Alexandra Duncan’s novel, Salvage, is a well written and engaging story. Salvage differs from the current trend of young adult post-apocalyptic science fiction. Duncan’s novel is set in the future, and the Earth has changed, yet life continues as a matter of growing and living; no games. I really liked the main character, Ava; she is fresh, innocent, full of curiosity and wants to learn, yet clings to tradition as she feels she should.
This is a strange and realistic future world that Alexandra Duncan has created in her novel Salvage. Within her novel, Duncan has created two worlds. There are the orderly, disciplined, established societies aboard deep space merchant ships. The merchant ships’ populations are ship colonies; few of the residents within these colonies ever leave their ship and fewer still go planetside (as in to Earth). Then there is the reality and chaos everywhere else where life continues as a constant struggle for survival and where people continue to live free in their attempts to live honorably.
Salvage begins aboard the deep space merchant ship Parastrata. Generations have been born and have died aboard this ship. Ava is the daughter of the ship’s captain. Her status as the captain’s daughter gives her little freedom within the strict patriarchal society on the Parastrata. As a girl, Ava can only do women’s chores such–caring for the animals, working the kitchens, and such, until the day she is married, and then she will continue chores when she is not producing offspring. Yet Ava has an inquisitive mind and wants to know how things work. A meeting with members of the merchant ship Aether shows Ava that not all societies run as strictly as hers. However, this meeting also leads to her fall from her society and her decent to Earth.
I found Salvage an entertaining and worthwhile read. The novel flows evenly at a good pace. Ava changes and grows throughout the novel. She was a fun narrator to follow and cheer for as her life and circumstances changed. The ending, though a tad expected, was satisfying, rounded, and seemed perfect to this story.
Nina Longfield is a writer living in Oregon’s fertile wine country. When she is not reading or writing in her spare time, Nina enjoys hiking in the hills surrounding her cabin.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Greenwillow Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.