Previously published on ReadingYA.rocks
ABOUT THE BOOK
SALT & STONE by Victoria Scott
Series: Fire & Flood #2
Published by Scholastic Press on February 24, 2015
Genres: Dystopian, Epic Fantasy, Science Fiction
Provided by: Edelweiss
Rating: 6 stars
This book was provided in exchange for an honest review.
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.
SALT & STONE was released yesterday, so if you don’t have your copy in hand and haven’t yet read it, what are you waiting for? It was an awesome sequel. AWESOME. RIVETING. AMAZING.
But if you haven’t yet had the chance to pick it up, be sure to check out the Q&A to learn a little bit more about SALT & STONE and to see what Author Victoria Scott has to say about this sequel, the series, her characters. And if you’d like to know what I think, my review follows below that.
This one is an off-the-charts read. It’s sooooo good. You will not be able to put it down. There will also likely be tears. But I will say no more, except – READ THIS BOOK!
If you’re new to the series, there’s some information about the first book, FIRE & FLOOD, a bit further down, and there’s a chance to win a copy. Just enter in the Rafflecopter.
And if you’d like to know what other bloggers think about this sequel, the schedule is included at the bottom of this post. But now, without any further ado, here’s the interview.
Q&A WITH VICTORIA SCOTT
Q. If you had to describe the Brimstone Bleed in 15 words or less, how would you describe it?
Contenders run a race to save a loved one with the help of an animal.
Q. If you could pick one contender other than Tella or Guy who you think has the best shot of winning the Cure, who would it be and why?
Hmm, I’d say Harper because she’s tough, and has a lot of anger.
Q. Which of the Pandoras is your favorite (and why)? And which of the Pandoras is your least favorite (and why)?
AK-7 (the grizzly bear) is my favorite because he’s been so mistreated, but remains a gentle giant. I don’t love RX-13 (the eagle). That bird may need to eat it soon.
Q. Of all the eco-systems, which was your favorite to write about and why? And which eco-system would you least like to be a contender in and why?
Favorite was the jungle. So many possibilities to challenge my characters. Because of that, it’s also the one I’d least like to compete in.
Q. Through each part of the race, Tella becomes a stronger and more independent competitor. Had you always planned for her to be able to stand on her own, become a leader, become less reliant on Guy Chambers?
That came after book one. She grew a lot in Fire & Flood, but I realized (and heard from fans!) that she had even more potential as a leader. That’s why I started Salt & Stone with, “I am stronger than I was before.” I felt that set the tone for the sequel.
Q. Speaking of Guy – because we kind of have to – he manages to infuriate Tella even more in SALT & STONE. But he also manages to become more important to her – sorry, trying so hard not to reveal spoilers from that part there right at the end. What does he really think about her at the beginning of the book, and how do you think that opinion has changed by the story’s end?
Guy is tremendously drawn to Tella’s energy, but he also sees her as someone he needs to protect. It doesn’t make him think less of her, it’s simply that he sees himself as stronger, better trained, more capable. But Tella isn’t okay with his perception of her, and it’s one of the driving factors that causes her to push herself in the second book.
Q. Guy seems to have pulled back from Tella at the start of SALT & STONE and yet the chemistry between them is still there making for some deliciously lovely tension. Can you reveal which of those “almost” moments was your favorite to write and why?
Oh, I can tell you off the top of my head that the romantic tension scene I love the most is the one in the ocean, after the storm. You know the one! Read: captain’s quarters. He’s so angry, and doesn’t know how to handle the emotions he has for this new, more independent Tella.
Q. You introduce a few new characters and Pandoras in this book. If you would, please tell those who haven’t yet met them a little bit about Willow, Cotton and Mr. Larson and each of their Pandoras.
Sneaky, sneaky. I see how innocently you worded that. Trying to get me to divulge secrets and spoilers and such. Ha! I’ll say this, Cotton was my favorite new character to write, Willow I despised (for whatever reason), and Mr. Larson was the trickiest to get down on paper. I really wanted readers to sort of love to hate Mr. Larson, you know? Tough to do.
Q. What has been your favorite part about writing these characters and this series?
The potential for action. Books are much easier to write when characters are in situations where the environment alone could hurt them. This book flowed easily, and that’s a lot more than I can say for some of the other titles I’ve tackled.
SALT & STONE is an epic, heart-wrenching, action-packed, hold-your-breath and keep your fingers crossed kind of sequel. It has a lightning fast pace, an incredibly suspenseful, nail-biting plot, a female protagonist who gets stronger and more confident as the race continues, a male protagonist who is both infuriating and heart-stopping, even more Pandoras to adore, and a few surprises that can only be called jaw-dropping.
From the dangers of an ocean voyage to the perils of a snowy mountain, the action is non-stop for readers and contenders alike. The challenges are even deadlier. The losses are even more heartbreaking. The toll on the contenders more severe.
After having relied on Guy Chambers to get her through the first two rounds of the Brimstone Bleed, Tella Holloway is ready to take the lead and show that she is just as strong a competitor as he is. But proving herself to him and to the other contenders isn’t as easy as she’d hoped it would be. Especially when she’s not entirely confident about her decisions.
With so many lives already lost, Tella hopes to keep everyone in her group safe. But with new twists continually being added to the Brimstone Bleed, nothing and no one should be trusted. No matter how easy it is, or how much she wants to. Because with only one cure, how can anyone be blamed for doing whatever it takes to win?
Victoria Scott followed up her addictive and riveting novel FIRE & FLOOD with a sequel that surpasses it in intensity, tension, and heartbreak. It is even more thrilling, there are even more emotional highs and lows, the journey is even more harrowing, and the ending even more chilling.
The author keeps the hits coming, pausing only long enough to add some humor, ensure that the chemistry still sizzles, and allow readers to grieve over those lost along the way. She makes sure that this is a book readers not only won’t want to put down, but can’t put down. She places her characters in the most extreme conditions, requires them to have the strength to survive, asks them to retain their humanity, and hopes they’ll be able to live with what they’ve done.
SALT & STONE is an all-consuming, stay-up-until-the-very-end-no-matter-how-late read. It’s a story with a number of characters to love – a strong and immensely likable heroine, a swoon-worthy hero, a plethora of animal companions – and more than a few to hate. It delivers blows you will never see coming and some you will but won’t be able to avoid. It is, without a doubt, a spectacular second book in this series and is not only a must read, but a must read right this instance sort of book.
ABOUT VICTORIA SCOTT
Victoria Scott is a teen fiction writer represented by Sara Crowe of the Harvey-Klinger Literary Agency. She’s the author of the FIRE & FLOOD series published by Scholastic, and the DANTE WALKER trilogy published by Entangled Teen. Her first stand-alone young adult title, TITANS, will be published by Scholastic in spring 2016.
Victoria’s books have been bought and translated in eleven foreign markets including the UK, Turkey, China, Poland, Israel, Germany, Australia, Brazil, Taiwan, New Zealand, and the Netherlands. She currently lives in Dallas, and hearts cotton candy something fierce.
OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES
Time is slipping away….
Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can’t determine what’s wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She’s lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying—and she’s helpless to change anything.
Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It’s an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother’s illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there’s no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.
The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can’t trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?
There is a tour-wide giveaway for…
5 finished copies of FIRE & FLOOD – US ONLY
Feb. 23rd – Stuck In Books – Review
Feb. 24th – Mel, Erin & Regina Read-a-Lot – Review
Feb. 25th – Reading YA Rocks – Review + Interview
Feb. 26th – Curling Up With A Good Book – Review
Feb. 27th – Mundie Moms – Review