Salt & Stone
by Victoria Scott
Published on February 24th, 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Romance, Survival Stories, Young Adult
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Also by this author: The Warrior
What would you do to save someone you love?
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’m a big fan Victoria Scott’s Dante Walker series and Fire & Flood was a definite favorite read last year. It’s a winning combination of a fast passed and dangerous game (not as lethal though) with Pokémon like companions thrown in.
Salt & Stone contains the next two legs of the Brimstone Bleed. This time our heroine and friends are expected to be in the ocean (thus “salt”) and in the freezing mountains (thus “stone”). Whomever gets there first, wins the cure for the virus that plagues the contender’s family members. We also know from the previous book that the top five contenders will be offered jobs at the Company – creators of the contest and the virus. The plan is for Guy and Tella to be in the first five so they can work to bring the Company down.
New characters get added to our group that previously consisted of Tella, Guy, Harper, Jaxon, Olivia, and Braun. Of course, we have to count their adorable Pandoras: Madox the fox, a lion, an elephant, a bear and a pig. During the next leg of the game other new characters and Pandoras join them, Mr. Larson, Cotton, and Willow. As you can expect, we lose some of them as well. I have to confess that I cried a bit, because it was so unexpected.
Tella acts by herself and confides in some of the other contenders in their group, even though Guy as firmly opposed to the idea. Together they contrive and make plans, they protect each other, although Tella has the protective instincts of a mama bear. Tella is still an amazing and complex as a character, but it’s hard how she gets in her head that she needs to be self-sufficient, independent and take leadership. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that, but it creates tension and a power struggle with Guy.
“Tella, when I ask you to stay behind, it’s because I think it’s safest.”
My brows furrow. “ I can think of my own without getting hurt, you know.” …
“Of course you can,” Guy says, but his lack of conviction is like a punch to the heart.”
The setting this time matches the read of the Brimstone Bleed. Boats, water, tropical islands, snow, cold, mountains, Pandora fighting arena, and ice caves. This is one action packed story for sure. I really like Scott’s writing, it’s straightforward, funny, sarcastic and emotive. The plot is always complicated, full of surprises and not all of them good.
“You cut yourself so that we could fish?” Jaxon’s eyebrows nearly touch his hairline. “That’s so Rambo, dude.”
I laugh, because I don’t know what else to do.
“So if we catch a fish and eat it, does that mean we’ll be eating a piece of you, too?” Braun poses.
Olivia recoils. “Disgusting.”
I have a BIG issue with the ending. It was not an ending? It definitely has the “flavor” of a second book instead of the ending to the series (it’s was supposed to be a duology!) Another thing that I dislike was the “romance” if we can call it that. There is definite interest and affection between Tella and Guy, but it was way more what was left unsaid that what they actually did or said. The readers knows they love each other, even they know it, but talking to Guy is like pulling teeth. Very infuriating.
“You didn’t take into account that I would hold you in my mind. That I would focus so wholly on the feel of your skin against mine, that it was as if my body moved through the water on its own.”
Overall, I loved the series, BUT I seriously hope that this is not the end, because otherwise that sucks! This is from Victoria Scott’s website:
About the cover: I so wish that these books kept the original covers. I like them much better than these new ones with the eye.