Author: Victoria Scott
Genre: YA Fantasy
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?
This book shares a lot of similarities with other YA dystopian books but it was different and creative enough to pull off original characters with some really entertaining and thrilling writing.
The characters, especially the main characters, are what pushes the plot along and I highly enjoyed reading about their antics. The main character Tella, especially, was quirky and had a great sense of humor even in the middle of the race. The only thing that bugged me about her in the beginning was that when she met another young teenage girl in the race who was blond and blue-eyed, she thought she would have to kill her. Obviously, she was joking but I'm getting sick of reading about girls hating other girls because they perceive them as more beautiful than themselves. Why does the reaction always have to be anger or hatred or any combination thereof? Anyway, besides that, I really did enjoy the Tella's sympathetic, caring personality--the struggle with the curly hair I could totally empathize with, and her courageousness was impressive even when she didn't know what the heck was going on.
I would call this a Hunger Games set in the modern world. I wouldn't actually call this a dystopian world even though the Brimstone Bleed did have similar characteristics to the Hunger Games. The setting was no different than present day in America but it's the creation of the "race" that lacks in development. In this first installment to the series there are only hints of the history behind the Brimstone Bleed. There is only enough to entice the reader to want to continue with the series in order to discover the full story. Overall, the similarities between Fire & Flood and The Hunger Games are substantial but I'm happy to say that I would highly recommend the former even if you've already read the latter. (Maybe just not immediately after you've read The Hunger Games though, otherwise it will probably cause you to create too many analogous comparisons.)