By: Melanie | March 26, 2014 | (22) Comments

DNF Review: Salvage by Alexandra DuncanSalvage by Alexandra Duncan
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Genres: Dystopia, Science Fiction, YA
Pages: 520
Source: Received in exchange for review
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Ava, a teenage girl living aboard the male-dominated 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, in this 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.

Ava is the captain's daughter. This allows her limited freedoms and a certain status in the Parastrata's rigid society-but it doesn't mean she can read or write or even withstand the forces of gravity. When Ava learns she is to be traded in marriage to another merchant ship, she hopes for the best. After all, she is the captain's daughter. Betrayal, banishment, and a brush with love and death are her destiny instead, and Ava stows away on a mail sloop bound for Earth in order to escape both her past and her future. The gravity almost kills her. Gradually recuperating in a stranger's floating cabin on the Gyre, a huge mass of scrap and garbage in the Pacific Ocean, Ava begins to learn the true meaning of family and home and trust-and she begins to nourish her own strength and soul. This sweeping and harrowing novel explores themes of choice, agency, rebellion, and family and, after a tidal wave destroys the Gyre and all those who live there, ultimately sends its main character on a thrilling journey to Mumbai, the beating heart of Alexandra Duncan's post-climate change Earth.

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DNF at 27%

After the recent bad luck I’ve been having with all genres other than contemporary, Salvage is no exception. So after just a little over a fifth in, I decided that there is probably no point. And by the looks of my friend’s reviews, I am correct. Duncan is by no means a bad author. In fact, I quite enjoyed her writing–it’s very sophisticated yet easy to read through. Nonetheless, a series of major turn-offs in the first few chapters cemented my decision of DNFing this.

1. The names. This was like my warning bell. A little quibble that resulted in more and more as the story progressed. So in the sci-fi/dystopian world that Duncan has created, the characters’ names are something like: “Luck Be With Us On This Journey” and “Solidarity With The Stars”. Just because it’s a dystopian novel does not mean that people are going to have lines of a poem/song for their name. It miiight be possible but c’mon, that’s getting unbelievable and WTF-ery.

2. The jargon. Imagine painting a house but you’ve never seen one before. There is someone telling you to draw a roof, walls and windows etc but you have no idea what roofs and walls and windows are and how to draw those, either. You are lost and frustrated. And finally, they explain: draw a triangle and two small squares in the large square. In Salvage, there’s immediately jargon and weird terminology coming into play which felt suffocating. It took quite some time to work out what the characters were referring to and made it even harder to get “into” the book.

3. Stating the obvious.Β This has happened quite a few times when I was reading Salvage. The characters really loved stating obvious things or things that pretty much everyone on Earth already knows. Here’s just an example:

“Your hair looks darker when it’s wet,” Luck says.

No SHIT. Everyone’s hair looks darker when it’s wet.

4. Instant-love.Β So the book opens up with our main character, Ava, who is going to get married. She believes it will be to her friend’s brother, Luck–she’s only met Luck once, but has grown a crush on him. So one night before the marriage, she bumps into Luck and after just a few minutes…they have sex.

Like what. Why. I do not compute.

I do not recommend this book as I found it a waste of time–especially since it’s a whooping 520 pages (and certainly does not need that many.) But of course, if you don’t mind instant-love (and a love triangle further along the track, apparently), jargon and odd terms, not to mention pretty unlikable characters, go for it.

~Thank you Greenwillow Books for sending me this copy!~

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Melanie

Owner (and crazy nut) at YA Midnight Reads
Melanie is one of the totally fabulous bloggers at YA Midnight Reads. She's a 16 year old student from Melbourne, Australia. She is normally found binge watching TV series, reading , blogging, procrastinating or fangirling about how Percabeth is the best ship ever. She's also a lover of caps lock and uses it excessively.

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22 Responses to DNF Review: Salvage by Alexandra Duncan

  1. I am so intrigued by this now! And you’re right about not being alone, I took a look at Goodreads and heaps of friends have also DNF’d it, but a lot of non-friends have rated it well, so it seems to be a book that divides!
    The Bookish Manicurist recently posted…Side Effects May Vary by Julie MurphyMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Yeah, but I never really rely on the reviews of other people who aren’t my friends for some reason–all of them didn’t have much luck, yikes

  2. Jasprit says:

    I have this book coming up pretty soon and honestly I don’t know what to think, there are a couple of weird moments like you mentioned, especially regarding the instant love :O but I’ll keep you updated with how I get on!
    Jasprit recently posted…Special Guest Post with Sarah AldersonMy Profile

  3. I’m kind of officially crossing this off my TBR. *sigh* Those reason….no. I just…no. Luck sounds like such a bright peanut. But it’s mostly the jargon that scares me. I just finished the Bones Season and flopping heck I had NO IDEA what they were talking about 90% of the time. I just couldn’t get into it at all. Plus 500+ pages?? WHY.
    Cait @ Notebook Sisters recently posted…Night Vision by Ella West + Fabulous GIVEAWAYMy Profile

  4. Oh dear, sad to hear this was another that was a flop. Thanks for the honest review Mel, I appreciate it!
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…The Last Girl & The Last Shot by Michael Adams Reviews: Thought Provoking Aussie YAMy Profile

  5. The names ..LOL and if the jargon is not explained it can be difficult to immerse yourself in the story. So sorry this one didn’t work out.
    kimbacaffeinate recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday #59 -Mystery, Paranormal and HorrorMy Profile

  6. Oh boy. I thought this wasn’t my kind of book to begin with, but now I KNOW it isn’t. Sorry you didn’t enjoy it, Melanie. Great honest review!
    Lisa @ Lost in Literature recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday: Boomerang by Noelle AugustMy Profile

  7. Kelly says:

    This sounds strangely like Across the Universe, These Broken Stars mixed in with every other dystopian oppressive storyline you’ve ever read. They sound like the author has given them really strange tribal names, like Girl Who Not Like Book. Just for the captain obvious references alone I couldn’t read this one, bit like water being so wet, fire being hot, and crap books being used as door stoppers.

    Thanks for the super entertaining review Mel πŸ™‚
    Kelly recently posted…Grim Anthology by Various AuthorsMy Profile

  8. I never added this to my list, but I’m definitely not now. I saw snippets of your review on Goodreads and now here and well, it doesn’t sound good at all. Those names would have annoyed me, they had them in the host and that seriously frustrated me, so much rage! And that whole sex thing, like, whut? What is going on? Nope. Forgetting this book I think, but I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy it Mel. If you’re stuck for a good book that isn’t contemporary, maybe try Dark Star by Bethany Frenette? It’s a strong book and might be worth a shot πŸ™‚
    Amanda @ Book Badger recently posted…Book Review – If I StayMy Profile

  9. Wow, definitely doesn’t like the best book. I think I’d get really annoyed by all the jargon too and sleeping with someone you’ve only met once before? Umm…no.
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday – Bookish Bucket ListMy Profile

  10. Sigh… I have this one for review and I am going to skip it. I have no patience for bad books these days. Thanks so much for the warning. The names would totally grate on my nerves!
    Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings recently posted…Audiobook Review: Written in Red(The Others #1) by Anne BishopMy Profile

  11. Ack! Insta-sex. That’s what it was! And what’s up with the names. Eugh.

    It’s true, in sci-fi dystopian, jargons do put me off when it’s used with vague or non-existent explanations. It becomes frustrating to read, like reading school books about science with all those sciency jargons. So sorry this book sucked for you, but I don’t see myself picking this up.
    Dre @ Sporadic Reads recently posted…Book Review 148 : Maybe Someday by Colleen HooverMy Profile

  12. Zoe N. says:

    Yep, yep, yep! I completely agree with everything you’ve said here Melanie! I was tempted to DNF it as well, but I kept reading in hopes that it would get better. Let’s just say that you made the right choice… πŸ˜‰

    And ugh! The instalove was SO annoying! (And later into the story it actually becomes – I bet you didn’t see this one coming! – a love triangle! πŸ™ )

    And the names! LOL…don’t even get me started!

    Thanks for sharing Mel! Hopefully your next read is better! <3
    Zoe N. recently posted…AshfallMy Profile

  13. Oh noes, the name is long?!?! πŸ™ x30! I hate it when that happens. But ew on 4. o_o Fast romances make me cringe and run away (like Graceling and a few others).
    Sophia @ Bookwyrming Thoughts recently posted…Ways to Survive Marleybone ~ A Very Random GuideMy Profile

  14. What is up with the names, I cannot comprehend that either. It sounds like a book I just DNF’d either for mostly the same reasons. Hope your next read is better!
    Joy @ Thoughts By J recently posted…DNF Review: Betrothed by Wanda WiltshireMy Profile

  15. Oh man weird naming conventions always get to me weird. I’ll be reading this anyday now – I wonder how I’ll feel about it ahhhhh
    Tabitha the Pabkins recently posted…Review: The Enchanted by Rene DenfeldMy Profile

  16. Paij Slater says:

    It is always such a bummer to me when I get a book, that I just cannot finish. I appreciate your honest review though! Thanks!
    Paij Slater recently posted…SHATTERED EMBRACE PROMO BLITZMy Profile

  17. You’re really not having much luck lately, are you? And go contemporaries! Those names are really interesting but in the way that “North West” is an interesting baby name – not quite in a good way. I REALLY hope you read some good books soon πŸ™‚
    Emily @ The Loony Teen Writer recently posted…Book Review: Where She Went by Gayle FormanMy Profile

  18. 1.) Oh man are you serious? The names are like these? Why? What’s the use of having poetic, long names? It doesn’t make sense now and I’m pretty sure has heck it won’t make sense in the future.

    2.) I have a feeling I won’t be able to appreciate the jargon much as well. It would confuse the bejeezus out of me and I don’t know if I’ll be able to control myself from flinging it out the window.

    3.) LOLOL. Next thing you know the girl is toothbrushing and she still gets asked what she’s doing πŸ˜€

    4.) Okay that bit about insta-love and then sex with Luke? No, just no. That really doesn’t compute at all. Man, I have a feeling this book and I won’t be getting along.

    Sorry this was a disappointing read, Melanie. You did convince me not to read it though. Thanks for taking one for the team <3
    Faye @ The Social Potato recently posted…ARC Review: The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa – The whining has ended!!My Profile

  19. Melliane says:

    I’m sorry for this one, at least you tried a good part of it.

  20. Just after a few minutes, they have sex? Wait, is this adult erotica?! <.<
    Wendy Darling recently posted…Discussion: The Luckiest Girl + April book announcementMy Profile

  21. Glass says:

    I DNFed this one too for the same reasons, but I didn’t even bother to mark it on my GR shelves.
    Glass recently posted…Mini Review – Unravel by Calia ReadMy Profile

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