Author: Alexandra Duncan
Publication Date: April 1, 2014
I’ve been craving some good science fiction so I picked up Salvage, hoping it would do the trick. I think it did.
A quick summary from Goodreads:
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?
At first, I wasn’t sure if I liked this book. Duncan threw me right in the middle of things and relied on me as the reader to figure out how things work in her world. I immediately had to make sense of the dialogue, the customs, the slang, etc. I ended up appreciating that the author had faith in an intelligent readership, and I managed to settle into the world after a while.
The heart of this story, to me, seemed to be about a girl making her own way in the world. On the ship, the only home she’d ever known, women had a certain place, certain rules to follow, and very few and specific things that were expected of them. When she breaks away from that – not by choice – she has to find out how to adjust to a whole world of new and terrifying possibilities. Ava’s growth and exploration is gratifying to read about, and I was definitely digging the feminist themes in the book. The slogan on Alexandra Duncan’s website is “Science Fiction. Fantasy. Feminism,” which I could definitely tell from reading Salvage and which also makes me want to give her a high five.
This was a fabulous sci-fi adventure. There were multiple sides to every character, the book was suspenseful in all the right places, and Duncan really did immerse me in her world, like I mentioned before. I would recommend this book to readers who like kick-ass female protagonists (which should be everyone, really), and also especially to fans of the Lunar Chronicles – I think this diverse, deep, multi-faceted sci-fi has a lot in common with Marissa Meyer‘s works.
Salvage isn’t the best science fiction book I’ve ever read – the overall writing style left some things to be desired – but it was a great science fiction book, which definitely counts for something.
4 stars out of 5.