Pub Date: February 24, 2015
Genre: young adult sci-fi, contemporary fantasy (at least, that's what I categorize it as!)
Format/Source: ARC, from the publisher
Status: Book 2 of the Fire & Flood series
Links: Fire & Flood review (also 4 stars)
Links: Fire & Flood review (also 4 stars)
Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour, which was organized & hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. The full tour schedule can be found HERE.
Summary: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 would just like to take a moment here at the beginning of this review to say a very mature I TOLD YOU SO and throw in a NEENER NEENER for good measure. I said an entire year ago that anyone who dislikes Tella for being selfish, shallow, or immature was ridiculous because Tella is actually a fantastic and HONEST representation of how a Real Live Teenager would react to being thrown into a crazy dangerous situation like the Brimstone Bleed. I then said that Tella's flaws are beautiful because Victoria is giving her a chance to evolve into a stronger character over time. That change is exactly what makes Tella a more interesting character than someone who starts off as a real threat in the race, and Victoria brought my hopes to life in Salt & Storm tenfold.
The Tella you meet in Salt & Storm is not at all close to the Tella of Fire & Flood. She's stronger, physically and mentally; she's wiser; she's less naive; she's braver. Tella takes major chances in Salt & Storm, chances that have very dire consequences that range from possible dismemberment to certain death. So, you know, no pressure. I was very impressed with Tella's grace when the group votes against her and her strength when she stands up for herself. Salt & Storm is like this wonderful girl power rally, and while reading, I constantly wanted to jump up, pump my fist in the air, and shout, "GET IT, GIRL" when Tella was being particularly boss, despite the other consequence of Guy being a total dude and underestimating her. While Tella becomes a stronger Contender, she also manages to hold on to her kindness and her trusting nature. She may be occasionally shallow, but you can't deny Tella is a good person. She genuinely cares for other characters and is also a constant voice for the Pandoras, who, by the way, have to deal with every challenge of the race just as the humans do. That's actually very important to the story, both to Tella's character and the plot so I don't want to say too much.
Again, as for our secondary characters, I was really impressed. In a book with a limited pool of characters, Victoria has found a way to introduce new faces every so often, which definitely keeps you on your toes! There are many, many surprises with these characters so again, I don't want to say too much. I will say Guy is...Guy. While I was frustrated with his inability to trust Tella's decisions, I thought it was good development for him. He goes from this jungle/desert warrior to a teenage guy who may not know what's best after all, and that's really hard on him. I may have been annoyed with his attitude at times, but honestly, I always want more Guy. More more more. And the rest of the group is such a wonderful melting pot of unique characters, all of whom get a moment or two to really shine and grow on the page. Clearly this is Tella's story, but I love that Victoria doesn't throw away characters. Everyone is dynamic and purposeful, even the Pandoras. Maybe especially the Pandoras. I really don't want to say much else because there are Big Plot Things dealing with the others in Tella's group, some of which are huge surprises, some were less so and therefore a little disappointing, and some punched me in the heart so hard I had to put the book down to cry myself out. Yeah. You have been warned. The Brimstone Bleed is deadly, and Victoria Scott is not messing around when it comes to life or death situations.
I don't think the series is quite There yet. I know we're working up to some pretty big moments in book three, but I feel like the books go too fast at time. It's a double edged sword because action scenes SHOULD be fast, and the Brimstone Bleed is non-stop action. Buuuuuut I feel like everything happens so fast that it can be hard to appreciate each individual moment and scene and conversation. I also wish these books were just a little bit longer because I feel like I'm missing information. However, I was right about Tella and her evolution from book one to two, and I fully believe that Victoria has something really special planned for us in the third book. These books are so much fun, and they hit a nice balance between break-neck action that pushes the plot forward and fantastic character development of the entire cast. I am fully invested in this series and anxiously awaiting what will happen next!
2/16: Mary Had a Little Book Blog (review)
2/17: a GREAT read (review)
2/18: Two Chicks on Books (interview)
2/19: Falling for YA (review)
2/20: Fiction Fare (review)
2/23: StuckInBooks (review)
2/24: MEREADALOT (review)
2/25: Reading YA Rocks (interview)
2/26: Curling Up With A Good Book (review)
2/27: Mundie Moms (review)
Five finished copies of Fire & Flood
a Rafflecopter giveaway