Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Review: Salvage by Alexandra Duncan

Title: Salvage
Alexandra Duncan
Publisher: Greenwillow (HarperCollins)
Acquired Via: Around the World ARC Tours
Release Date: April 1, 2014

Her life is a shadow of a life. Her future is not her own to fashion.

Her family is a tangle of secrets. She cannot read. She cannot write.

But she is Parastrata Ava, the Captain's eldest daughter, the so girl of a long-range crewe—her obligations are grave and many.

And when she makes a mistake, in a fragrant orchard of lemons, the consequences are deadly.

There are some who would say,
there but for the Mercies go I.

There are some who would say Parastrata Ava is just a silly earthstruck girl who got what was coming to her.

But they don't know the half of it.

My Review

Some of the synopses (not the one I used from HarperTeen's page) for this book are misleading. You see, Salvage - Alexandra Duncan's debut - is indeed a scifi novel with a desolate-seeming future for women and humanity. It is, most assuredly, quite unlike like Margaret Atwood's A Handmaid's Tale and Beth Revis' Across the Universe. Now that those things have been stated and are (mostly) off my mind, shall we proceed? (I don't want to go on about it too much because Duncan can't help who her book is compared to, amiright?)

Salvage is an enormous novel with it being classified as YA. However, while reading it, Salvage very seldom seemed as if it was its whopping 500+ pages long. It was great following Ava from the stars to earth because she grows so much as she adapts to her surroundings. I'm not as into character-driven novels, but Ava was definitely the driving force in this one.

Salvage starts aboard the spaceship, Parastrata. It reminds me a bit of a Mormon-extremist compound in space. (No, I'm not talking about mainstream Mormons, I'm talking Warren Jeff's FLDS Mormonism.) Each man in the group had many wives and the girls were married to their husbands very young. For instance, one of Ava's grandfather's widows was only a few years older than her! Which leads up to what Ava has coming - she's being married off to some high-ranking man on an allied spaceship!

Ava is an obedient girl follows the strict rules of the male-dominated ship. As the daughter of the captain, she has a few more freedoms than other girls her age, but not enough to give her any say or knowledge in her own marriage. After an incident, she finds herself cast out from her home aboard the Parastrata and living on the Gyre, a floating quasi-island that I would have liked to know more about. Because of this, I got to see Ava grow from the dutiful "so girl" to a spacecraft-flying, good-trading, responsible adult.

I'm only going to touch on the romance in Salvage briefly because it was very brief, in my opinion. Yes, there is a love triangle, but I didn't find it too be obnoxious. Ava had been in love with Luck since they were little kids, and when things didn't work out the way she wanted them to, she grieved. Due to the way she was raised, I have no problem believing that she grieved over losing him for as long as she did. I remember being a teenager, and I moped with the best of them. Another love interest comes along, but it is one that takes a while to build up to, and I enjoyed reading their scenes together.

Salvage is a good book, and I hope teenagers won't be intimidated by its size. There are quite a few issues touched on in it that would do people good to think about, especially young people. Salvage doesn't have as much science as I like, but the characters are good enough that that didn't bother me overmuch. It's a good book, but just don't go in thinking that it's A Handmaid's Tale because it's not.

- 3.5/5 Stars -

Buy Links
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Fishpond

To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book briefly for reviewing purposes through Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for an honest review. The book was likely provided to the tour by the publisher or author, which has in no way affected the outcome of my review. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.


  1. I haven't read A Handmaid's Tale, so I will not be disappointed. This sounds worth checking out for sure. Great review!

  2. Thanks for the review. I loved the world building and the different ways women were treated on the ship and Earth. Not that I liked the space ship society. I really enjoyed the whole story and found it a quick read.


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