Review: Salvaged by Madeleine Roux

In this dark science fiction thriller, a young woman must confront her past so the human race will have a future.

Rosalyn Devar is on the run from her famous family, the bio-engineering job she’s come to hate, and her messed-up life. She’s run all the way to outer space, where she’s taken a position as a “space janitor,” cleaning up ill-fated research expeditions. But no matter how far she goes, Rosalyn can’t escape herself. After too many mistakes on the job, she’s given one last chance: take care of salvaging the Brigantine, a research vessel that has gone dark, with all crew aboard thought dead.

But the Brigantine’s crew are very much alive–if not entirely human. Now Rosalyn is trapped on board, alone with a crew infected by a mysterious parasitic alien. The captain, Edison Aries, seems to still maintain some control over himself and the crew, but he won’t be able to keep fighting much longer. Rosalyn and Edison must find a way to stop the parasite’s onslaught…or it may take over the entire human race.

Salvaged by Madeleine Roux. Audiobook edition published by Penguin Audio, October 2019. Narrated by Emily Woo Zeller. Run time is 12 hours and 3 mins.

Roux is an author I enjoy a lot, even though (until Salvaged) she is a YA author. Young Adult novels aren’t really my thing, but I find them much more tolerable when there is less romance and more horror. I have been reading Roux’s Asylum series, which I find very fun. When I first heard she was working on a new novel for adults, I was very intrigued. When I finally got a plot description of said book, I was basically already hooked! I’m not a huge sci-fi fan either, but I LOVE sci-fi horror and some space alien parasite / abandoned space ship sounded super epic to me. I could not wait for this book to come out. I was not disappointed!

This book was a lot of fun. There were so many things I liked about it, I’m not sure where to start. 😀

I enjoyed all the characters in Salvaged. I’ve seen a lot of reviews saying how the characters were uninteresting, flat and one dimensional. *shrug* I honestly don’t get that at all. The whole main cast had depth, even the crew members who had lesser roles. You get a taste for what their lives were like before this cluster fuck on board happened to them. I thought the author did a very nice job of showing passion and emotion with them. Each person, in different ways, struggled with what was happening to them. It was interesting to see what they used to try to fight off the invading parasite. Each crew member dealt with it in their own unique way. Watching these people struggle, made you have all the feels! I wanted them to survive. I wanted them to keep fighting. And I was sad when they couldn’t anymore. Even the bad guys were tragic and emotional.

Roux created a very diverse cast of characters, especially the main cast. Several of the main characters are people of color, with the main character, Ros, being of Indian descent. I can’t even remember the last time I read a US horror book or sci-fi book where the main character was Indian (or is it India?) American (not Native American, but actually from India), if ever? That is a severely underrepresented minority in fiction it feels like. Other main characters are Asian-American, Italian, Muslim, and a few LGBTQ+. I thought that was pretty cool to see so many people being represented like that.

I absolutely love the plot of Salvaged. Nothing says creepy like going to clean up an abandoned space ship, only to find it’s not abandoned and there is some sort of icky alien fungus, the Foxfire, growing all over the ship and crew. Gross. D: We get some truly lovely descriptions of the nastiness going on in the ship. Not to mention the way it is damaging people. It was pretty entertaining watching Ros try to figure out what had happened, why the Foxfire was in the ship, and where it originated from. There were a few small predictable parts here and there in the plot, but it didn’t matter. The tension and suspense was too gripping to be upset about a few twists being spoiled. I found myself on the edge of my seat, waiting for Ros to come to the same realizations with what all was going on.

Whether dealing with the demons of their past, or the main villain, Mother Foxfire, the underlining theme to Salvaged is of surviving abusive relationships- family, friends, work and loved ones- and never giving up hope. Never stop fighting. Even the title reflected this theme. Don’t let your past control your life. In the words of the wise Kesha, “Don’t let the bastards hold ya down.”

The audiobook was narrated by Emily Woo Zeller. She did a really solid performance on Salvaged. Accents, gender and age were all on point. The older scientist legit sounded like an old woman. Ros had a slight British accent, Piero had a heavy Italian accent. Very well done. I was pretty impressed. Zeller is normally very good at her job, and this one really showed off a lot of range.

I seriously don’t get all the negative reviews. I was highly entertained the whole time. Super fun plot, creepy story, high tension, strong characters, evil corporations, gross alien parasite. What more could you want from a book?? 😮 Oh well, to each their own I guess.

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