Saturday, February 22, 2014

Review (at last): FIRE & FLOOD by Victoria Scott

Photo courtesy Victoria Scott's Facebook page
It's only three days until Victoria Scott's newest YA novel Fire & Flood is released officially to the masses that still read books. About a month ago, I received an ARC of Fire & Flood from Scholastic and subsequently devoured it in one sitting. I meant to write up a review right away, but somehow--as it often happens--I a) forgot b) got distracted c) procrastinated D) any of the above. All would be appropriate options.

However, I seem to have remembered what I set myself out to do that long while ago. A review!

Fire & Flood is probably the best ARC I've read in a while. The premise--that of a giant multi-terrain race where the contestants fight (often literally) to save a member of their families with genetically engineered companions as their partners--is, put simply, brilliant.

When I first heard about Fire & Flood, I was excited about the mere idea of animal companions with special abilities. Theses companions are called Pandoras, and I want one.

Narrated in first person by Contender (the ones participating in the race) Tella Holloway, the story takes us on a journey through thick jungle and rasping desert. We get a glimpse of a world where technology has come far enough to cure disease and create animals with special powers, but where corruption and evil exists in spades.

Human nature is put under the microscope, and every little flaw is examined side by side with the good. Sometimes flaws overwhelmingly win; sometimes the goodness in a person shines through.

And that, I believe, is the highest praise I, or anyone, can give a book. Sure, the action is great, the characters have dialogue both witty and meaningful, and the plot churns along like at a pace that keeps you guessing. But the feelings. The thought-provoking nature of the content--that is where a book becomes more than just words on a page.

I think that Scott has accomplished that in Fire & Flood. At least as far as I am concerned. So ends the review. If you wish to find out if these thoughts and feelings will affect you, I suggest picking up a copy on February 25. I'd appreciate finding out from others if it is as great a book as I think. Feedback is awesome.

Or so I tell the students I lead in peer review sessions. Sometimes feedback is...unpleasant. And I tell them that too. It's always a good idea to hear both sides of the story, don't y'all agree?

Until next time...