April 15, 2014

Review of Salvage by Alexandra Duncan

Release Date: April 1, 2014
Publisher: Greenwillow
Page Count: 520
Format: Hardcover
Genre: YA/Sci-Fi 

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.

Now, I know that Salvage has gathered a large amount of bad reviews but it has also gotten good ones as well. I found Salvage to be an interesting and fairly well-written novel that lacked in some parts but made up for it in others. 

The beginning of the novel was slow and parts of the middle were as well. However, Alexandra Duncan builds a large world for the novel, from spaceships, to space stations, to a garbage island, and ending with an enormous and overcrowded city that is very enjoyable to read. She describes each part of the world vividly and inserts different characters that fit it into each area. I wish she would have spent some more of the book in space (maybe some other planets) but the parts that we do get are very nice. My favorite part was in Mumbai, a city overpopulated with 170 million people and intersecting with all kinds of cultures and events. No matter which setting the book was at currently I enjoyed the imagery and descriptiveness of it and looked forward to seeing more of it.

Salvage starts off with Ava, the main character sneaking off in her spaceship with some of her friends. Her spaceship contains one of the many small nomadic tribes that stay in space and trade with other tribes. The women are not allowed to go to Earth and are told stories to make them fear Earth and prevent them from doing other things like singing. The tribes have powerful bonds with each other and usually marry some of their people together in  exchange for things like trade agreements and supplies. This beginning part with the tribes was slow and I had difficulty reading it but it was very interesting. My advice would be that if you're finding the beginning difficult just keep on trudging ahead and you'll be rewarded. There are also many secondary characters although most of them you see only in the beginning. Later on, when Ava makes it to the garbage island she meets some additional people and learns to read and pilot a spaceship. When she makes it to Mumbai she meets another boy and a kind of weak love triangle is created between her, the Mumbai boy, and Luck, a boy from one of the tribes in space. Again, the triangle was pretty weak and it was obvious who she would pick. Like I mentioned before, most of these characters you only see once or twice and there are only two-three of them that stick around for the majority of the book.

Another thing that I did not like was that there isn't much of a back story on how Earth becomes the way it is in Salvage. Additionally, I felt that Ava's goal throughout the book was very weak and I almost gave up on the book because it wasn't very interesting. The ending didn't have a cliffhanger and didn't have me excited until the very end, it was an OK ending. However, even though Salvage is a standalone novel there is potential for a companion novel to because the world Alexandra created is very large and only a small amount is explored. 

Normally I would be inclined to give Salvage a 3 or 3.5 but because of the world Alexandra built, the book itself being a feminist YA novel, potential for a companion novel, and the fact that I enjoyed the majority of it I'm going to give it a 4. If you want to read a feminist YA novel or are looking for a sci-fi novel that has minimal action then you might enjoy Salvage.

4/5 - Good book

No comments:

Post a Comment