Salvage by Alexandra Duncan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Summary: 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.
4.5 stars. This was a great read and so much happened that I don't have the time to put it all down here. I will say that I do wish there were more science fiction stories like this in general and in YA & NA in particular. This very much reminded me in tone of A Long Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan. These are the sorts of standalone books that make me wish they had a sequel because the world is so well rendered and the characters well done.
I enjoyed Ava's evolution from her hiding her ability to perform fixes to her banishment and basically being reborn on earth. She had to learn to walk, read, fly a ship and take care of another in her charge after tragedy. And that wasn't even the totality of her journey. She had to find her Aunt Soraya in Mumbai and learn the truth of how she ultimately came to be a part of the community on the Parastrata and what that means for the life she can choose now. I found it all satisfying a read and understood where she was coming from most of the time. I understood her attraction to both Luck and Rushil and understood her decisions regarding them at the end. It didn't feel like there was a love triangle to me and as I loathe those, I'm calling this exceptionally well done. I wanted so much more from Ava but had to remind myself that considering where she'd come from, she was on schedule and probably ahead on exercising her own agency and embracing it. I wished to know more about Soraya and also the camp where the cast away boys from the merchant ships were living. It made me wonder about the government and what sorts of regulations there are with the merchant ships who seem to have human rights infractions across both sexes. This book says so much about different societies, ethics in anthropological research, natural disasters, pollution, population over-crowding, financial stratification in society, personal rights versus group advancement and so much more. It was worth every single page & I could've gone 200 pages more here alone.
If the writer decides to write another book in this verse, I'll be thrilled to read it. Well done.
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