I like big books and I cannot lie. When I'm not teaching English to the youth of America, I am reading a book. Why? Because books are amazeballs!
Tella Holloway is your typical teenage girl. She likes Greek food, mani-pedis, and fashion; however, her brother is dying, and she has a chance to save him but will it cost Tella her life?
Where do I begin? Was I hooked? Yes! Did I read this book in one day? Yes! It was like The Hunger Games had a baby with The Golden Compass. I couldn't put it down.
Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott starts off with Tella, originally from bustling Boston now transplanted in isolated Montana. She has no smartphone, no computer, no social networking, in fact, she doesn't even get to go to school anymore. Her older brother, Cody, has a life threatening illness for which there is no cure. When Tella finds a tiny earpiece that tells her she is a contender in the Brimstone Bleed, where the winner gets a cure for any illness, she jumps at the chance for adventure and to save her brother's life.
First of all, the voice of Tella is great. She has a funny, snarky side that separates her from other YA heroines. Other characters in the book are well-written and engaging. They don't seem stereotypical, and the reader is vested in their successes and failures. The plot moves quickly but Scott doesn't skimp on description and world building. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this first novel in the series is the Pandoras. Who doesn't want a superhero animal sidekick? The special powers of each Pandora are revealed throughout the novel and learning about them slowly is like opening a Christmas present.
Perhaps the only complaint would be the lack of characterization of Tella's family members. Her mother, especially, seems to play a larger role in the upcoming books and having more information about her at the beginning would have made this less of a leap when revealed at the end of the book.
Overall, this is a great book for readers interested in a science-fiction book with a fast moving plot and intense action. The romance between Tella and Guy is just enough to be rewarding but not overpowering. This isn't a story about romantic love but one of overcoming great obstacles to save a family member. What would you do to save the life of someone you love?
I received this ARC from NetGalley! Thanks, Scholastic!