Salvage is a rare sort of book these days in that it's a standalone which means readers don't have to wait around for months, or a year or more to find out what happens next to your favorite characters. Even though the ending is a bit abrupt and perhaps unnecessary since Ava had already made her choices known in which direction she was heading and with whom she would spend her life, Duncan still ties up all the loose ends to make any sequel unnecessary and definitely allows readers to take a breath of fresh air knowing that there won't be any three way love triangles any time soon.
Salvage is filled with an unusual dialect spoken by the protagonist 17-year old Ava Parastrata, and is based on a polygamist society of space faring people who put women into mundane jobs, and makes them simplistic baby makers while boys are shunned and written off because of their Captains intentional gobbling up of all the women on board to make them his wives. As a person who is anti-polygamy, this aspect of the story kind of got under my skin and I was happy to see Ava escape her surroundings despite being nearly killed in the process.
Ava is a character that truly grows from the time we are introduced to her to the stories wrap up. From knowing that she is expected to marry a stranger, to making a phenomenal mistake in trusting someone who gets her in deep kimche and nearly killed, to a young adult who knows what she wants out of life and the best choice of a romantic partner. We watch as Ava goes from being an innocent and naive character unaware about what is really happening around her or her families past and not having the ability to read or write her own name, to one whose head is firmly attached on her shoulders.
In many aspects, Salvage may be considered a coming of age story because of the fact that Ava is thrown into the fire and manages to survive while finding the adorable Miyole, her mother Captain Perpetue who teaches her the love of flying and fixing things while saving her life, to her auntie Soraya who she's never met but takes her in anyway because they are family, and of course, an easy connection to the not necessarily perfect love interest Rushil.
I'm a bit confused as to the proper genre placement of Salvage. Even though Harper's catalog calls this Young Adult Science Fiction, the story could be either dystopia, or science fiction. While Salvage starts and finishes in space, a good chunk of the story takes place in a futuristic earth where mother nature has devastated the planet with intense storms. There are the floating cabins of Gyre which sits on the Caribbean ocean and where we find Perpetue and Miyole, to the city of Mumbai which ends up being the setting of most of the story and where Ava finds her real calling along with true facts about own families backgrounds in space.
Salvage won't be for everyone because of the dialect that Ava uses which really drove a nail through my patience. If I had to actually count the number of times Ava said SO in this book I would have been thrown in jail for belligerency because I screamed in agony way too many times to count. I think readers should use their own judgement whether or not they can fully understand this story without giving up on it totally.
Author - Alexandra Duncan
Title - Salvage
Published by Greenwillow/HarperCollins
Released: April 1, 2014
Genre: Young Adult / Science Fiction
Pages: 520 E Book format