Salvage by Alexandra Duncan
Lovers of Science Fiction and dystopia will find this debut novel a satisfying read, if a bit long. As the story opens, readers meet Ava, the daughter of a ship’s captain living in an claustrophobic, sexist society aboard the Parastrata merchant deep space vessel. She unwittingly makes an unforgivable mistake with the son of another ship’s captain, and she is nearly executed before barely escaping to the Earth town of Gyre from the local space port where they are docked. Everything she’s been told about the home planet is terrifying, they call it “the seat of our woes.” They tell the children the Earth is filthy, disease-ridden and overpopulated, that they are lucky to be on a merchant ship, even if they have few options as girls. So when her great-grandmother Iri sacrifices her own life to help Ava escape, the sixteen-year-old walks onto the planet penniless, unable to read or write, and nearly unable to take care of herself in the hostile environment. Luckily, she’s taken in by the woman who helped her run at the spaceport, and her real adventures begin as she acclimates not only to the real gravity on Earth, but to a completely new life with new rules and expectations.
I found this book to be an engaging read, although a little long. I especially liked the way debut novelist Duncan developed her characters–they felt true to life and I think teens would find them easy to identify with. I would recommend this title to ScFi/dystopia fans, and readers who liked Beth Revis’ Across the Universe Trilogy and Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me books.
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