Review by The Mole
With her brother dying of cancer Tella is offered a chance to win a cure for him by entering a race called the Brimstone Bleed. Knowing nothing whatsoever about this race she takes up the challenge to save his life. But she doesn't know how much she is risking her own to save his.
Clearly Tella is the heroine - the first chapter tells us that - so we expect her to be with us at the end, particularly as this is a series although I did find myself wondering how she could have survived to page 366.
The summary automatically had me thinking "Hunger Games" but here the scenario differs in that it's not last man standing, rather first past the post. But sometimes there are conditions to getting past the post...
Each competitor gets to choose an egg at the start and from that egg comes a "companion" or protector to help them through the race and this part had me thinking "His Dark Materials", particularly Tella's cute little fox. But each has additional capabilities that the animal can not do naturally - like a fire breathing lion. The animals are created by genetic engineers and so there is nothing magical or fantasy about this story - just sci-fi - in fact the reader ends up suspecting that her brother's cancer is no accident.
One thing that did bug me big time was the love aspect (or is it lust?)... I like my heroes/heroines to be strong, to be needed, supportive and focussed but Tella was too needy and school-girl-crushy for my taste.
That to one side, the book was an excellent read with elements from other stories combined to make a unique and original story that was extremely compelling, fast and tense.
Publisher - Chicken House
Genre - YA dystopian, action adventure
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