A claustrophobic science fiction thriller set in a dystopian future with vast world-building and nightmare fuel in the form of a deadly and unknown virus.
About the Book
Publisher: Berkley Pub | Release Date: July 9, 2019 | Pages: 320
Genre: Adult, Science fiction | Format: Paperback ARC | Source: Publisher
They thought the ship would be their salvation.
Zahra knew every detail of the plan. House of Wisdom, a massive exploration vessel, had been abandoned by the government of Earth a decade earlier, when a deadly virus broke out and killed everyone on board in a matter of hours. But now it could belong to her people if they were bold enough to take it. All they needed to do was kidnap Jaswinder Bhattacharya—the sole survivor of the tragedy, and the last person whose genetic signature would allow entry to the spaceship.
But what Zahra and her crew could not know was what waited for them on the ship—a terrifying secret buried by the government. A threat to all of humanity that lay sleeping alongside the orbiting dead.
And then they woke it up.
This post uses affiliate links and I may receive a small commission for purchases made through my links at no additional cost to you. Click here for more info.
Narrative style: first person | Perspective(s): dual (Zahra, Jas)
My favorite thing about science fiction is it is a lens through which to view possible futures and explore potential solutions. Salvation Day is an ambitious look toward the future after the Collapse forces humanity into space to find a new home. But beneath the surface, there is so much more to this story.
The world-building is vast; Wallace crafted a fully-realized future for humanity which touches on a refugee crisis, a government corrupted by power and secrets, and a group of people looking for a new home among the stars at any cost. There are multiple layers and motivations to this story, and it was exciting to see how everything connected.
The story is told in the alternating perspectives of Zahra and Jas, giving the reader insight into both sides of the governmental debate. I enjoyed watching the characters grow through the course of the book from enemies to meet somewhere in the middle. Unfortunately, I didn’t really connect with any of the characters (not to mention that Adam annoyed me to no end the entire time) and was most invested in the plot. What kept me reading was the creepy atmosphere and claustrophobic feeling on the Homestead.
The book’s synopsis is not joking with the “claustrophobic thriller” promise. Right when the characters set foot on the Homestead, Wallace set the mood, sense of danger, and mystery of what happened immediately with hundreds of dead bodies floating around the ship. As the group makes their way to the center of the ship, the virus is awakened and it’s obvious that the story the world was told was not the truth. They are trapped on a ship in the middle of space with a deadly virus, and as a reader, you feel the walls closing in. There’s some moments in the book that are legit nightmare fuel.
The narrative is heavy on exposition because there is so much going on in this world, but Wallace managed to balance it well with the action so I never felt too overwhelmed. The story is plotted well and all rising action, the stakes constantly being raised so I was on the edge of my seat while reading! I loved the way that multiple threads came together at the end.
I found this to be a satisfying science fiction story that looks at inequality and the refugee crisis set across the backdrop of space. I’d recommend this to fans of dystopian science fiction.
Representation: lgbtiap+, racially diverse
Content Warnings: blood, death, loss of parents, refugee crisis and inequality
Many thanks to Berkley Pub for sending me an ARC for my honest review. Quotations are taken from an uncorrected proof and are subject to change in final publication.