Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Blog Tour Review and Giveaway: Salvage by Alexandra Duncan


Welcome to the Salvage blog tour! I'm honored to be on the tour of such an awesome debut! Check out my review, and be sure to enter the giveaway! And don't forget to visit the other tour stops! :)



Salvage by Alexandra Duncan
Publisher: Greenwillow
Publication Date: April 1, 2014
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Official Summary:

Salvage is a 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. This is literary science fiction with a feminist twist, and it explores themes of choice, agency, rebellion, and family. 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? Named by the American Booksellers Association as a Spring 2014 Indies Introduce Pick.

What I Liked:

I honestly was not sure if I would enjoy this book for several reasons, but I am really glad that I ended up really liking it! At first, while reading the beginning, I was like, there is NO WAY this book and I are going to get along. But Duncan has constructed a really beautiful novel!

There are several parts to this book. The first part is spent on the Parastrata, a merchant ship that flies in space. There is a society living on this ship - in fact, Ava has never NOT been on the ship. But trouble brews when she is given away as a bride, to a male on the Ă†ther ship. She hoped it would be her childhood friend Luck (and he hoped so as well). They do something unforgivable, and everything falls apart. They are separated, and both are to die. But Ava escapes, and ends up on Earth.

The next part deals with Ava's adjustment to Earth, away from her ship, from her lost love Luck. She is taken in by a lovely woman and her daughter (the daughter's name is Miyole). She meets a boy named Rushil. She searches for her mother's sister. She learns to read and write (poorly, but she learns somewhat). But where does she belong?

At first, I HATED the first part, the beginning, on the ship. I hate the society on the Parastrata! It's sexist and totally debilitating for women. Women can't learn to read or write or be anything except laundresses and farmers. They are married off to the man of their father's choosing. Oh, and it's a polygamist society. No no no. So, I really did NOT like the society. I thought I would hate this book.

BUT, that's just it: Duncan does an AMAZING job of building and creating the society on the Parastrata. It's obvious that readers are supposed to hate the sexist society (unless you're a sexist, then I suppose you'll enjoy the first part - disgusting). I even thought I hated Ava, because she has no spine or backbone or willpower. BUT, then I realized: this is just how brilliant Duncan's writing is. Ava can't see fault in her society. She can't see how women have no rights in her society. She can't understand, because she doesn't know better. Ava doesn't have that seed of rebellion that many dystopia novels feature (not that this book is a dystopia). She only comes to change her way of thinking because she is forced out of her ship, and she goes to Earth (which was literally the LAST thing she wanted to do).

So, yeah. I loved the worldbuilding and the writing style. Duncan does a really good job of creating the world on the Parastrata, as well as life on Earth. It's polluted, dirty, garbage-filled, and there are definitely environmental themes in this book. YAY for that! And Duncan's writing style is really flowing and lovely. Sometimes it seems a little dry and boring, but it definitely fits the story.

The story is rather long and drags a bit, because you feel like nothing is happening. However, I like the journey - it's Ava journey, her discovery of who she is as a woman, as a real person who is appreciated for her talents (and not her ability to make children). It sounds cliche to say that this book was all about a character's quest to find herself, but in this book's case, it's totally accurate. Sometimes, I can understand the excessive length, because many, many scenes are necessary, to show Ava's changing views and growth as a character.

The romance is pretty obvious, in this book. There aren't too many males in this book, especially males around Ava's age, so when you spot this one guy, or this other one, or this other one, it's pretty obvious that he will be a potential love interest. I will say that there are two - I already mentioned Luck and Rushil. But there is NOT a love triangle in this book - not in the physical sense. The romance is important, because it shows that Ava is capable of making her own choice for herself.

Feminism is a pretty big thing in this book. Ava comes from a very repressive society, where there aren't many males, and the males that are present have many wives and many children and all of the knowledge, strength, and power. But when Ava goes to Earth, she is shown how awful and messed-up her society is. She learns of choice and empowerment, which is really important. I like the strong presence of feminism in this book, but it's also really subtle. 

Overall, I enjoyed the plot of this book, Ava's journey. This book is great as a standalone, so I hope it stays that way. The worldbuiling is probably the best/most well-done part of the book. I hope that if others read this book, they enjoy and appreciate the undertones and themes of the novel! 

What I Did Not Like:

This book is very long, and sometimes, you really FEEL the length of the book. Meaning, sometimes I felt like this book was unnecessarily long. Length usually doesn't bother me, when the book is really engrossing. AT TIMES, this book was not engrossing enough, so the length was daunting. I think Duncan could have cut this one down by maybe fifty pages (or more), honestly. 

Otherwise, overall, I was pretty happy. Make sure you read what I said about the beginning of the book, on the ship. I HATED the society on the Parastrata, but it's that necessary evil that you hate, but at the same time, you totally appreciate it how WELL Duncan builds it and MAKES you hate it.

Would I Recommend It:

I would recommend this book mostly to science fiction fans. If you're looking for an amazing, heartstopping romance, try something else. If you want constant, nonstop action, try something else. If you want a heroine with a backbone from start to finish, try something else. My point is, this book is NOT for everyone (like every book, but this one definitely is not). Science fictions will appreciate this one, and fans of feminist literature. It's an excellent (debut) novel!

Rating:

4 stars. I enjoyed this book! It is truly a remarkable debut novel (though that sounds really cliche), and I'm glad I had the opportunity to read and review it. 


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!


About the Author:


Alexandra Duncan is a writer and librarian. Her short fiction has been published in several Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy anthologies and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Her first novel, Salvage, is forthcoming from Greenwillow Books in April 2014. She loves anything that gets her hands dirty – pie-baking, leatherworking, gardening, drawing, and rolling sushi. She lives with her husband and two monstrous, furry cats in the mountains of Western North Carolina.

Representation by superagent Kate Schafer Testerman of KT Literary





The Giveaway:


Follow the rest of the tour:

Week One:
3/24/2014 - IceyBooks - Interview
3/25/2014 - The Eater of Books! - Review
3/26/2014 - Fiktshun - Guest Post
3/27/2014 - Two Chicks on Books - Guest Post
3/28/2014 - Nerdophiles - Review

Week Two:
3/31/2014 - A Book Obsession - Interview
4/1/2014 - fangirlish -  Guest Post
4/2/2014 - The Book Monsters - Review
4/3/2014 - Owl Always Be Reading - Review
4/4/2014 - Tales of a Ravenous Reader - Interview

38 comments:

  1. What a great review, Alyssa! I've been kind of scared of the length of the book, but, with what you said, I think I'll manage it. :) Seriously, I'm so excited to see how well-built the world and society are, since that sounded like the most intriguing part of the book anyways. I love the idea that an author can create a world you hate without hating the book, and I love a heroine who isn't necessarily awesome from the beginning, but grows.

    I'm so excited to read this now! :D

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    1. Thank you, Rachel! I don't know if you've had a chance to read this one by now, but I hope you read and enjoy it! This author definitely has talent, so I cannot wait to read more novels by her.

      Happy reading!

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  2. This is a book that has intrigued me since I first saw the cover, which I adore. Length of books doesn't usually bother me, so I think considering all the positives in your review, this book and I will get along just fine :)

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    1. Excellent! The cover is great. I hope you enjoy it when you read it, Jillyn! Thank you for reading my review ^_^

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  3. This book looks really good! Great Review :)

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  4. As always you wrote a fantastic and honest review Alyssa, and I know that I'm gonna enjoy the book for sure! (science fiction fan - check, feminist - check!).
    It's also good that I'm now warned about the pace and the length, so I'm going in forewarned and knowing what to expect! Thank you!

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    1. Thank you sooooooooo much, Pili! I know you love your science fiction. And yes, you have been forewarned! You're very welcome :D

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  5. I LOVE Sci-Fi genre, and I already have an arc copy of this one, but somehow I always decide to read another book instead of this one because of the length. But, I'll have more time next week, so maybe I read it then. I'm really glad to hear that world-building is done well. I always feel like that's the most important part of the book. Great review!

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    1. Woot woot! I hope you read it and enjoy it, Anatea, if you have not already! It might just be up your alley. Thank you!

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  6. This book looks really interesting! I hope to be able to read it someday soon! Great review :)

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  7. Serious gorgeous cover love and a new science fiction read to look forward to, yay!

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    1. Right!? New science fiction! I hope you read it, Tammy!

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  8. Sounds good!! I love reading especially on the beach relaxing.

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  9. Sadly, I didn't enjoy this one as much as you did (the writing was just too lengthy and drawn out for my taste), but I'm really glad you ended up enjoying it! Thanks so much for sharing Alyssa, and, as always, fabulous review! <3

    ~ Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf

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    1. I'm so sorry to hear that! Thank you for reading and commenting on my review, Zoe. I appreciate it!

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  10. Thanks for the giveaway. I would love to win one and read it. :)

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  11. Ooh yay glad you liked this one! When I first read this one, I somehow managed to skip to the halfway point on my Kindle so I was so confused because I was all like, "Wait why aren't thye on a ship what?" and that totally ruined my groove for the actual beginning (I never got past the first chapter because it just felt weird) but yay for the wonderful world building of the ship-life! I may actually try and go back and read this one :)

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    1. Huh! That is so weird. I'm sorry that things didn't work out for you, after that jump. BUT, if you do go back and read it, I hope you enjoy it!

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  12. Such a gorgeous cover, can't wait to read! (:

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  13. I'm so excited for Salvage! I've seen some mixed reviews, but I'm glad you enjoyed it! The cover is so pretty too.

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    1. I'm glad my review is one of the positive ones you've seen! And yes, I LOVE the cover :D

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  14. Salvage sounds amazing and I love the cover!!
    Thanks for the chance to win!

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  15. Thanks for the great review! I've been hearing a lot of good things about this book and can't wait to read it!!

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    1. You're very welcome! Hope you read and love it!

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  16. Love the cover! Thanks for the chance to win!!!

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  17. I felt this was long too, and it did change a lot from start to finish! Glad you enjoye most of it though ☺

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    1. Awww, I'm sorry to hear that! Thank you though, Sarah :)

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  18. I really want to read this book! I'm so glad you enjoyed it!
    And I really understand when you feel a book is so long and you wish there was a little less pages, it happened to me with The shadow prince by Bree Despain.
    Anyway, thanks for your review, I'll check it out!

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    1. I hope you read and love it, Lis! I also read The Shadow Prince, and I think it was pretty lengthy, but I liked it.

      You're very welcome! Happy reading!

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  19. UGH, I wanted to like this book. Really I did. And for the first part of this (really) long book, I did enjoy it. But, it's when she lands that I started to have problems. I'm not sure honestly. I just felt that the book lost direction. As much as I hated the society that was on the ship, it was intriguing. I felt emotion when reading this. I lost all emotion after she landed. Maybe had the writing been 'tighter', I could have struck around emotionally. I'm not sure. Well, that was all over the place. Sorry for the rambling!!

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    1. I'm so sorry that you didn't! And I see what you mean - things change when she comes down to Earth. It does get a little scattered, and now that I think about that, I wondered at all the different directions that the author took this story.

      You're good! I like rambles ^_^ Thank you for the lovely comment!

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