Now, I was a massive fan of Fire & Flood, it was really high up on my Top 14 of 2014 list, so I was super excited to read the sequel, but it turns out that I was a little disappointed. It had a lot of the same elements as Fire & Flood and I think it was just as successful, however this time round I found Tella’s narration to be a lot more annoying than her previous adventure. And here’s why…
Tella is a vain character. It’s one of the best things about Fire & Flood because she is so different to literally every girl that’s drafted into a dystopian world. This is her defining and original character trait. In Salt & Stone she doesn’t make a lot of reference to her appearance – although there are the still tell tale/Tella (see what I did there?) signs that she’s just a superficial teenager, which makes her so believable – instead this time Tella’s having a constant internal debate about whether or not she is strong. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure it’s a lot less impartial for a character to tell you they’re strong rather than just coming to the conclusion yourself.
This was one of the things that annoyed me about Tella, the other was her constant obsession over Guy. He seriously needed to get over himself and tell her how he felt, because if I was her then I would’ve given up AGES ago! Sometimes Tella needed to not focus so much on Guy and focus on her survival, and when she actually did do this we’re supposed to see how strong she is, when surely sensible is a better adjective. I don’t know, it just bugged me. It was so frustrating and such a slow build. I really didn’t get the impression that Guy liked her, even though she was obviously infatuated with him. In fact, it made me think he was a bit of a douche bag, if I’m being honest. Though I do look forward to seeing how their relationship progresses in the series once they’re out of the drastic environments.
On the plus side, Salt & Stone was a wild adventure, and definitely a page turner. I really really loved the water landscape, because it had just the same scary charm as the forest and the mountains were similar to the desert. The differences in the landscapes and the challenges that the characters face really immerses a reader into the story and if I had to put the book down I just had to finish the section first because it’s such an addictive read. Like I said, there are similar elements. The deaths of main characters were so impartial to the group as a whole and I was shocked by some of them. I thought the ‘big reveal’ was slightly laborious and it would’ve been better to have some sort of foreshadowing in the first book, because it wasn’t as ‘oh-my-gosh what do you mean?!’ as it could’ve been.
I was also really appreciative of the fact that Victoria Scott did a gentle re-cap on the characters backstories and what happened to them in Fire & Flood, because it’s been quite a while since I’ve read it. Normally this sort of thing is really annoying, especially when an author dedicates about fifty pages to repeating what’s happened in previous books, but I thought it was done EXTREMELY well! Even if you’ve only just finished F&F and move onto S&S, I honestly don’t think you’ll be frustrated with it.
Character development for the secondary characters like Harper and Olivia was really interesting too, and I enjoyed how they played such a prominent role in this story. We also got a whole bunch of new characters, which made for new character relationships and really meant we could explore Tella and how the race was changing her too. Despite not thinking Tella is as strong as she thinks she is (does that make any sense?) I still really love her character. Salt & Stone manages to be both exciting, horrifying and funny too!
Overall, I gave it 3 stars because although I enjoyed it, I definitely didn’t like it as much as the first book. I have absolutely no idea where this story is going to go now, as the terrain portion is finished and we have the final winner of the Brimstone Bleed, how that is going to effect every one else I have no idea either! I was really happy with the ending, but am a little bit worried that this series is going to take a turn for the worse if it pursues the cliched girl vs. government plot.