Scott, Victoria: Fire and Flood.
Fire and Flood
Chicken House, 2014, pp366, 6.99 [pounds sterling]
978 1 909489 622
'Let the contest begin ...' proclaims the cover. Inside we plunge into a breathless adventure where the writing is overheated and the plot is quite bizarre. The heroine is as girly as she is heroic and her sexual feelings are increasingly steamy. Thankfully the story has its redeeming features. One is the Pandoras. These are creatures that hatch from the varyingly sized eggs that people, who turn up to take part in the Brimstone Bleed, have to grab before they can become Contenders. Tilla, the 16-year-old American girl, who wants to win the contest because her brother is sick unto death and the prize is a complete Cure for a chosen relative, finds that her egg produces a very loveable fox. Although this fox seems not to understand human language, he is obviously telepathic of feelings. He can also make himself change at will to replicate other Contenders' Pandoras who include a bear, raccoon, eagle and ram.
The challenge of the Brimstone Bleed is to get through four months of desperate and horrid hardship, first in wet forest, then in desert. Fortunately, the whole loathsome adventure suddenly comes to an end when it transpires that Guy, the hulky Contender for whom our heroine ever more excitedly trembles, has himself joined the contest in order to bring it to an end forever, thus exposing the weird basis on which it was founded several generations before by Pharmies (yes, people involved in genetic experiments). The end comes as a great relief, but the story has undoubtedly pulled you along. I regret to say I'm sure there are lots of young people who will love it.