Review: Salvage by Alexandra Duncan

Title: Salvage
Author: Alexandra Duncan
Rating: ★★★

I had really high hopes for this book. I’m not usually into science fiction novels, but the idea behind this one had me really interested. A girl forced to give up everything she knows to have a chance at life in a place that might kill her? I really wanted to read that. Unfortunately, there were just pieces that took me out of the novel.

Ava is the captain’s daughter on the merchant ship Parastrata. Even with her high connections, life for females isn’t great on the ship. They are expected to be quiet, demure, unquestioning girls who do what they are told and don’t hope for anything more. They aren’t taught to read, write, or do math. They are to tend the animals, take care of clothing, and have babies. The men are the only ones who can fix things, who can navigate a ship, or visit Earth. When Ava finds herself facing death, she decides to fight as hard as she can. She ends up coming to Earth and discovering that sharing blood doesn’t always mean family.

Ava tries hard, I’ll give her that. She makes mistakes, but instead of letting them shut her down, she finds a way to deal with the consequences. She’s been prepared for 17 years for a fate of babies and marriage, with little hope for anything else. It’s completely understandable that she has a hard time adjusting to life on Earth, where females aren’t controlled to the same degree, where they can learn and express themselves. She did have some growth when it came to this, but I wish there was a little more shown of her progression. She questions herself so much through the novel and at the very end, she’s changed. I would have liked to see a little more of the in-between moments that made her realize that the life she had before was not for her.

There’s a little romance in this novel, but it’s not the main point. It’s about Ava discovering family, both blood and chosen, and learning how she fits into the world. She leaves behind every person she knows, the people she thought were her family, and she discovers several people who actually care for her. I loved this angle of the story. It highlighted the importance of having people who care, who want to help, instead of people who simply share blood. Family is not completely genetic; it’s the people who love and care for every piece of you, not only the parts them deem acceptable.

I wish there was a little more explanation of the world. There’s a new way of speaking introduced, new worlds created, different cultures everywhere. It took me out of the novel a bit to try and figure all of this out. A little more background would have done wonders, in my opinion, and would have allowed me to enjoy the novel even more.

Salvage is a unique, female-driven science fiction novel. It’s something that can be difficult to find, but when it’s done right, it’s amazing. Salvage comes close to being amazing, but there are a few places where it falls a little flat. A little background and explanation would have made this book near perfection. If you’re a fan of science fiction, you’ll likely enjoy this book. If the genre isn’t usually your cup of tea, Salvage probably won’t be able to change your mind.

If Salvage sounds like your kind of novel, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

Thank you to Edelweiss and Greenwillow Books for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

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