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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?
Being a fan of Victoria Scott is my main reason for reading Fire & Blood. Plus that this was something drastically different from her Dante Walker series piqued my interest.
First, I’ll address what’s on everyone’s minds (and mine too, I’ll admit) – the comparisons to The Hunger Games. It’s promoted as such so obviously that stuck with me. As I read on, the comparisons between what was similar diminished and turned into what was different. Similar – girl enters crazy contest to win ultimate prize to save loved ones. That’s it.
Where The Hunger Games is set in a very bleak world, Fire & Blood opens with Tella and her family living a secluded life in Montana. She rattles on about the life she misses in Boston and all the modern-day luxuries she has had to give up. She’s a sixteen year-old who has typical teenage priorities – friends, hair, clothes, etc. So when she happens upon the device that serves as an invitation to the Brimstone Bleed, she defies her parents and takes off. Of course, she hasn’t thought this thing through at all but once she arrives at the initial destination and encounters all the other Contenders there, she’s hit with the overwhelming reality of the situation.
With her head in the game she takes on the challenge, reminding herself why she’s doing this. And unlike that other series, there’s more camaraderie and teamwork involved. It’s a relief for Tella to be a part of that while she hones her survival skills to press on.
Victoria Scott has included some creative elements that take Fire & Blood to a new level of excitement and suspense. There are quite a few characters whose motives are hard to anticipate. I think that being the reader I was naturally cynical of everyone, whereas Tella is always willing to give someone the benefit of the doubt. And we can’t tell such a story without including a quiet, brooding warrior and a slightly agitated fighter who makes everyone nervous.
In Fire & Blood, Victoria Scott has fulfilled the thrill-seeking, nerve-wracking adventure I was looking forward to. I was so caught off guard when I got to the end because I honestly thought I had another 20-something pages to go, that I was left feeling skittish. I simply wasn’t ready for it to be over.