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Salvaged by Madeleine Roux

Salvaged by Madeleine Roux is a good example of fast-paced, diverting science fiction. It does have its faults, but that does not mean one cannot enjoy a good, old-fashioned space drama. After all, humankind does not change no matter how far from Earth we might voyage.

Rosalyn makes for a solid main character. Her determination and unwillingness to give up offset her faults. The trauma in her past may trigger some readers, but Ms. Roux does not go into explicit details about the event. Instead, she focuses on Rosalyn’s fear, shock, and outrage at what occurred. As Rosalyn wrestles with her past and the messy events she faces, you cannot but help admire her resilience and intelligence.

And yet, the mysterious fungus threatening Rosalyn and all of mankind is a bit too similar to the protomolecule from The Expanse for comfort. It not only shines as a blue filament but it also grows and corrupts everything it contacts. It even creates a hive mind, much like how the protomolecule operates.

In addition, it feels as if Ms. Roux resolves one-half of Rosalyn’s problems too soon and too easily. On the one hand, I can see why she did that because to continue that aspect of the story would bring nothing but repetition. However, the resolution she uses seems so obvious and so easy that it is unsatisfying. Maybe my thoughts on this show influence by The Expanse series, which is nothing but one creative and shocking event to another. In that series, even easy answers are complex and unusual. So, to obtain a resolution to a problem that is as simple as the push of a button feels unfinished.

Another niggling issue I have with Salvaged is that we never receive an adequate understanding of the connections between corporations involved in the event. Ms. Roux fails to thoroughly explain each organization and how it fits with the others, nor do we understand the levels of involvement of each, including the company for which Rosalyn works. While a clear-cut picture of the relationships and aims of each organization may not be essential for the story’s resolution, it does help clarify motive and execution in such a way that it, in turn, clarifies Rosalyn’s place within the events.

For all its faults and similarities to other beloved books, however, I did enjoy Salvaged. For a short while, it took me away from the drama of the pending inauguration and helped me forget my own problems. The issues I had with the story were annoying but not enough to detract from my overall enjoyment of the story.

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