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I Belong

Early Review: Salvage by Alexandra Duncan


Author: Alexandra Duncan

Genre: YA Dystopian Romance

Series: N/A

Publication Date: April 1, 2014

Format: Hardcover, 400 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062220144 (Harper Teen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062220141 (Harper Teen)

Reviewed by: Kaitlin


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.

Quick & Dirty: Salvage is a good book, but judging on all the praise in the Amazon description, I had higher hopes and was not very impressed.

Opening Sentence: The morning before our ship, Parastrata, docks at the skyport, I rise early.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Salvage is the story of a girl ostracized from her ship in space. Forced away from her love interest and onto the harsh earth, she must learn to survive the gravity of the planet, take care of an orphaned girl, and learn to love again.

Ava’s crewe has a sort of language that they share, like English with different grammar and wording. At first, the ship’s dialect was confusing. It was hard to get into any of the first chapters because I understood nothing — although I began to see what was happening by page thirty something, before that I was not really getting it. For example, Ava is “so girl”. Since typically “so” isn’t used as a job/saying of respect, you can see what I mean.

Let’s talk about her first love interest, Luck. In my opinion they fell for each other way to fast. They hung out together as young children (smallones) for about a month, maybe less, before Luck disappeared on the Æther with his own crewe. Now they are meeting again, and somehow both of them are still starstuck? It doesn’t happen that way, and no one is in love so much that fast, even if they do believe they are to be married. Their parents, both captains, have supposedly bethrothed them, but still. Ava’s feelings of grief were well done; I just didn’t feel anything along with her. By the end of the book, the only feeling I had for Luck was irritation, and I can’t spoil why for you…

Rushil, on the other hand, I did enjoy. At least their relationship takes more than a few pages to develop! He also has flaws, secrets in his past, and in my eyes it works in his favor: Luck was to perfect, not a very believable character. I’m definitely rooting for team Rushil. I have to say, this isn’t really a love triangle, because the whole book ended with a sense of finality and Ava choosing one of them. This doesn’t need a sequel, though it could have one made, but the plotline was wrapped up nicely with a bow on top.

The whole dystopian setting wasn’t that incredible. Yes, there is space travel. Yes, earth is different from present earth. No, I wasn’t intrigued by its history (which is what a really fabulous future world should do)! My feelings for this book were in no way bad — just eh, the whole way through. The ending was slightly more entertaining but moved rather fast.

Altogether Salvage was an okay novel, but nothing I would reread later on. The cover may be gorgeous but the content didn’t live up to it. I had such high hopes starting this one and I felt a little let down by the end. Perhaps if you don’t have high hopes, you will be impressed? I don’t know, but you might as well try it out. Worse comes to worse, you have a beautiful book cover to display from your shelf!

Notable Scene:

This is different, a slower burn what builds and builds, as if our lips our amplifying the charge between us the longer we stay linked. I never thought anyone would touch me this way again, never thought my heart could carry the charge. I give deeper to the kiss, lost in the unexpected heat of it.


FTC Advisory: Greenwillow Books/Harper Collins provided me with a copy of Salvage. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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One Response to “Early Review: Salvage by Alexandra Duncan

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