Author: Victoria Scott
Source: Edelweiss & Giveaway (Thank you so much to Victoria Scott for sending us an ARC!)
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: February 24th 2015
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In Fire & Flood, Tella Holloway faced a dangerous trek through the jungle and across the desert, all to remain a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed for a chance at obtaining the Cure for her brother. She can't quit--she has to win the race, save Cody, and then fight to make sure the race stops before it can claim any more lives. In the next legs of the race, across the ocean and over mountains, Tella will face frostbite, sharks, avalanche, and twisted new rules in the race. But what if the danger is deeper than that? How do you know who to trust when everyone's keeping secrets? What do you do when the person you'd relied on most suddenly isn't there for support? How do you weigh one life against another? The race is coming to an end, and Tella is running out of time, resources, and strength. At the start of the race there were one hundred twenty-two Contenders. As Tella and her remaining friends start the final part of the race, just forty-one are left--and only one can win.
I liked Salt & Stone a lot more then Fire & Flood. Correction: I loved it. I've enjoyed all of Victoria's writing so far and I knew she wasn't going to disappoint in Salt & Stone, but crap. I am floored right now.
Just when we thought the people behind the Brimstone Bleed couldn't make it any worse, they do. Tella and the gang must make it through the last two legs of the Brimstone Bleed, ocean and then the mountain. Both equally challenging, dangerous, and deadly. Filled with action, adventure, heart break, and battle Salt & Stone leaves you questioning if we really knew anything about the Brimstone Bleed at all.
During the ocean leg of the race, a few new contenders joined the gang. Willow who has a Rat as a Pandora, Cotton with a Bull, and Mr. Larson with an Alligator along with a new Pandora that Tella took on: an Iguana named Rose. Tess struggles to gain trust in these new people, all while trying to prove to herself to Guy. Tella really toughened up during this novel, she took the bull by the reins and took control of the situation. I liked Tella so much more in this one then in Fire & Flood. She has a bit of a whit to her, as well as being strong, determined and stubborn in all her tasks. Tella is extremely dedicated to her brother, who she is there for. She is also very clever for figuring out the new color bracelets that each contender was given and the betting.
Guy and Tell are both stubborn and determined, put them together and they were do for an explosion eventually. Guy wants Tella to be safe, and it seems to be that he thinks she is helpless. Tella knows she doesn't need Guy and she can do this on her own with out him. Now mix this in with the kiss from Fire & Flood, complicated emotions and different agendas and when have a love interest who probably are going to kill each other. That doesn't mean there wasn't a fair share of steamy scenes though. Tella and Guy do come to see eye to eye in the end though.
I could probably talk about the Pandoras all day. They are all unique with different personalities and abilities. Tella seems to be a magnet for them, they seem to listen to her more then their own contenders sometimes. I've grown to love Monster (a bear) and Madox (a wolf) a lot. In Salt & Stone we are introduced to a Bull who can breathe out red fumes that will knock you unconscious, an Alligator who lets off intense heart, an Iguana who glows in the dark, and a rat who stabs its victim with its tail to make them ill (Though I am a little unclear about that still.) I would love to know where the idea for the Pandoras had come from.
Victoria didn't skip out on the plot in Salt & Stone at all. I actually think it was better done this time around. Everything is so much more intense as the race is coming to an end, characters start to change, the stakes are higher. Everything is amped up to the extreme now. Victoria packed this book with a ton of death, action and heart break. The race is concluded in this book, there is a winner. But I highly doubt this series is over yet. There is still so much unanswered and the ended, though bittersweet, was open ended.
Salt & Stone is probably my favorite sequel in a while now. I didn't fall short of anything. Even though it is still early in 2015 this book has made my list of the best of 2015. I am not sure if there will be another book in this series. I think there will be, and I cross my fingers there will be.