Salvage by Alexandra DuncanSalvage by Alexandra Duncan


byAlexandra Duncan

Paperback | September 1, 2015

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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. Internationally bestselling author Stephanie Perkins called it "brilliant, feminist science fiction."

Ava is the captain's daughter. This allows her limited freedom 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. But instead, betrayal, banishment, and a brush with love and death are her destiny, 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. An Andre Norton Award nominee.

Alexandra Duncan grew up in a small town in North Carolina and now lives in Asheville, North Carolina, where she is a librarian. This is her first novel.
Title:SalvageFormat:PaperbackDimensions:544 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 1.23 inPublished:September 1, 2015Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0062220152

ISBN - 13:9780062220158


Rated 3 out of 5 by from A fast-paced, science-fiction adventure with a feminist flair! I'm quite torn by this book. Despite my three star rating, I really did enjoy this futuristic exploration of survival on Earth. Salvage follows the escape of Ava, a young woman aboard the merchant spaceship, Parastrata, who is sentenced to death by her crew. In a male-dominated environment, the Parastrata women are treated as unfit, obedient housemaids, with the sole purpose of performing chores and providing children. Although Ava harbours the natural ability of a mechanic, such tasks are restricted to men, forcing her to suppress her knowledge and, instead, tend to farm animals. Aside from being a story of survival in a corrupted society, Salvage is also a story about a young teenager learning and embracing her choices as a female, despite the messages ingrained from birth. But, here's the thing: The world was utterly confusing. Salvage immediately introduces a variety of terminology with zero explanation, which even after reading paragraphs multiple times, I could not comprehend. After reading the language used in different contexts, I was better able to understand the parallel to modern day words, but because of this, the beginning of the story was extremely confusing. And while some phrases resembled poorly written English, others were overly simplified to the point that was equally as confusing. As to why there are humans living in space, Salvage never really provided a clear-cut explanation, aside from the notion of wanting to remain pure. Aside from accepting trades, association with Earth is frowned upon, especially by women, and I'm not quite sure how, or why, this started. With this being a futuristic setting, I'm confused as to what caused society to travel to space and revert back to archaic customs by obliterating the opportunity for women to use their brain. Thankfully, although the romance features a love triangle, both love interests were respectable. The relationship between Ava and Luck, a neighbouring crew member, was a completely unrealistic representation of love, however. I was more in favour of the slower burn relationship with Rushil, a boy she encounters after her escape on Earth. In fact, I enjoyed all the characters met on Earth. Each, in their own way, lead Ava in a more positive direction, one that allows her to strengthen her self-worth. The moments on Earth, which make a large portion of Salvage, were my personal favourite, especially the descriptive scenery of Mumbai. I do think more explanation could have been provided of Earth, though, as I am still confused about the living conditions of certain areas. But, even after all that, I'd still recommend Salvage. Despite being a long book, I was continually interested in the story and characters. I thought the ending contained a perfect message, as well, and I am definitely looking forward to the companion novel, Sound.
Date published: 2016-03-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Right So, voice that sticks to your ribs This book came to me exactly when I needed it. I was on a feminist jag for fiction where I was liking my romance turned down low and my who the fuck am I as a girl in this world turned on high. Though at first glance I may have totally passed this book by, if I hadn’t won it from an agents blog and one of my all time fav authors Kiersten White hadn’t been subtly or not so subtly poking at it on her tumblr, saying OMG go read this now, maybe not to me specifically, but it felt very directed. This is the underdog of awesome and amazing books I have read recently, and if I could put this in every girls hand out there, I would. Trust me, you need this book. This book is full of the internal conflict, of who am I? Except she doesn’t outright ask that. Instead it’s this slow journey of things happening around her, and her sitting in observation of it, and knowing that she doesn’t really fit in where she started, but not knowing any other way either. Then of being disowned in a most cruel fashion and going on the run and ending up saved in a place she never saw herself. In this new place, this new beginning, these are her baby steps, her falling and crawling, and learning in a safe environment. And then, it’s bang on to the next change that is happening to her, not of choice, but of circumstance. In the third part of the book this is really where she takes agency. Once again she has help along the way, but this is where you really see her coming into her own. Making decisions, facing her past, learning really who she wants to be. The ending. What I loved most about the ending is that it comes full circle and she turns it down. Where she is at right now is so far beyond what she thought she wanted at the beginning. We can see the juxtaposition of how what she wanted in the beginning would have been an improvement on where she was at, but when it comes to the ending it would be a step back from where she is currently. Magnificent!!! The language at first threw me off, and it didn’t stick until my second stab at the book, but oh did it stick. What I had first thought of as simple off kilter language, and crappy world building, turned out to be the cornerstones of what I loved so much about this novel. The language seeps into you and becomes this beautiful poetic simple and yet lilting voice for the novel. The world building takes such a vast scope and boils it down to what she is touching, and it is all these fine threads woven into her tapestry. The only negative I will say though is this, the cover and the jacket copy do not do this book justice. While I understand both better now that I have read the book, neither of them are effective in getting me to pick up the book in the first place. Instead I suggest reading PW review on the authors blog. This book takes a look at a future society that has spaceship crews who have created this mythos for their lifestyle and have relegated the women back to the kitchen and the birthing beds and taken away their education. It is patriarchy and polygamy, and it had my gut rolling. But Ava, oh Ava, how I loved your transformation. How I loved that first love doesn’t have to be last love. How I loved that even as you observed your life happening around you, and even though the changes where thrust upon you, you still came out the other end a better, more whole version of where you started. The plot was not to rid the world of what had happened to you, but for you to come to terms with it. It was quiet and beautiful and an introverted kind of read. This is the book that I wish everyone would read this year. This is the book that hasn’t had enough buzz. This is the underdog that deserves the spotlight. Go forth Salvage, and be saved.
Date published: 2015-03-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautiful writing with a strong female main character Morgan, a so girl who lives on the ship Parastrata, doing chores that women need to do. Cooking, cleaning, taking care of the small ones. When her father arranges a marriage between her and one from the ?ther ship, she makes a mistake. Seeing her childhood crush, Luck was a mistake because does something that is scandalized and has her cast away from the ship forever. Will she be able to pick up the pieces and move on with her own life? How will she when all she knows is the ship life? Women are meant to be breeders, to serve the men. They also don't think or read. But Morgan wants these things. She wants to solve problems and become a fixer. Having a character that is so thoroughly innocent and grows up to be stronger and independent is just wonderful to see. When the Epic Reads ladies said these would be A renaissance culture set in the deep turn of space, Salvage is one incredible journey. Unique and fulfilling, I thought it was beautifully written.
Date published: 2014-10-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not what I expected Growing up in space on a ship named Parastrata, Ava tries to be a good, obedient girl even though her interest lie in areas that are forbidden to girls. She lives in a society where men are pilots and mechanics while women are cleaners and cooks. When it's announced she is to marry, she has hope her new life will offer more freedom but making assumptions soon has her running for her life and seeking safety in a place she was taught to fear: Earth. This turned out to be a pretty quick read. I wasn't quite sure what to expect since the write-up doesn't go into much detail. The blurb also compares it to Across the Universe, which I didn't enjoy much, so I was a little nervous going into this one. I did end up liking Salvage more than Across the Universe but I found I had a hard time getting emotionally invested in Ava's journey. In the beginning, when the story was on the spaceship, I was really enjoying it but when the plot shifted to Earth, it didn't capture my attention as much. Ava was a pretty good main character but, as mentioned, I found it hard to be invested in her journey. There were times when her struggles were realistic and understandable but other times when I was just frustrated at her. The language and her beliefs were interesting but I wish there had been more of an explanation, especially with the language. Maybe the finished version will have a glossary? I really liked the side characters and wish they'd been more present. At times it felt like they were there merely to prop up Ava's story but they all had makings of their own, interesting stories. It was a lot less science-fiction/dystopian and more about Ava's journey of growth. Overall a solid debut. *I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Date published: 2013-12-04

Editorial Reviews

“Debut author Alexandra Duncan portrays a patriarchal civilization eerily reminiscent of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale….Duncan’s fast-paced narrative and original settings—from the Parastrata to the Gyre (a floating garbage mass in the Pacific) to Mumbai—will keep readers riveted.”