Fire and Flood by Victoria Scott | Book Review

Fire and Flood by Victoria Scott | Book Review

Fire and Flood by Victoria Scott | Book ReviewFire & Flood by Victoria Scott
Series: Fire & Flood #1
Published by Scholastic Press on February 25th 2014
Genres: Dystopian
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover

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?

What I thought NEW

I have been desperate to read Fire & Flood for what feels like ages, so when my pre-ordered copy finally landed in my mailbox there was a serious amount of ‘happy-dancing’ and ‘squealing’ involved. It actually arrived a few days early! *the Book Gods must have felt I was about to spontaneously combust if I didn’t get to read this book!* I threw everything else aside and took a plunge into the awesomeness that was Fire & Flood. Needless to say, it was every bit as awesome as I’d expected it to be!

If my hair gets any frizzier, I’ll shave it to the scalp.” Talk about a great sentence to open a book with! I took an instant liking to our main character: Tella. While maybe a bit self-conscious and spoiled at first, she develops a great deal throughout the story and all that really matters to her is to find a way to cure her dying brother.

“Now he’s down to this: pretending. Prentending to be the brother who swung a right hook in my honor. Pretending to be the son who danced a jig in the end zone that his dad taught him. He’s still the guy who isn’t afraid to write more than his name in a greeting card. Still the guy who loves redbrick buildings and cars that growl and Cheez Whiz sprayed straight from the can into his open mouth.
He is still my brother.
He is not my brother at all.”  

Tella intrigued me. She has a unique and entertaining voice that had me interested right away. She’s extrovert, spunky, and nothing short of determined and courageous. I loved how protective she was over her Pandora. It was very endearing how careful and protective -even when it seemed something was wrong with it- she was over the Pandora egg, how she sang to the egg and how she gave it the name Maddox even before it hatched. Other contenders would probably have given up on the egg, because it came across as defective, but I loved how Tella cared about the egg and loved it despite its deceiving -seemingly defect- appearance.

The secondary characters -as well as the awesome Pandoras- are just as intriguing as Tella. They are varied and diverse, and every single one of them packs a story, they all have their own reason to be where they are. Guy and Harper were my favourite secondary characters, though Jaxon defensively peeked my interest as well! I loved how the supporting characters and their Pandoras were expertly used to infuse moments of laughter and lightness into a story where the main character is trapped in a environment that poses a constant threat to her life.

Fire & Flood is a book full of action, a certain amount of humor that will have you giggling in no time, and a perfect amount of romance that will land you wit yet another favorite fictional crush! There’s laughter, giggling, swooning and blushing. Lone tears will be wiped from your cheeks and you’ll want to punch some people for their horrible choices and actions.

I am eagerly awaiting the sequel! I can’t wait to find out more about the Brimstone Bleed and it’s origin.

Also, I am now very much hoping for my own Pandora egg!

Fire and Flood by Victoria Scott | Book Review

Defy by Sara B. Larson | Book Review

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Defy by Sara B. Larson | Book ReviewDefy by Sara B. Larson
Series: Defy #1
Published by Scholastic Press on January 7th 2014
Genres: Fantasy & Magic
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley

A lush and gorgeously written debut, packed with action, intrigue, and heart-racing romance.

Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king's army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince's guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can't prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.

The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she's sworn to protect?

What I thought NEWThe premises of this book were awesome! I mean, it reminded me of Mulan. A story that I absolutely love and have loved since I was a little girl. That being said, I think that when I first heard about Defy it just had this big READ ME stamp all over it. The story seemed pretty original and it interested me right away. Thus I started reading.

For me the characters where one of the things that made this book. The characters were great, Alexa was badass and really easy to connect to. I adored her twin brother Marcel, and their banter. Rylan was this all time good guy that every girl would love to have as a boyfriend, and the Prince… Darn, my love for these kind of guys! (He turned out to be more than the bored and spoiled prince though! A bit cliché, I know).

However, about halfway through the story, about when they’d found out Alex was actually Alexa, her character lost her strength. I understand that what she’s going through is really hard, and that she must be really confused. But it just seemed as if she forgot that she was a fighter. At times that started resurfacing but most of the time Alexa’s character seemed to be not even half of the girl we met at the beginning of the book.

What I really liked less about this books is that about halfway in the book the main focus shifts and starts focussing more on Alexa’s feeling instead of the danger they were facing. I loved this book so much because in the beginning, you have the struggle of Alexa keeping her real identity a secret, there is an intriguing political aspect and there are lots of little (and big!) plot twists. But when the love triangle, that I didn’t even mind because Alexa makes her choice right away and sticks with it, came the focus on Alexa’s feelings. Which is fine… but it is as if the impending danger that keeps growing is less important than her mood swings. The rest of the plot isn’t overlooked or something, but it becomes less important and gets second place to Alexa’s feelings. I would’ve liked to see that different.

The world Sara B. Larson created was vivid. I loved the jungle setting, I haven’t read anything with this kind of setting in a while so it was refreshing. The writing was very descriptive, I remember the trip to the ‘breeding houses’ all to well *shudder*.

All and all I did like this book! The writing, the characters and setting are great, original and fresh. The plot was good. Though, in the end I do feel the need to say, that I very much preferred the first half of the book over the second half.