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?
When I first bought the book, I was so confused by the size. The paperback version is so tiny I had to google it to make sure there was nothing wrong with it. In doing so, I ended up seeing quite a few people who didn't like this book. I didn't actually read any of those reviews because I don't like to have someone else's opinion in my head when I go into a new book. Going into this book, I knew quite a few people had mixed feelings on this, but I still wanted to read this because I personally really liked Victoria Scott's other series.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I liked it a whole lot more than I thought I would. There were some minor issues I had, but they weren't even that bad. I could see where other people would have even more issues, but I'm not super nitpicky with things. I mean I am with certain things, but not to the point as professional reviewers because I'm obviously not one.
A lot of people were comparing this to The Hunger Games, which there are similar things in this book that are in THG (the actual reason for the race being a thing, the contestants are dropped in the middle of nowhere and have to survive, it's a race to the finish and only one can live, and they have to wear a pin throughout the whole race). There was probably more similarities but I don't actually like THG so I didn't care to "compare" them and I'm not going to.
First off, it's not as brutal as THG. The competitors aren't killing each other off (for the most part anyway) and it's not a total dystopian setting. THG is about people being forced into an arena to kill each other because of the effed up government and crap that happened in the past. That's not really the case with this book because Tella (the main character) is technically given a choice to do this to save her brother.
They're two different book series that are in categories of their own. I wouldn't compare the two at all. People need to get it out of their heads that they're going to be reading a HG rip off because it's not like that at all. At least, to me it wasn't.
When I first started the book, I thought it was a bit too fast paced. The book gets started within the first 20 pages. Everything happened really fast. Tella gets the invite, obsesses over it, then leaves in the middle of night to god know's where because of the thought that she could cure her brother if she wins the race. But then I know that if I (in some twisted universe) were stuck in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do and my brother was sick, I'd jump at the chance of him being cured.
After the beginning, the pacing was much better. It didn't slow down, but the first two quarters of the race were dragged out (in a good way) where plot development happens and Tella's character development.
I did have a minor issue with Tella however. I liked her as a main character. She was funny with her self-deprecating kind of humor and the things she thought. However, for a majority of the book, she was utterly useless. It's expected of someone who grew up in a big city. My survivor skills? Negative ten. But she literally had to rely on everyone else for a majority of the book. In a way it was almost admirable how even though she knew absolutely nothing of what she was doing, she did it anyway. She was able to survive the jungle despite knowing squat of how to do it. (Also, I've noticed a trend with books lately. Despite the female being the main character, she has to rely on her male partner for everything because she's useless and can't do s***.) The one thing that bothered me about her was how vain she was. She kept thinking about how she looked and how badly she needed makeup to make herself pretty. After a while she stopped because hellllooo you're in the middle of the jungle and the way you look should be the last thing on your mind.
One thing people said that this was an instalove romance, which I cannot deal with it. Anything with instalove I stay far away from. That made me a bit wary also to read this but surprisingly, I didn't think this was like that at all, however, I wasn't a fan of the romance. It didn't really play a major part in the story, but even so it could have been developed more. We get to see what Tella thinks of Guy (yep, that's the love interest's name) but since it's a first person narrative, we don't get to see what Guy's thinking. I think he could have been developed (how many times am I going to say that word?) more but there isn't much room for other characters to do so when a story is told in first person. The romance didn't really fit, but it wasn't even that big of a deal to me. It was just okay, that's happening, nothing to go crazy about.
In the end, I really enjoyed this book. It was fast paced, easy to follow, and I just kept wanting more.