Sunday, February 22, 2015
Book talk: Ava dreams of Earth, but she has never set foot on solid land. She lives on a Crewe ship where everyone knows their place and there's plenty of work to do. She longs to learn how to fix things or go down to Earth, but that's men's work. Women have their own work like tending animals and children or cooking and doing laundry. The other women tell her that the longing for Earth and other things she can't have will go away once she gets married and starts having children. As the captain's daughter the odds are good she'll make a fine match--maybe even as a first wife. But just when everything seems to be coming together disaster strikes, and she has to flee everything she has ever known for the perils of a life on land.
Rave: How could I not be intrigued by the premise of polygamists in space? Reading about this society with its mythology and social constructs was fascinating in and of itself. And that's just the beginning of the fully developed settings Ava lives in. For a while she lives with a single mom in a house on stilts over a giant mass of garbage in the Pacific Ocean and later she spends a good deal of time in India both in the slums and a posh suburb. Being able to compare and contrast these very different settings and the characters that populate them was one of my favorite parts of reading the novel. The characters are as richly layered and diverse as the settings and had a way of staying with me. The overall effect reminded me of the TV show Firefly. It's set in the future and largely in space and there are aspects that are advanced and shiny but a lot of it is gritty and hasn't changed much from today. Moreover I loved the unconventional way romance is dealt with in the novel and how long it takes for Ava to come to terms with her past. Character growth is slow and there are no magic wands to fix her problems (which just keep coming at alarming speed.)
Every book its reader: I'd give this to fans of gritty space dramas like Firefly and readers drawn to rich settings with well-rounded characters. The romance gets pretty intense especially at the beginning of the novel and there's a fair amount of violence and disturbing situations Ava finds herself in. I'd say it's best for 8th grade and up.
Bait & hooks: outer space, competent adults, feminism, protagonist of color, economic diversity, set in a foreign country (India), moral ambiguity, strong characters, strong world building, gritty setting, unconventional romance
Alexandra Duncan has her own website subtitled "Science Fiction. Fantasy. Feminism." love it!
Source: ebook from public library
Salvage by Alexandra Duncan: buy it or check it out today!