Monday 6 April 2015

Salt and Stone by Victoria Scott

In FIRE & FLOOD, Tella Holloway faced a dangerous trek through the jungle and a terrifying march 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 stop – and in SALT & STONE, Tella will have to face the unseen dangers of the ocean, the breathless cold of a mountain, 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 beginning of the race there were one hundred twenty-two Contenders. As Tella and her remaining friends start the fourth and final part of the race, just forty-one are left . . . and only one can win.

We find Tella where we left her, just about surviving in the Brimstone Bleed, determined to find a cure for her brother and overthrow the horrible people that run it. The first book held the two of four tasks, which meant we still had the ocean and mountain landscapes to survive. These were even more dangerous and terrifying than the first two, which is saying something! 

Tella and Guy have had quite a few things to deal with; since Guy told her of his plan to take down the Bleed, he hasn't touched her and Tella is getting fed up. Then there's this alpha male/Tella can take charge too/ Guy doesn't trust her thing that takes them a while to work through. I really liked the progression of their relationship. Guy might have been trained for this competition but Tella is a smart girl and wants to feel valued, but Guy is used to giving out the orders. By showing a bit of compromise, they do manage to meet in the middle but it takes a bit of awkward silences and death glares to get there. 

After the loss of a few members of their little rag-tag group of survivors, they befriend some other competitors. The existing group is fraught with tension and hurt feelings, plus new members are upsetting the balance and the secrets aren't helping either. With everything riding on getting through the last two tasks, Tella is suspicious of the new allies, especially Cotton. Nothing he said quite added up and, boy, I really didn't see the twist coming but it was a goodie! Another funny one was Willow, a young and shy girl, whom I just couldn't figure out. There is something awful about putting people in these situations, it twists their sense of humanity and common decency, something that Tella especially was having a tough time with.

All in all, an incredible book, definitely didn't lag in the action or the nail-biting drama. The great story was there and continued to pack punches I didn't see coming. A great sequel to Fire and Flood and an amazing set up for the next book - that I need asap please!

Published March 2015 by Chicken House. Thank you to the publisher for a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

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