Saturday, 11 January 2014

Review: Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott

Victoria Scott's new novel Fire & Flood comes in hot on the trail of the teen/dystopian fiction books that emerged in the wake of The Hunger Games. Contenders volunteer to enter a deadly race where only one person can win a cure for any one person's ailmentany ailment. It is a bloody race for the ultimate prize, driven by the lengths that humans will go to out of desperation and determination.

This book was so much better than I expected it was incredible! It is so well-written and exciting that it doesn't need my Hunger Games hangover to be a great read. This isn't a knockoff and it's definitely a YA must-read for spring 2014.

That's not to say fans of Suzanne Collins won't be a little bitter. There ARE several similarities, but that's what sells in this market. Everyone is looking to write the next Hunger Games, Twilight, or Harry Potter.

Fire and Flood
Game: Race
The Arena: Cut-throat Contenders, alliances, finding means of survival in each arena
The enemy: The government
Dangerous competition: The Triggers
The Hunger Games
Game: Fight to the death
Hero's Participation : I VOLUNTEER TO SAVE MY SISTER!
The Arena: Cut-throat Tributes, alliances, finding means of survival in whatever arena is chosen by the Game Makers
The enemy: The government
Dangerous competition: The Careers

One of the main differences is that each Contender is provided with a genetically engineered animal to assist them called a Pandora. Tella's Pandora is Maddox; an adorable black fox with superior powers. He, like Tella, is braver, stronger, and is clearly more than what he appears to be. So to sum up, F&F is like a cross of Pokemon and The Hunger Games. 

As a protagonist, Tella was difficult for me to like. Scott plays up the love interest aspect a bit too much and it makes Tella seem immature and silly. Tella spends too much time wishing/whining that Guy would share all of his deep dark secrets. What? You haven't shared everything with him and Sweetie, you JUST met him. It's okay that he's not spilling his soul to you. Please pull it together and remember why you're here. Then again, the writing is so good that it's difficult to stay irritated when Scott writes love and passion so well.

"He could make me hot in the ninth circle of hell." Damn. 

While Tella isn't a warrior or in possession of any extra talent, she is a girl who made a very brave choice to save her brother. She gets as far as she does because of her Pandora and with the help of her allies. I respect the strength she has and her ability to recognize that it's okay to accept help; that you don't have to risk your life to go it alone. 

Just when you think the book is good, the ending will leave you breathless. You'll be turning the pages as fast as the blood-thirsty desperation of the other Contenders emerges. There's plenty more drama, suspense, betrayal, danger, and blood to be spilled even after this pulse-pounding conclusion. 

I'm really looking forward to reading the second book. Do NOT write this book off because of its similarities to The Hunger Games. It's a thrilling novel of heart-stopping proportions in its own right. Go and reserve your copy! 4 stars.

Fire & Flood will be published March 1, 2014.

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