Salvage by Alexandra Duncan was so much more than I was expecting. It was exciting, sad, happy, and adventurous. Ava, the main character, develops excellently from who she is at the start of the book to the end, and is very likable. Strong-minded, she defies the odds set against her. We also meet other characters such as Perpétue, and her young daughter, Miyole (whose names I still cannot say properly), Rushil, Luck, Soli, and Llell.
The setting of the book, much like Ava, is very different from start to finish. Ava starts out on a man-run ship in space where the women have no rights, and it has a very 1800s vibe. It made me sick and very angry to read about that kind of treatment and how brainwashed the women seem to be.
The action starts about three chapters into the book, after a big scandal hits Ava. Soon her family banishes her, and she has to find help on Earth. Once on Earth, Ava must search for a long, lost family member, an aunt. In her adventures to find this relation, Ava encounters many obstacles that test her mentally and physically. When Ava finally finds this family member, she discovers many secrets about her mother’s family and is introduced to a posh society. In the end Ava grows into herself, and even faces her fears.
There is a good balance between action scenes and calm scenes in Salvage; both have the power to hold the reader’s attention. The setting after Ava leaves space is not what readers see often, as most young adult futuristic books seem set in the United States. This one is not. There is a drastic change in Earth—Ava starts off living with Perpétue and Miyole on an island of plastic garbage. If you are into action stories, you will love this book; if you are into futuristic books, you will love this book. Even if you are into books of self-discovery, you will love this book. But, if you are looking for romance, turn around, because, sadly, Salvage is not that kind of story. Even with its lack of romance and steamy scenes, the story came together in such a fantastic, creative way. Once you read this, if you are like me, you will be begging Alexandra Duncan for more.