ARC Review: Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott

February 16, 2014 Review 50 ★★★

ARC Review: Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott
Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Source: Netgalley
Pages: 320
Release Date: February 25th, 2014
Series: Fire & Flood #1
Genres: Action & Adventure, Dystopia, Science Fiction, Young Adult
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 received this book for free from the source listed above in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


I don’t remember ever feeling quite so conflicted about a book like I am with FIRE & FLOOD. The thing is, the bones of this book are absolutely fantastic: the plot has great potential and the animal companion concept is really fresh and unique. However, the skin and muscle of the book are not so great. The heroine is vain and at times frustrating, and some people will be put off by the clear Hunger Games resemblance.

What I liked:

-Pretty good pacing and action. I never felt bored and found myself coming back the story easily, wanting to see what would happen next.

-Pandoras. Each contender has to pick an egg at the beginning of the competition, the egg will hatch into a modified animal that will help them throughout the race. These were so cool. They all had particular abilities and their own personalities. Probably my favorite part of the book.

-Secondary Characters. Good supporting characters have always been a huge thing of mine, it makes a book have much more depth and this was no exception. Every character had a backstory and some of them even had a twist.

-Romance. It was cute, it was sweet, it didn’t overtake the rest of the book. However, Tella turned this too into a vanity thing on multiple occasions. I loved the tension between them.

I kinda just wanted an excuse to use this super cute gif.

What I  didn’t like:

-Vain protagonist. Tella got on my nerves so much. She could often be thinking of how she could make herself look better in the competition, or wishing she was getting a massage or that her bag of survival necessities was also filled with lipstick. In a dystopia where you are constantly fighting for your life, one should have other priorities. Another thing-very few times are these priorities she entered the race for in the first place: to save her brother’s life. But of course lipstick is more important.


“I think about what to pack: clothes, food, water, the device…maybe some nail polish. Just because I’m entering a race doesn’t mean I don’t want to look magically delicious.”


“My heart stops. The guy looking down at me is very tall, or maybe he just seems so because I’m still on the ground.”

“I’m not cut out for this, I realize. I should be in my lavender-painted room, giving myself a milk and avocado facial, wrestling my hair into a messy but fashionable updo.”


“She’s my kind of girl-a fashion guru, if you will-and I feel underdressed and underkempt in comparison. I wonder where she found her shoes.”

“I pray that the orange pack I’m wearing holds Chanel makeup. And a brush. And a mirror.”

Okay, I’ve had my fun.

-Shoddy world building. The sad part is this could have been fleshed out to where it may have been an incredibly interesting dystopian, but almost no world building existed at all. What we do find out is information given to us at the very end of the novel. Basically, all these people are thrown into the competition and we have no idea why.

“And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?”

Wow, that is a good question, synopsis. Too bad the book neither asked or addressed that question. I would have loved to have the answer to that.

Anyway. FIRE & FLOOD will grate on some reader’s nerves, but is still a pretty entertaining novel. Although it sounds like I hated it, the opposite is true: I actually really liked it. Maybe I just got used to Tella’s narcissistic unique personality, but I would say to give this one a chance. I will be reading the sequel.

*This is an advance reader copy and quotes are to be checked against the finalized version.

Rating Report
Overall: 3.3

50 Responses to “ARC Review: Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott”

  1. Cait

    Okay, I have to admit, I’m no longer really keen on this. >_< I SO loved everything about it until the reviews started coming in, and noooow? Well, I'm a HUGE Hunger Games fan. Like, totally dedicated. And I'm so. damn. sick of take-offs! I mean, the Hunger Games did that plot already…what about something different? I've been way too flooded with bad take-offs, so even if this is a good one, I think I'm going to hold off for a while. Still, your reviews was so awesome! I LOVE THOSE GIFs.
    Cait recently posted…Stacking the Shelves #13

    • Alise

      Yeah, I know what you mean. Strangely, I actually still really enjoyed it so *shrug* You might be mad at it, though, haha. Thanks :D

  2. Faye @ The Social Potato

    Ehhh, this soudns like a pretty annoying read. So far, the majority of the reviews have been lukewarm to negative, mostly complaining of the heroine as well. Even if she was made to “embrace her feminity” it’s really a different story when your life and everything else is on the line. I’m not sure I want to read this one, considering all the feedback I’ve read. I fear I’m not going to be liking it anymore than you guys do :/

    Great review as usual!
    Faye @ The Social Potato recently posted…ARC Review: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

    • Alise

      Exactly! Plus, it was just way over the top anyway. What girl thinks like that even in a non-death situation anyway?

      Thanks :)

  3. Tanja

    “My heart stops. The guy looking down at me is very tall, or maybe he just seems so because I’m still on the ground.” Are you for real? And that quote with nail polish. Gosh she does sound annoying. I do like the whole idea of the book but I think that MC would ruin the experience for me too. Great review :)
    Tanja recently posted…ARC Review: Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen

    • Alise

      Yeahhh, unfortunately, haha. She was annoying, I mean, you never saw Katniss complaining about her hair or makeup when she was in the games. Thanks!

  4. Angel (Spare Reads)

    That animal companion concept sounds awfully like The Golden Compass… So put that aside, I’m not sure if I see much originality from this book anymore. I can already tell for sure I will not be able to tolerate Tella. From what you said here, she is not just vein, she is borderline stupid and extremely immature. I think I will save myself from this one. Nice review, Alise!
    Angel (Spare Reads) recently posted…Blog Tour Review + Giveaway: Butterman (Time) Travel, Inc. (Butterman (Time) Travel, Inc., #1)

    • Alise

      It’s a little bit different but yeah, same concept I suppose. It’s more like Pokemon almost. Yeah, there’s a point where you need to stop because she’s not just feminine or fun, her lines are so frustrating. Thank you!

    • Alise

      Yeah, there are definitely some redeeming qualities :) I would love to read what you think of it if you ever do check it out!

  5. aly @ My Heart Hearts Books

    I feel like I gave Tella a pass because I kind of understood where she was coming from. If she had a choice she wouldn’t be in the Brimstone Bleed, she’s there to try to save her brother’s life. It’s not what she wasn’t to be. I got that, but I can understand why you would get annoyed with her. She does a lot of complaining.

    Overall, I was pretty please with Fire & Flood. I liked how it stands on it’s own but I don’t understand the world that they’re in. I hope that the next books answers those questions.
    aly @ My Heart Hearts Books recently posted…Split Second (Review)

    • Alise

      I can definitely understand her not wanting to be in there because who would? I guess I didn’t like how she focused so much on her looks when she could have been focusing on saving her brother.

      Same. The world building has great potential so I hope that really gets fleshed out.

  6. Kayla @ The Thousand Lives

    Loving the breakdown of Tella’s vanity. That part grated on me SO MUCH! And those gifs were hilarious xD I wasn’t a huge fan of the romance, and the pacing was a bit lacking in the middle of the book, but the Pandoras were so cool! I’ll probably end up reading the second book, rolling my eyes the entire way through. Honestly, I loved Tella’s brother and really wished there was more of him in the book.
    Kayla @ The Thousand Lives recently posted…Weekly Update 14 (February 16)

    • Alise

      Haha, thanks :D The romance surprisingly didn’t bother me that much but it was kind of strange how he went from despising her to liking her. Ha, same! I hope the world building is talked about. Yeah, he was funny!

    • Alise

      Nope! Both of those were pretty frustrating. I mean, could you imagine if Katniss was constantly searching for ways to make herself look better? She would have be killed in an instant.

  7. Nara

    Ugh the protagonist sounds so annoying. I was really looking forward to this book, but now I’m not sure if I should get a copy because I don’t know if I can take a vain MC :/ Maybe I’ll just borrow it from the library haha
    On another note, that bunny gif is so cute! :3
    Nara recently posted…Reading Update (16/2/14)

    • Alise

      It’s still a good book, all things considered haha. Can’t go wrong with the library! Thanks! At first I was freaking out because I thought there was makeup on the brushes but then saw there wasn’t :)

  8. Kirsty-Marie

    Oh no. Oh no no no no. I love established secondary characters, but if the MC’s annoying to the point that I’d really want to kill her, nothing can save me from it. I’m not too strict on world building, as long as there’s the basics. Which this sounds like it does not. “Another thing-very few times are these priorities she entered the race for in the first place: to save her brother’s life. But of course lipstick is more important.” HA. Priorities are so last year. I’m dead. “My heart stops. The guy looking down at me is very tall, or maybe he just seems so because I’m still on the ground.” There goes my pre-order, buh-bye. The gifs though <3. Great review! :)
    Kirsty-Marie recently posted…Review: Perfect Lies

  9. Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms

    Ahahaha. That My Little Pony gif killed me. I was pretty excited for this one, not so much anymore. I’ve dealt with a lot of semi-tolerable main characters, I just really want one that I can love. Great review! I lost it at the quote: “I think about what to pack: clothes, food, water, the device…maybe some nail polish. Just because I’m entering a race doesn’t mean I don’t want to look magically delicious.” She seems ridiculous.
    Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms recently posted…Dear Book: WHY CAN’T I LOVE YOU?!

    • Alise

      Yeah, that was a gem stumbling upon ;)
      I know what you mean. Definitely frustrating. I feel like it would take a very unique reader to be able to tolerate her/think she is funny.

  10. Lesley Marie

    I was actually really excited when I heard that the protagonist was going to be a very feminine and girly one, but… It doesn’t seem like her girly-ness wasn’t written into the novel very well. I can understand her wanting to be back home where all her makeup and clothes are, but like you said, she needs to have her priorities.

    I’m not sure that I will be picking up this book, though I am intrigued by the Pandoras. Perhaps when I’m at the bookstore and have an extra twenty-dollar bill I will buy it. I have a weird thing where I have to spend ALL of money when I start spending it :P
    Lesley Marie recently posted…Dating Pigeons On Valentine’s Day

    • Alise

      There’s a line between girly and ridiculous for sure. If it were like “Man, I would kill for a warm bath right now,” I would TOTALLY get it. But no, it’s ““I’m not cut out for this, I realize. I should be in my lavender-painted room, giving myself a milk and avocado facial, wrestling my hair into a messy but fashionable updo.” Sigh.

      Yeah, they were pretty cool! Haha really? I would love to hear the story behind that :)

  11. Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf

    While I personally loved this one, I can definitely see where you’re coming from. Tella is a tad vain. However, I’m really glad you enjoyed the romance, the secondary characters, and the story overall! Plus…PANDORAS! Yes! ;)

    As always, brilliant review Alise! \
    Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf recently posted…Cress

    • Alise

      Thank you!
      I really want to see if she is toned down in the second book because this series has crazy potential to be a favorite of mine!

    • Alise

      Aha, thanks! Same, and I don’t mean to stereotype but I feel like not a whole lot of girls who read are fashion obsessed to relate.

  12. brandileigh2003

    I love the pandoras too, they made the book over the top for me, but def see how she could come off as vain. I thought it was neat she kept the feminity even while fighting for life, I know I would be worried about my hair no matter because there are still moments where you have to think of something normal or would go crazy I think
    brandileigh2003 recently posted…Review: Me Since You by Laura Wiess

    • Alise

      Yeah, they really made the book for me too! True, very true. You have to have something to hold onto in a situation like that.

    • Alise

      Yay! Glad it could entertain you :) Exactly! I really hope the next book kind of brings in Tella’s vanity and focuses on the world building. It’s definitely similar to Pokemon, except there is no “gotta catch ’em all” concept xD

  13. Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic

    Oh I so get why you wanted to slap this character. I think the author wanted to set her apart from other main characters but I don’t think it works when it is irritating. And it seems out of place somehow. I would have been conflicted too.

    • Alise

      Exactly! I can not stress what you said enough, it’s just so out of place for the situation the character is in. If this were a contemporary, I might actual love Tella’s uniqueness.

    • Alise

      The answer is that it doesn’t LOL. So many unanswered world building questions, which really hurts the book because it is a dystopia. Thank you :)

  14. Amir

    Okay…so our protagonist is living in a bleak dystopian world and joined a race to save her brother but is so preoccupied with fashion, makeup and facials?! I know you ended up enjoying this book but with such a vain protagonist I don’t really know of I can. She sounded shallow and ditzy! :-/
    Amir recently posted…Review: Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

    • Alise

      Pretty much sums it up. Perfectly.
      I guess I can’t really call her shallow because she does have good intentions but then again, the focus on her appearance… yeah, I’m just conflicted about her overall.

  15. Deyse

    Oh, I’m so glad you did a review on this one! I just got an egalley of this book and reading the reviews on GR I was kind of uncertain on if I would like this one, now I already know how my hopes should be and I hope this makes me enjoy it more. Great gifs hahah :)
    Deyse recently posted…Gift, by Andrea J. Buchanan

    • Alise

      Thank you :)
      Yeah, that’s why I love reading reviews too! I hope you end up liking this one, I can’t wait to read your thoughts on it.

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