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Fire & Flood Hardcover – February 25, 2014
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From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Tella's family has moved from Boston to Montana, hoping the wide-open spaces will help her older brother Cody fight the wasting illness that has plagued him for the past year. Tella receives a mysterious package with a tiny listening device, which tells her that she has been selected as a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed-a three-month, four-ecosystem race in which the winner is guaranteed a cure for any illness. After a stop at an old museum, there is a mad dash among the Contenders to select Pandoras-eggs of various sizes that will assist them in the race. The Pandoras prove invaluable here: there's a fire-breathing lion, a cheetah that shoots out twin beams of red light, and an elephant with the ability to tunnel through sand to find water. Tella learns that her newly-hatched Pandora, a small black fox she calls Maddox, has the ability to mirror the other Pandoras. She and the others are transported to a remote rainforest, where they'll have two weeks to complete the first leg of the race. When the race begins, Tella attempts to follow fellow contestant Guy, but after losing him, she struggles through the rainforest on her own before stumbling onto a small group: gorgeous Harper, motherly Caroline, little Dink, and twins Levi and Ransom. Although Tella is determined to win the cure for Cody, she is easily distracted by Guy's rippling muscles. His pattern of saving her from various demises—just in the nick of time—undermines the author's efforts to convince readers that Tella is a strong and independent protagonist. Characters are two-dimensional, and some, especially Titus and his rogue Triggers, are downright cartoonish. In this trilogy opener, the backstory for the Brimstone Bleed's origins stretches credulity. Perhaps the sequels will provide a more solid foundation and a less clichéd story arc, but if the first installment is any indication, take a pass on this series.—Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
City-kid Tella loves “purple, Greek food, and mani-pedis.” So what is she doing living in rural Montana with her parents and sick brother? What’s wrong with him, anyway? And what’s with the mysterious earbud-like device that shows up in her room one day? That earbud tells Tella that she has been chosen to compete in the Brimstone Bleed, a fierce survival contest that recalls both The Hunger Games (2008) and James Dashner’s Maze Runner series. The prize is the Cure—a remedy for any illness for one person and the key to saving her brother’s life. After beginning the competition on her own, she eventually joins a group of other contenders, including the tall, gruff, very buff Guy and a ruthless blond boy named Titus. As Tella grows closer to Guy, he reveals the sadistic reasons for the game and the secret behind the hybrid animal companions that accompany each contender. There are some derivative story elements, but Tella is an especially strong and likable character, which makes this gripping adventure all the more enjoyable. Grades 7-11. --Paula Willey
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Top Customer Reviews
The author invites readers into a world filled with deadly threats, unknown enemies and hidden agendas. She builds tension, nail-biting suspense and excitement in this action-packed adventure with a ticking clock, a mystery, uncertain and uneasy alliances and an environment that at times proves to be the biggest challenge of all.
When Tella Holloway is given the opportunity to save her brother, even if it means putting herself at risk, she leaps at the chance. Being isolated, in the wilderness that is her new home, and powerless to do anything but watch him get sicker, she is more than ready to throw caution to the wind and do whatever she can to help him get better.
Even if it means following the instructions of the recorded voice on a device her parents clearly didn’t want her to listen to. Even if it means running away from home in the dead of night to meet their deadline. Even if it means entering a competition where everyone is hoping to win the same prize.
Even if there can be only one winner.
FIRE & FLOOD invites readers to follow along as Tella enters the competition known as the Brimstone Bleed. A competition that pits Contenders against one another for the smallest chance to save someone they love. A race that challenges them to not only survive the threats from each other, but from the elements and natural predators in each ecosystem they are made to endure. A contest that forces them to put their trust in others who may not be the allies they appear to be.
A game that puts each participant’s willingness to do whatever it takes to the test again and again for a reason that is undisclosed. Put together by individuals who are unidentified. For a virtually unattainable prize whose effectiveness is unproven.
Danger, thrills, adventure, secrets, heartbreak and loss, shocks and surprises await readers in this riveting first installment in a series that promises more of the same. It introduces a main character who is compassionate, caring and loyal, albeit a bit naïve, but who has moments of fearlessness and strength, and who continues to grow throughout the story. It delivers an intriguing male protagonist whose agenda and motives are a mystery. And it delights with the enormously likable Pandoras.
Captivating from beginning to end, FIRE & FLOOD is an utterly enchanting and unputdownable must read.
Tella's brother is dying and her parents up and decide it would be a good idea to move them to the middle of nowhere. But what Tella doesn't know is that they are only trying to protect her from entering the Brimstone Bleed. The Brimstone Bleed is a race that lasts over three months and it throws the contenders in horrendous environments and circumstances and the one person left standing at the end wins a cure for their loved one. Tella's parents move them to a place where they think they won't be found in hopes to keep her from entering the race. But once she learns that there is a chance to save her brother, she will do anything to make it happen.
I adored Tella from the start, her personality shins through from the first moment we meet her, she's caring, determined and a little bit stubborn. She has such a big heart and she isn't afraid to stand up for what she thinks is right, and that is such a rare trait. I also really liked Guy, at first he seems so tough and focused on the race but as the race goes on and he lets Tella in, we get to see glimpses of another side to him and it's that side that makes it hard not to fall for him.
Overall, Fire & Flood is an action packed adventure that will have you glued to the edge of your seat, dying to know what will happen next. Scotts writing is incredible and I can't wait to see what she has in store for us in the next installment.