while I wouldn’t call the ending a cliffhanger, the story is definitely left wide open, and I will be waiting with great anticipation for what is sure to be a thrilling conclusion.

Bravo Victoria Scott for being brave enough to bring us such big story! I loved it – 4 stars.
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