by Alexandra Duncan

Genre: YA Science-Fiction
Published: April 1st, 2014
by Greenwillow




Ava, a teenage girl living aboard the male-dominated, conservative 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. This is a sweeping and harrowing novel about a girl who can't read or write or even withstand the forces of gravity. What choices will she make? How will she build a future on an earth ravaged by climate change?


Salvage was one of my more anticipated novels of 2014, and it’s a shame that it didn’t work for me as much as I wanted / expected it to.

Ava lives on the spaceship Parastrata, where women have limited rights and not much freedom. When Ava meets a fellow passenger, Luck, the unexpected happens and she falls in love. Enraged by the fact that she’s fallen in love before she’s been married, Ava is banished to a fragile Earth; where her only choice for survival is to travel to a Mumbai and find her aunt.

I think the writing was my main problem with Salvage. The writing is over-descriptive, making the story and the plot constantly drag.

On top of the book’s wordiness, Duncan also invents a new lingo used by the ship passengers. Unfortunately, this lingo is never explained, leaving me in a perpetual state of confusion.

The world-building is another weak spot in the story, and, even after finishing, I was still left with so many unanswered questions about the world that Duncan created.

  • Why – originally – did these people even go on a ship anyway?
  • How was it technologically possible for people to build ships that stay in space long-term…and are suitable for living?
  • Why is Earth failing during this time? (Global warming is inferred, but besides that, that question is never really discussed in detail.)

To top it all off, there is both instalove and a love triangle.

  • On page 10, Ava meets Luck. Two pages later, she declares she’s in love with him.
  • On page thirty, they have sex together, despite the fact that the following day Ava is Ava’s wedding day.
  • Once Ava is banished to Earth, she meets another guy, who she also claims she “loves.”

Unfortunately, while the premise was amazing, the execution wasn’t nearly as strong. In the end, Salvage just wasn’t for me.


51 thoughts on “Salvage

  1. I finished it, but I actually liked the first part. I liked the Luck angle, and the ship, and feminist angle as well. I liked that part. Then came part two and EVERYTHING changed. I was like, wait, what? No, go back, what about the space things? Then pointless wandering and the other guy shows up, and I’m like no. I ship Ack. AND it lasted forever and ever and ever. I’m glad that I wasn’t the only one with issues with it.

    1. No…you weren’t the only one by a longshot Aly! I think only one or two of my friends who read this actually liked it. But it’s interesting how you enjoyed Part 1 and I didn’t, and you disliked Part 2 and I liked it…somewhat! Odd, huh?

      Thanks for sharing your opinions Aly! It’s always nice to have a fresh opinion from someone who read the book too!

  2. Oh, bummer! The insta-love alone, (page 12?!! wow and another boy on top of that?) puts me off. I’m not into overly wordy or descriptive prose because I find it slows the plot down and then I get bored. 520 pages is a long book unless it’s completely fabulous, and it doesn’t sound like it here. Sorry this didn’t work out for you, Zoe, but you’re review is so much fun! Love how you break it down, and I love the pics/gifs! πŸ™‚

    1. Don’t quote me on that, but, yeah, it’s somewhere around Page 12…lol! πŸ˜‰ But ugh! Instalove and a love triangle? No…just no!

      I’m all for the concise-but-powerful style of writing. (Think of Suzanne Collins. I consider her one of my favorite authors. She’s got such a beautiful prose, yet she never writes more than she needs too. There’s never any extra filler, etc; and I love that about her writing. Combine that with an amazing vocabulary and the power to string words together in the most eloquent way possible and I’m in heaven!). But this? Not exactly the beautiful-but-concise writing I was looking for…

      Aww…thanks Rachel! <3

    1. Yeah…I’ve seen a lot of people who have had similar problems with it, so that’s encouraging to know I’m not alone! πŸ˜€

      Thanks Melliane! <3

  3. While I read this I lol’d and cringed in equal parts. That is not a good thing.

    How disappointing. You’re right, you do seem to be a minority, but all of the reasons you didn’t like this book, are reasons that would make me bang my head against a wall. Why did MC have to LOVE one-night-stand-guy? Why couldn’t she just have thought he was hot, or been rebelling against an oppressive society? And then two blinks later she’s in love with someone else? BOOOOOO. And then there’s the stating the obvious and useless and unexplained lingo . . . I feel like I owe you more than a simple thanks for saving me from all the rage I would have inevitably felt had I read this book (like I was planning to). Awesome review, Zoe, and better luck next time.

    1. No, that is not a good thing. At all!

      “Why did MC have to LOVE one-night-stand-guy? Why couldn’t she just have thought he was hot, or been rebelling against an oppressive society? And then two blinks later she’s in love with someone else?”

      Exactly! Ugh, just ugh. πŸ™

      Aww…thank you Jessica! You always leave the sweetest comments, and it means so much to me! <3

  4. You know what? I think I’m going to skip this one. Only ONE of my friends liked it, and they still only rated it a 3.5 or a 4 or something, sooo with everyone else DNF’ing it or 2 staring it? Nope. Not going there. I don’t think I could handle 500+ pages of being confused anyway. Plus, I trust you. πŸ˜‰ Mwhaha. Isn’t that ominous power?!

    1. 500+ pages of tedious writing and unexplained dialogue isn’t exactly my idea of entertainment!

      I think you’re making a good call on giving this one a miss Cait. In the long term, I have a feeling you’re not going to miss much! (Plus, I have a feeling that the writing just wouldn’t be your thing!)

      And yes…ominous power, eh?! *rubs fingers together*

  5. This book sounds like it sucks and will make me angry and not want to read. It’s stock standard books like this with a dystopian/sci-fi twist that serve as a setting for a lame romance that is ill developed that makes me rage. Thanks for the warning Zoe, lovely review!

    1. Exactly! It seems like 90% of dystopians nowadays aren’t true dystopians…more like romances that are put in jeopardy by “tyrannic governments.” It definitely makes me angry as well!

      No problem Jeann! Thank you for always leaving the sweetest comments! You’re seriously awesome! xD

  6. The insta-love alone makes me want to steer clear of this one, nevermind all of the other extremely valid points you brought up in your review. I think your post was a more entertaining read than the actual book, and basically summed up all I need to know about this one. Pass. Great review!

    1. Ugh…instalove! You’d think authors would have learned by now, right? πŸ™
      Aww…thanks Carmel! <3 That means a lot!
      I think you're making a pretty good call by giving this one a miss - I honestly don't think you'll be missing much!

    1. It does, doesn’t it? πŸ™

      I think you’ve made a good call by giving this one a miss! In the long term, I honestly don’t think you’ll be missing much – LOL!

      Thank you for always leaving the sweetest comments Laura! They always make my day! xD

    1. Phew! Glad it’s not just me who was / would be confused by the unexplained lingo and annoyed by the romance.

      Sorry it doesn’t sound like something you’d enjoy Lauren, but, in the long term, I don’t think you’d miss much if you plan on giving this one a miss!

  7. Love the gifs!
    But yeah, sadly, I’ve seen a lot of people say the same thing about this one. I really like romance when it works and dislike it when the book probably could have been better off without it. Plus the writing sounds tedious, and I lack patience as it is πŸ˜›

    1. Thanks Alise! xD

      Yeah…most of the reviews I’ve read for this one have said the same thing, which is a shame because it has so much potential, but in the same way, it’s comforting to know it’s not just me!

      Yes! It frustrates me when every single book HAS to have a romance; even when one isn’t necessary. It must be some unspoken rule or something…

      It’s definitely a tad tedious, so I don’t think you’re going to miss much if you decide to give this one a miss!

    1. Sorry this one doesn’t sound like your cup of tea Ivana! Definitely not going to blame you for giving this one a miss!

      Thank you for stopping by and for the lovely comment! <3

  8. Absolutely brilliant review, the GIF’s totally made my day. It sounds too much like that book where the girl swaps places with her brother in order to enter the space academy that only allows males. It might have even been called The Academy, that’s just how forgettable it is. This one sounds much the same. Thanks for the honest but absolutely hilarious review. Loved it!

    1. Aww…thanks Kelly! That means so much!
      LOL…yeah, they definitely sound similar – down to how forgettable they are!

  9. Aww no, this book sounded so promising, it sucks that you didn’t enjoy it Zoe. πŸ™ Sometimes we just can’t connect with a character no matter how hard we try as readers hey – it sucks but that’s just reality. Hehe, I just LOVED your use of gifs here, the cat one at the end really had me laughing like crazy and I don’t even know why hahaha. Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts on this Zoe, I think I’ll definitely be giving this a pass! xx

    1. Yeah…it definitely had an intriguing premise! πŸ™
      It’s definitely a shame, because Ava seemed like she could have been such a great character!
      Aw…thanks Joy! Haha!
      No problem! Thank you for the lovely comment! xx

  10. Youch! This sounds just so terrible! I read through all the reasons and they just made me cringe like whaat are you serious? I can understand the confusion if the book doesn’t even bother to explain the new terminologies. Why even make new words if you’re going to puzzle your readers in the end? Was there no glossary at all? :/

    And insta-love… rawr. That alone makes me want to puke. I was planning to read this next week but I don’t feel like it anymore πŸ™

    Faye at The Social Potato Reviews

    1. Exactly! If you’re making up new terminology, the least you can do it is explain it, right?! And, nope…no glossary at all… 😐

      Bleh for instalove, right? πŸ™

  11. LOL. I’m sorry but I am cracking up about that ‘your hair looks darker when it’s wet’ line. WTF?! If a guy said that to me I’d think he was the weirdest, most random person in the world. And someone who clearly has no game haha.

    And yeah, insta-love and a triangle-type situation? Two things I cannot stand. Seriously. I think I’m allergic to them or something because that shit drives me crazy πŸ˜›

    1. LOL…you’re not the only one! πŸ˜‰ So incredibly random and obvious, right?

      Same… 😐 You’d think authors would realize that most readers don’t like them by now, but oh well… πŸ™

  12. Eeek… that insta-love/love triangle things sounds pretty horrific πŸ™ Not to mention it being the primary focus of the story. I don’t think I will last long enough to finish this book at all.

  13. I DNFed this one pretty early on and it seems like I made the right decision. The writing was my main reason I just couldn’t connect to it. The drawn out paragraphs and terms that were not explained. I just wasn’t a fan at all. The romance sounds just terrible, too! :S

    1. Yes…you certainly did Giselle!

      I’m completely with you – she definitely has a beautiful prose, but, yeah, I agree….the way everything was so drawn out and the unexplained terminology was just bleh…so you’re definitely not the only one! πŸ˜€

      And the romance was just UGH.

  14. I DNFed this one as well. ;( I couldn’t connect with any of the characters! Plus, like you said, while the writing was actually beautiful, it was the boring kind of beautiful, you know? I was just so bored throughout the first… 30%? that I didn’t bother to go on. πŸ™

    1. Aww…you’re not alone Aimee! I agree…the writing was definitely the boring kind of beautiful! πŸ™ It was such a bore, honestly! I don’t think you really missed anything by DNFing this! πŸ˜‰

  15. If it’s an author that I’m not already confident with, then 520 pages is way longer than I would like. I don’t mind descriptive writing generally, but I do dislike when those descriptions become boring or excessive. It needs to work well with the rest of the story. It’s a shame you couldn’t really connect with this one overall, Zoe, but thanks for sharing your honest thoughts! I wasn’t too interested in it to begin with, and now I know that it’s definitely one I won’t enjoy. I hope your next read is more promising! πŸ™‚

  16. Oh, wow, this sounds painful! And that quote, β€œYour hair looks darker when it’s wet,” – DUH. I do hate that on books. I don’t mind descriptive narrations, but when you had to state the obvious, it’s just annoying. This one’s really lengthy, over descriptive, huh? I might fall asleep reading this. Thanks for the fantastic review, Zoe! (Albeit it wasn’t an enjoyable read for you.)

  17. Lol! The state the obvious writing was pretty funny especially since I don’t think I’ve ever experienced that much of an obvious statement in a book. Maybe the author needed to take out those parts and maybe the book wouldn’t be so lengthy. Some books like HP don’t feel dragged out even if they have lengthy total pages. It’s too bad Salvage didn’t have the same feel.

    I don’t know if it’s bad that this one focused on feminism but from the summary I would have been confused too when reading the book. I would probably be angry at the situation she was in rather than enjoying the romance side of the story.

    Because of Ava’s circumstances getting her banished I just know I couldn’t deal with her. She makes no sense to me.

    Thanks for the honest review!

    1. Yeah…it’s one thing to be lengthy, but it’s another to be unnecessarily lengthy, you know? Yeah…I was the same!

      Thank you for the lovely comment Adriana! <3

  18. Thanks for the great review, I think I will be giving this one a wide berth, even though I was really looking forward to it. You just saved me some wasted hours thanks.

    1. Thank YOUf or the lovely comment Natalie! <3 It's a shame as this was one of my most anticipated books of the year, but oh well...

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