As many have pointed out, this book is awfully reminiscent of The Hunger Games. Pushing that thought aside, I didn’t think this book was that bad. It is okay at most. It isn’t terribly great or original and I definitely had a lot of issues with it, but it did keep me interested enough to turn the pages. For that, I give Fire and Flood 1.5 stars.
Plot: The plot, as I have mentioned before, is similar to that of The Hunger Games. It involves a game where there can only be one victor. In this case, it is Tella Holloway. Tella has a brother who is deathly ill, and upon receiving a chance to participate in a game that could possibly cure her brother, she decides to take a chance and go for it. Sound familiar? The similarities do not end there, however. Upon arriving on a train, she meets a colorful and fashionable woman who welcomes them into the race which is a form of revenge against the people.
This is the main reason why I chose to dock off so many stars from this book. It aims to be The Hunger Games, but it fails drastically at this. It felt wholly unoriginal and uninspired.
Main Character: I hate Tella. She is bratty, stupid, whiny, and superficial.
Just because I’m entering a race doesn’t mean I don’t want to look magically delicious.
Even living where no one could judge me besides my family, I prided myself on looking fabulous. And now I look like the bride of Frankenstein. Running my fingers through my hair, I think about how I should be racing towards Lincoln Station. But the compulsion to repair my face is too strong.
I pray that the orange pack I’m wearing holds Chanel makeup. And a brush.And a mirror.
What the hell? You’re doing this for your dying brother, you ungrateful brat. One might defend Tella in saying that this is her flaw and that no one is perfect, but she is constantly like this throughout the book. She does not grow given these dire circumstances. Why would you even care what you look like when your life is in danger? Why care about how you look to other competitors who simply want to beat you at this race? What’s the point? I don’t get it.
Because when it comes to doing something for my family, I’m not just his daughter. I am strong.
Ha. This makes me laugh. She considers herself strong but constantly needs her precious love interest to save her ass. So much for standing up for ourselves, girls! As long as we have some hot guy who can do just about anything, we’ll make it through life. Don’t believe me? Ask Tella. Oh and to add the cherry top, Tella also feels the need to belittle other females as well.
The last girl I see, I want to strangle. Like the woman, she has long hair. But instead of dark, it’s blond – no, honey gold – and shines like that of a Broadway starlet. I can’t see her eyes form here, but I’m sure they’re some stunning shade of blue… I hate her with everything I have as she laughs her perfect laugh and tosses her perfect hair and crosses her to-die-for legs. The girl seems to be about my age, or just a few years older. We could be friends, I realize, if I weren’t so overwhelmed with the urge to end her.
I glance at Harper, but she’s facing forward like a marine. I hate her so much right now, I could scream.
I don’t even know what to say other than fuck you Tella. You think you’re better than everyone else? Never mind that this girl she wants to strangle is arguably one of the better characters in the book. At least she fights for herself and doesn’t wait for some guy named Guy to save her. Let’s also forget the fact that this girl also lets you into her group and helps you a lot along the way. No, let’s just focus on the fact that this girl is prettier than you, so she must be awful. Fuck you, Tella.
Romance: I don’t get it. I don’t know why it happened, and I certainly don’t care for it. Guy, the love interest, helps Tella out at the start when he has the perfect opportunity to knock out one competitor out of the running. Instead, he helps her. Again.And again. Why? What is so special about Tella that warrants his help – that makes him conveniently forget that he also has someone important and dear to him to save? There’s no buildup in this relationship. It’s there from the get-go. They’re in a competition against one another, so I expected a lot of development before something happened, but it happens in the blink of an eye. There is also one terribly awkward scene where everyone is winding down. Tella and Guy ogle each other as they take off their clothes, and he then comes close to her and touches her face or something while everyone watches. I felt uncomfortable and awkward just reading it.
Setting: I have no idea where it is. So far, there’s been a jungle and a desert, so surely they are not in America. Did everyone get flown somewhere else while they were knocked out? Who knows? I couldn’t get into the world because it felt messy and all over the place. As they tried to find their way to basecamp I felt lost. To me, it just felt like they were fumbling in the dark and walking around pointlessly. It was awfully hard to visualize their surroundings throughout the book which is a terrible shame as it could have been epic. Very disappointing.
Finishing Thoughts: Overall, this book is okay. I am very disappointed at the lack of originality. However, as I said before it was interesting enough to keep me going and I did love the little critter companions they had in the book, so I can see myself picking up the next book.
I would recommend it only if you have not read The Hunger Games. However, if you have read it and are looking for something similar and just as good to sink your teeth into, I would recommend you to look elsewhere. This book feels messy and rushed with little world building that hardly makes sense and a main character that is very annoying.
These quotes were taken from an uncorrected galley and are subject to change in the final edition of the book.