Friday, March 27, 2015

Salt & Stone by Victoria Scott

Series: Fire & Flood (bk. 2)

Genera(s): Dystopian Sci-fi/Thriller

Subjects: survival, rainforests, deserts, animals, races, contests, adventure

Setting: Ocean & snowy mountains

POV/Tense: 1st person POV present tense: Tella Holloway

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 313 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Summary/ product description: “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.”

My Review:  Salt & Stone is the exciting sequel to Fire & Flood. The first book was set in a rainforest and a desert. This book takes us across the sea and through the mountains. This is not the final book like I originally thought. There will be a third book. The series is thrilling and full of survival. The narrator, Tella, is funny and quirky. This book is Hunger Games meet Survivor meets Pokémon, but set in modern times instead of the future. The Pandoras are genetically engineered animal that can help the contenders survive. The Pandora are so much like Pokémon in that they came out of eggs and they have abilities. They can’t put their Pandoras away, though.

Tella now not only has Madox (a fox that shape-shifts), but a bear she calls Monster, and later gains a iguana. The whole point of this race (The Brimstone Bleed) is that the winner gets the cure to the disease infecting their loved one. Guy (what an odd name, unless you are Guy on the food network) is Tella’s love interest. His Pandora is a lion (M-4). Guy’s goal is to win and get invited to work for the Brimstone Bleed people and take down the race. Tella agrees to help is she wins.

 Now in the ocean ecosystem, Tella, Guy, Harper, Olivia, Braun, Jaxon and 3 newer characters board a pirate ship and set out on a course that it more difficult that the previous challenges.  Crossing the ocean has different survival challenges. There are storms and sharks and other dangers. Once in the mountain part of the race they get their first trues taste of what it truly means to be freezing. Victoria plays with worst-case scenarios, both the cliché and unthinkable ones. A few contenders even perish due to unforeseen events.

This book is both fun in scary. I enjoyed it much more than the Hungers Games. Tella is more relatable than Katniss since she’s a contemporary girl and like to throw in some pop-culture and acts more feminine. Although, she gave into the cliché acts of cutting her hair like most dystopian heroines (Katniss kept her hair in a braid atleast). Tella reminded me of Tris from Divergent at times to. She shows some selfless, reckless bravery even at times. She also seemed to have a deep connection to her Pandoras. Tella’s empathy may not be a superpower (even if I was hoping that she was special), but her faith in the Pandoras made them better companions.

I recommend this series to those who like Pokémon/Digimon/Yugio or other creature-battling animes, and survival books like The Hunger Games & Under The Never Sky, and books about games or contests.

Cover Art Review: This cover is not better that the previous cover. Sure, I love the blue but so many covers have eyes on them! I wish that put the animals on the cover.

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