Sunday, April 20, 2014

Salvage by Alexandra Duncan

Genre:  YA Science Fiction

Description (taken from Goodreads):
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.

Ava has lived her life on a ship ruled by men.  She cooks, cleans, sews, and takes care of the livestock.  What she doesn't do is see the outposts and worlds the ship visits; that job is for the men.  But when a wedding deal is struck, she leaves her home ship for another.  And since the women are to know absolutely nothing, she makes a mistake by assuming she's marrying a boy from her childhood.  This assumption leads her down a path with no turning back.

After running away from her home ship, Ava finds an ally in Perpetue, a mail shipper.  Perpetue helps her escape by bringing her down to Earth.  Ava has only known Earth as something that infects and sickens people.  When she finds a thriving world there, her eyes open.  There's life outside her ship, and it's not as male-domineering as her ship was.  As Ava learns to navigate this new world, she learns more about her history.  But with this new knowledge, will Ava be able to choose the life she wants?

It was the "male-domineering" phrase that made me hesitate with this book (and the 520-page length).  I am so sick of male-domineering books; I think we need to see some books where women rule (and men have to clean the floors with their toothbrushes).  But this book is more than that.  It's pointing out a closed-off society set in a future science-fiction world.  We have plenty of closed-off societies in our current world; it's very easy to see the parallels.  Back to the book, as big as this book was, I feel like it didn't cover enough of Ava's life.  It follows her as she learns about her world, herself, and her past.  And believe me, she does a lot of growing.  I truly felt for her character and saw the heartache in her choices.

But...  Back to how I mentioned that this book wasn't big enough.  It does an excellent job of setting the background and the landscape.  But it changes so frequently that I'm left questioning things.  Like what was the point of the ship Ava grew up on?  And what happened in the past that made the women willing to submit (trust me, I'd be leading the women rebellion as fast as I could)?  It feels like important details were glossed over.  But in the end, it doesn't really affect the main point of the story.  This is a book about a girl growing, coming to terms with who she is, and deciding where she wants to be.  And then add the futuristic space setting to it.

In the end, it's a good story.  A really long book that I think would've done better as a trilogy with more explanations (me and my explanations - but hey, I want a complete story).  Gasp, it's my first standalone novel in a longtime, and I wish it were a trilogy or more?  What's wrong with me?  Anyways, I'd say pick the book up if it's got your interests...

Thanks goes to Around the World ARC Tours for providing me a review copy.

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