Author: Victoria Scott
Series: Book One in the Fire & Flood Series
Published By: Scholastic Books (February 25, 2014)
Source: ARC Copy Given To Me By A Friend
Genre: YA Dystopian
My Rating: 3 Stars
A modern day thrill ride, where a teen girl and her animal companion must participate in a breathtaking race to save her brother's life—and her own.
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 have to come right out and say this up front and first before I discuss anything else about this book because it needs to be said and quite frankly, I just know it will come up in other reviews, or at least, I suspect it will. This book has some similarities to the Hunger Games. They are there, they are very much real and yet, this is a totally different book so don't be turned off by others saying it is a copy cat of sorts, because it is and it isn't.
There, I said it, now on to the good side of this book and the writing.
This is a fun read, it really is, similarities and all. Tella is no Katniss, she isn't bad ass and strong and hardened, quite the opposite. She is somewhat a girly girl (okay and a little crazy, the way her mind works and wonders had me cracking a smile more than once throughout the story) and has had a very soft and pampered (read rich) life. She is kind and loving and has great compassion for those around her but she isn't a hunter and she certainly wasn't cut out to be in this crazy game the author created. In fact the only thing she has going for her is love. The love she has for her brother and the sheer determination and will to win.
Those are the qualities that make her kick butt. So yeah, she isn't Katniss, not at all.
And Guy is no Peeta, not even a Gail, well, maybe a little Gail. He is a fighter and he is roughened and all hard edges and badness but he isn't ...well I'm not going to say anymore about what he isn't. He is however, smart and wise and he too, is compassionate and that combined makes him a fabulous Contender. He isn't a bad boy and he isn't a good boy, he just is. And that 'is” is pretty fabulous in the end. Maybe not swoon worthy but worthy enough.
This was a good start to a new series. Lots of questions still left unanswered and there is lots left to learn and discover but I will definitely be along for the ride. I am really hoping the world will be explained just a little more in the next installment but overall, nicely done.
*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*