Fire and Flood is the first in a series in which 16 year old Tella is plunged into a race to save a family member, taking place over four zones. The blurb doesn’t even give this much away, so some mild spoilers ahead, but nothing that spoils the book.
Unlike the slew of dystopian novels of the last few years, Fire and Flood is based in modern times, albeit in arenas which are remote and wild. In this first book, Tella must make her way through a jungle and then sea landscape, facing death every couple of turns.
Her main aid and the USP of the book is an egg which Tella chooses at random, which turns into her “Pandora.” These pandoras are animals with unusual abilities such as invisibility, hynopsis and fire-breathing.
I found Tella a somewhat annoying character at first, self-obsessed to a point, lamenting the loss of her make-up and other luxuries. But it was probably the author’s intention to show an arc to the character over the duration of the series and we do see Tella’s resolve strengthen in the course of this ordeal.
There is of course a romantic angle, which is also tiresome at times in its relentless ‘will-they-won’t-they’ way, and I found myself not particularly interested, as there is so much at stake in the main plot.
Herein lies the main strength of this first book: the plot. It is a fast-paced and wild ride, Tella meeting new characters and discovering more and more about this Brimstone Bleed race all the time, and just teasing enough to heap the reader interested for book 2.