Fire and Blood by Victoria Scott (March 25, 2014, Scholastic Press)
Synopsis: 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.Review:
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?
Victoria Scott's breathtaking novel grabs readers by the throat and doesn't let go.
Illness makes people do things that they normally wouldn't do and for Tella, she's willing to join a competition that she knows nothing about for a chance to save her brother's life. She's watched her whole family wither away and she's tired of it. Her brother went from an athletic jock to bedridden with no cure and she wants her normalcy back.
Fire and Blood reminded me a lot of Hunger Games, down to the words wishing the contestants good luck.
“I’d like to officially welcome you to the Brimstone Bleed. May the bravest Contender win.”It's slightly funny/weird that both books are published by Scholastic since they're really similar. Both heroines compete for reasons related to their siblings (Katniss because her sister, Prim, was chosen and Tella because she wants to save her brother.) They're both in dystopian worlds and they want changes in their governments (Katniss early on and Tella later on in the book).
While it was nice that the contestants were provided with Pandoras, which are genetically changed animals with extraordinary powers, to aid in the Brimstone Games, Fire & Blood was still eerily similar to Hunger Games, minus the gung-ho aspect of Katniss. Tella keeps asking herself why she's doing this and whether or not she'll survive since she's weak. She says that she'll go vegetarian after the competition because eating strange animals from the jungle is gross. She also comments repeatedly that her outfits are not Nordstrom style, which left me confused. Girl, are you competing to try and find a cure for your brother or what? You're also in a jungle, so who cares about outfits from Nordstrom?
Still though, I read on. The story was interesting enough and I wanted to see where it would go. The romance in Fire & Blood was predictable. The romantic interest was the guy helped Tella when they were running to grab a Pandora as well as the only guy that Tella uses a couple more sentences to describe. I couldn't see why he was a romantic interest. Sure, Guy (the romantic interest's name) was helpful, nice (in that silent-guy with lots of secrets kind of way), strong and knowledgeable about the terrains that they all had to survive, but in a romantic way? I'm not sure.
Ultimately, Fire & Blood was interesting, but the plot was too much like Hunger Games for me to enjoy it and the romantic interest too predictable and flat.
Review copy provided by Scholastic. Opinions are my own.