Friday, March 28, 2014

[Review: Salvage by Alexandra Duncan]

Author: Alexandra Duncan
Series: None
Pages: 520
Genre: YA, Science Fiction
Date Published: April 1st, 2014
Publisher: Greenwillow Press
Format Read: eARC provided by publisher (via Edelweiss) for honest review


 Ava, a teenage girl living aboard the male-dominated deep space merchant ship Parastrata, faces betrayal, banishment, and death. Taking her fate into her own hands, she flees to the Gyre, a floating continent of garbage and scrap in the Pacific Ocean, in this thrilling, surprising, and thought-provoking debut novel that will appeal to fans of Across the Universe, by Beth Revis, and The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood.

My Thoughts:

An Open Letter To Salvage,

Hey there book.  I didn't know what I was going to get when I opened you up.  I haven't been having the best of luck with YA Sci Fi lately and so you kind of scared me.  Well let me tell you, I didn't need to be scared of anything.  You're one heck of an epic book.  You remind me of the Sci Fi I loved as a High Schooler and you have strong female leads.  Basically, you're a beast of the a book and I mean that in the best way possible!

-The White Unicorn

Salvage was such a unique reading experience.  There was just something about the story in the pages that captured my heart and wouldn't let it go.  It's not to say that the book is perfect, but there is a breath to the story that is really special.  Duncan has created a world that is so detailed that our main girl, Ava even speaks a strange version of English.  It takes a little getting used to, but once it snaps onto your brain, it gives things an authentic vibe that is missing from so many Sci Fi books I've read lately.  It might not work for everyone but I thought it made Salvage truly one of a kind.  

This space age tale is mostly character driven, but I have to give it to Duncan for her world building as well.  She's taken things that we already know about and strung them together in different ways, creating something really special.  She gives us spaceship societies where men take multiple wives, marriages are arranged, women are kept separate from the men and forced to work on small tasks.  Then she gives us Earth, were we also get a floating landmass in the middle of the Pacific Ocean (which would have made me constantly seasick) and even a futuristic Mumbai.  These places all have a huge role in the story.

The characters really stand out, which is a feat when you look at all the other awesome things happening in the book.  Ava goes on a journey, not only physically (though there is spaceship flying and all) but also one in her personal character.  She starts out as this girl who only knows what those around her let her know and by the end of the book she has grown into someone strong and sure of herself.  Sure she has to go to hell and back to get to that point, but it's a ton of realistic character growth that will have you cheering for our main girl Ava.  The things that she goes through are tough.  Mistakes are made and the fall out is huge, leaving a girl who thought her life was planned out for her reeling and running for her life.  

The book is about Ava, but that doesn't mean that you won't fall in love with the secondary characters as well.  Snarky and feisty Captain Perpetue and her daughter Miyole are key players in Ava's journey.  I really adored both of them.  Perpetue takes a chance on Ava and the bond between the three of them is glorious.  Ava's Aunt Soraya also graces the pages.  Her life has been one of her own choosing, growing up on Earth and not on a spaceship and their differences create a lot of authentic tension.

There are two gents in this novel, but a love triangle never surfaces.  Luck is the man who has a hand in the events that lead to Ava running away and he's her first love.  Their passion is built from lust, but it doesn't mean it's not real.  Then we have Rushil.  Their relationship springs up out of friendship and mutual respect.  I adored them.  It's a ship I can fully get behind.  It's the kind of slow burn romance that I love!

Salvage is a wonderful standalone novel that is full of so many awesome things.  Ava's journey is one that I know will stay with me for a long time.  It's a coming of age tale that will tug at your heart strings in the strangest of ways while also giving you tons of girl power moments.  I'd say snag yourself a copy of this one, strange dialogue aside.

        4 Unicorns = Close to perfect!


Little Miss Becky said...

This definitely sounds like fantastic world building and great characters. I've been a little intimidated by the size of this one but your review definitely makes me want to take it on!

Ashley said...

It is a standalone!!! That in itself might have just sold me. Sometimes I am just in the mood for a one book read :) I loved the letter, I am glad to hear it was an epic sci-fi book. I will have to add this to my TBR.

Ashley @ The Quiet Concert

Natalie Natflixandbooks said...

I have to admit that I've pretty much written this book off after reading a couple of dismal reviews. I'm glad you that you really connected with it though, and it is awesome that it is a stand-alone. I don't read a whole lot of sci-fi, but I may give this a try...someday. Great review!