Thursday, March 27, 2014

Review: Salvage by Alexandra Duncan

Thursday, March 27, 2014 with 9 comments

Title: Salvage
Author: Alexandra Duncan
Series: stand-alone
Publisher: Greenwillow books, HarperCollins Children
Publication Date: April 1, 2014
Source: received from publisher via Edelweiss
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Add to 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 is the captain's daughter. This allows her limited freedoms and a certain status in the Parastrata's rigid society-but it doesn't mean she can read or write or even withstand the forces of gravity. When Ava learns she is to be traded in marriage to another merchant ship, she hopes for the best. After all, she is the captain's daughter. Betrayal, banishment, and a brush with love and death are her destiny instead, and Ava stows away on a mail sloop bound for Earth in order to escape both her past and her future. The gravity almost kills her. Gradually recuperating in a stranger's floating cabin on the Gyre, a huge mass of scrap and garbage in the Pacific Ocean, Ava begins to learn the true meaning of family and home and trust-and she begins to nourish her own strength and soul. This sweeping and harrowing novel explores themes of choice, agency, rebellion, and family and, after a tidal wave destroys the Gyre and all those who live there, ultimately sends its main character on a thrilling journey to Mumbai, the beating heart of Alexandra Duncan's post-climate change Earth.

This is one of those books where falling for the cover did not work in my favor. It’s gorgeous, right?! It practically screams, read me!! When I read the description it said it would appeal to fans of Beth Revis’s Across the Universe. I love those books so I thought I couldn’t go wrong reading Salvage.

I was wrong, oh boy was I wrong. I normally devour books with sci fi elements but Salvage was just so confusing. I didn’t understand the world. The whole story, I didn’t get it. I thought maybe I’m missing something. I re-read some chapters in hopes I’d get my footing but it was a lost cause. All the weird names of things may have contributed to that too. Normally that stuff doesn’t bother me, but this time it did.

Ava is your main character and only point of view. She’s the captain’s daughter so she has a few more freedoms than other females. The females are pretty much only good for making babies and doing chores. That’s the mentality on her father’s ship. When she learns she’s being traded in marriage to another ship, she’s optimistic. Overly so and it gets her into a world of shit. The reason for her banishment was the best part of the book, I was amused for sure. Way to be naïve. Never assume in life… that’s a great lesson here.

So right away I didn’t like Ava much. She had some smarts about her but not where it counted. I couldn’t connect with her at all. Add to that, the confusing world building, and I was at a loss. This place she ended up, I still can't picture it in my mind. 

I read fully up to 50% but skimmed through the rest. This one just didn’t work for me unfortunately. Maybe it was more me and not the book? I know at least one other blogger who had the same issue.  It makes me sad because I really wanted to love this one.  Salvage was more like 1 1/2 stars for me, because I didn't hate it but it was very disappointing. :-(

About the author:
Alexandra Duncan
Alexandra Duncan is a writer and librarian. Her short fiction has been published in several
Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy anthologies and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Her first novel, Salvage, is forthcoming from Greenwillow Books in April 2014. She loves anything that gets her hands dirty – pie-baking, leatherworking, gardening, drawing, and rolling sushi. She lives with her husband and two monstrous, furry cats in the mountains of Western North Carolina.

Find Alexandra:

WebsiteTwitter | Facebook | Goodreads 


  1. I've like seen ONE good review for this...bleh. I don't think I'm going to pick it up. And I'm sooo sad because the cover...*weeps for the gorgeous cover* And it's long. Like, heck, 500+ pages usually kills me even if the book is awesome. So yeah, it'll be a skip from me.

    1. Same here Cait! And I should have looked into it before requesting. I really hoped I would love it.. but alas... it sucked. lol

  2. Yeah, I didn't even request this one. I hate when they can't let the merits of a book stand on their own and have to start making comparisons to other books, but I guess in this case it was necessary to garner some interest. But they didn't trick me! :P Sorry this one was such a disappointment...but it appears you're one of many who felt that way.

  3. This is pretty much the general consensus for this novel, so yeah, pass. Pretty cover though. :)

  4. Yep, yep, yep! I completely agree with everything you’ve said here April! I was tempted to DNF it as well, but I kept reading in hopes that it would get better. Let’s just say that you made the right choice… ;)

    Ava was definitely a hard-to-like main character, so I completely see where you're coming from in that sense!

    And I don't think you're missing anything! A lot of my other blogging friends have felt the same way, so I don't think you're alone! Thanks for sharing your opinion though! Hopefully your next read is better! <3

    ~ Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf

  5. Well that sucks, sorry you didn't like it :(

  6. Bummer! I love good Sci-Fi and was looking forward to this one. I appreciate your thoughts so if I do pick it up at least I won't set myself up with excitement.

  7. haha I swear, I'm the only person who seems to have liked this book! Every other review I've seen has rated the book 2 stars or less (and quite a few DNFs too...)
    I guess I can see where you guys are coming from, but I suppose I was just able to ignore some of those flaws that you've brought up- e.g. I thought the world building was really well done and I quite liked Ava as a character, despite not understanding her choices :P

  8. I keep reading reviews for this because I want to like it so much! The cover and the blurb both scream potential, but I've only read one or two positive reviews.

    I can usually get over not connecting to a character, but worldbuilding issues almost always drive me insane.


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