Salvation Day by Kali Wallace

(Last Updated On: August 6, 2019)

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

Salvatio Day coverA lethal virus is awoken on an abandoned spaceship in this incredibly fast-paced, claustrophobic thriller.

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.

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My Review

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.

Salvation Day by Kali Wallace ARCThe 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.

spacer_wLet’s go on another adventure together!


  1. Tammy

    August 6, 2019 at 10:32 AM

    I had a lot of fun with this too. And I HATED Adam. I thought he was more of a caricature than a real character:-)

    1. Kal

      August 19, 2019 at 4:56 PM

      Adam was literally the worst, and I agree that he felt more like a caricature than a character! I think he stuck out so much more because the rest of the characters were all so… solid?

  2. BookerTalk

    August 6, 2019 at 1:15 PM

    Im not very familiar with science fiction but i imagine that the world-building is one of the most critical aspects. Get that wrong and you’ve lost your audience?

    1. Kal

      August 19, 2019 at 4:57 PM

      You are absolutely right, at least for me as a reader! If the worldbuilding is poor or confusing, I am just not going to enjoy it at all.

  3. sepiareads

    August 6, 2019 at 4:04 PM

    I don’t think I had heard of this book before reading your review. Your review has definitely made me want to read this as it sounds like something I’d like. Great review!

    1. Alys

      August 14, 2019 at 10:35 PM

      This seems great! This looks like another interesting sci-fi to read.

    2. Kal

      August 19, 2019 at 4:57 PM

      Thanks so much, and I hope you do enjoy it if you do pick it up — this one hasn’t gotten much buzz that I’ve seen in the bloggersphere!

  4. marydrover

    August 7, 2019 at 6:07 AM

    So glad to hear you enjoyed this! I had it preordered because I absolutely love Wallace’s previous books, and I’m hoping to read it this month!

    1. Kal

      August 19, 2019 at 4:58 PM

      AHHH I hope you enjoy it! This was my first Wallace book and I definitely want to read some of her other work… do you have any recommendations?

      1. marydrover

        August 19, 2019 at 5:04 PM

        I thoroughly enjoyed her middle grade, City of Islands. It was so magical and charming and well done. For YA, my favorite of her other two is definitely The Memory Trees. It’s got some hard-hitting topics, but Wallace writes them with grace, and the hints of magical realism are excellent.

  5. Kelly | Another Book in the Wall

    August 7, 2019 at 9:04 AM

    Great review, Kaleena!! Horrors aren’t quite my thing, but I do love thrillers – particularly, those in space! I’m very intrigued by the idea of this claustrophobic atmosphere!

    1. Kal

      August 19, 2019 at 5:06 PM

      Thank you so much Kelly, and this one is a thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat! There is something about those closed atmospheres, trapped in a derelict ship in space with something DANGEROUS, that I just really enjoy reading. There isn’t much horror in this one, so you might enjoy it!

  6. TheCaffeinatedReader

    August 7, 2019 at 9:16 AM

    Space THRILLER?! YES! I loved your review and I”m a fan of creepy reads………… *sighs as she goes to Goodreads*

    1. Kal

      August 19, 2019 at 5:06 PM

      MUAHAHAHA, I have claimed another victi- I mean, another successful recommendation!

      1. TheCaffeinatedReader

        August 20, 2019 at 2:06 AM

        VICTIM, we know the truth! lolol

        1. Kal

          August 21, 2019 at 12:09 PM

          You saw nothing!

  7. My Vacation Books – Michelle likes things

    August 8, 2019 at 11:06 PM

    […] awesome time away from home! These books have all been recommended to my by friends like Anniek and Kal, I’m so excited to see if I’ll love them as much as they […]

  8. AhanaRao

    August 14, 2019 at 10:49 PM

    Oh I haven’t heard of this book but omg it sounds super intense! Loved your review Kal! ♥️

    1. Kal

      August 19, 2019 at 5:42 PM

      Yea I haven’t really seen this book advertised much, but it deserves more attention than it is getting! Thanks for reading, Ahana

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