4 out of 4 stars
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Adrift is an action-adventure novel by author Charlie Sheldon. It is the sequel to the novel Strong Heart. The novel kicks off with a riveting chapter-long account of the carrier ship—Seattle Express—being on fire. Told through the perspective of the ship’s Captain, Steve Procida, the first chapter focuses on the crew’s efforts to control the fire and evacuate the ship.
From that point the novel can be split into four main narratives: (1) Captain Steve and half of the survivors of the Seattle Express on the first lifeboat, (2) William and the other half of the survivors of the Seattle Express on the second lifeboat, (3) William’s daughter, Myra, who along with some companions attempt to find and rescue her father, and finally (4) The crew of an old tugboat—Warhorse—who are in desperate need of a big claim, thus attempt to claim the Seattle Express.
First, let us discuss the positives. The first piece of praise I give is to Charlie Sheldon’s ability to write suspenseful scenes that will leave your finger itching to turn over to the next page. An excellent example of this comes very early on in the book, in the first chapter we are given an enthralling account of the fire that has broken out in the ship, it is brilliantly written and the rawness of Sheldon’s style lends to the reader feeling like every character on board is at risk of injury or death. My favourite moment of suspense in the novel came during the chapter involving the crew of Warhorse infiltrating the Seattle Express for the first time, I won’t say anything further in fear of spoilers, but I will say, it was during this chapter that I felt putting this book down was no longer a viable option.
Now perhaps, what was the strongest part of the novel for me was its characters. The story is narrated by a myriad of characters, through alternating point-of-view chapters. Sheldon’s use of this device, coupled with the immense skill with which he wrote every character lends to the reader forming strong attachments to multiple characters throughout the novel. A few stand-out characters to me were Louise, William and Pete. Despite hosting a large array of characters, the author still manages to give a unique voice to each one of them, thus making them all the more compelling. Sheldon also writes his characters with great realism, featuring a diverse cast of characters, in terms of age, physical ability and ethnicity, but above all Sheldon writes flawed characters, my favourite character examples of this was Louise, with her jealousy and William, with his past drinking problem.
As for the negatives, I have little to say in terms of that. My only complaint is that I wished the author had stuck to telling the story in either first-person OR third-person, using the two perspectives interchangeably makes the work seem less polished, however, this is really up to personal preference. The book also seems to be professionally edited, with only one or two errors popping up (as far as I could tell).
Overall, I would have to rate Adrift by Charlie Sheldon 4 out of 4 stars, with the book’s vast amount of positives outweighing the little negative, there is no way I could rate this book any less. I would recommend Adrift to any fans of the action-adventure genre, or anyone who cares to read an enthralling tale with captivating action and compelling characters.
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