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[Book Review] - Salvage by Alexandra Duncan

Title: Salvage
   Author: Alexandra Duncan
   Format: Hardcover
   Release Date: April 1st, 2014
   My Rating: 3.0 out of 5.0

     Salvage is a 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. This is literary science fiction with a feminist twist, and it explores themes of choice, agency, rebellion, and family.

     Ava, a teenage girl living aboard the male-dominated, conservative 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.

     This is a sweeping and harrowing novel about a girl who can't read or write or even withstand the forces of gravity. What choices will she make? How will she build a future on an earth ravaged by climate change?

     Named by the American Booksellers Association as a Spring 2014 Indies Introduce Pick.

My Review:

    Salvage, this book wasn't what I had thought it'd be at all. While it was good and I thoroughly enjoyed the novel, there was something off that took away from the uniqueness of the whole experience. I enjoyed how it took a space odyssey and twisted it to something far different and whole worldly. However there was something that kept nagging me for more. I wanted to know what happened to Ava, I wanted more out of the novel and frankly I was hoping for more for Ava.

     The story picks up with Ava and her sisters or possibly orphans, not sure really, but Ava is the head of a group of them. She is in charge of the animals on the whole ship, it isn't that ideal but she wants to learn something different. She wants to be an engineer or fix things as they say, but at the same time, she isn't allowed to. Only men hold certain jobs, and so out in the open there's a whole big sexual repression or segregation. Further Ava is told she may be bride to an ally ship and a possible friend. However things don't end up the way they are supposed to.

     What caught me off guard was in the book the women were okay with be pretty much mothers for multiple children and being part of a polygamous relationship. I mean, one captain of a ship could have tens of wives, and his whole ship could be his children or slave labor of men and women. I figured some angst or notion to speak out more than what was there. I mean one person felt sorry for Ava and helped, but the rest were more than happy to obey the orders (even if it did make them sad). I didn't understand why that was.

     When Ava scapes she happens to board a ship with a postal worker of sorts. Kinda like galactic UPS,  however the force of gravity causes her whole body to feel like it's constricting and dying. I love that portion of a book, the gravity sickness is something I never really thought about. If you are born in space and have no concept of what gravity is or have ever felt it, I can only imagine the first reaction of feeling that force pulling you down.

     After that the whole story is Ava's growth. Which I don't understand completely. She is used to being catered to and knowing her place, so when she's faced with a similar choice or a family and friends that started to worm their way into her heart, she makes a rather foolish choice. While I don't think it would be easy to try to merge both lifestyles, and try to keep both, and yea it's probably too much to ask of the person, but that's how the novel ends, and it literally baffles me. Had she gone, asked for help, and asked to keep her friends and family, the book would have been a good deal shorter.

     The world building in this book was exceptional, and while at times I reread portions to fully understand all the detail coming in, it was just great. I applaud Duncan for that. While the world is earth and whatnot, there was enough different and futuresque that it made it all new again. I didn't understand how the city worked or functioned, it was more of a mess trying to follow it at times, which isn't saying much aside me being picky.

     I have to say I am happy with how the book went, but I was looking to see how her story ended. Just as you start watching her grow and mature, and a budding romance starts the book ends. I know that frankly it's a decent ending, but there are so much more that could be there, it's almost like a sequel was supposed to go there but got removed. I curse you duncan for that. I am not saying it's a bad book in that aspect, just something that got me a little disappointed, but overall I was happy with the book. It's a great unique read and I love how it was told and the growth.
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