4 out of 4 stars
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I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I accepted the opportunity to review this book and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. Adrift by Charlie Sheldon has it all... adventure, action, romance, drama, and history. It’s a story with flawed characters that have issues and problems like the rest of us. They are not perfect, textbook characters and that makes them so much more interesting and relatable. Throughout the book, there is a strong underlying theme focussing on the concept of the underdog. Rooting for the underdog draws the reader further into the story as you celebrate and commiserate with characters as they face each new challenge. The author bravely tackles many issues common today such as sexism, ageism, racism, loss of culture, struggles for those with disabilities, small vs. big business and protection of historic/ anthropologic sites all of which fit well with the theme of the underdog.
The story takes place along the Pacific Coast, more specifically, along the Strait of Juan de Fuca and around Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) in present time. It follows the events that take place after disaster strikes on the Seattle Express, a freighter, on a return trip from Russia. The plot focuses on the rescue of the freighter and crew by Warhorse, an old tug boat and its makeshift crew.
The author uses perspectives from various characters in different settings to tell his story. The reader gets the first hand experiences of the Seattle Express crew and Warhorse tugboat rescue team, as well as the reactions from their families and other team members waiting back at home. This approach gives depth and added interest to the story by providing additional supporting story lines. The story is also enriched with details of the Haida culture by the inclusion of their oral traditions and sacred ceremonies.
What I liked most about the book were the little unexpected twists and turns in the story. Each of the main characters had multiple challenges to face and just when you thought you knew what would happen next... surprise, an unexpected outcome! It kept me on the edge of my chair, excited to find out what would happen next. My least favourite part of the book was how technical it was in regards to all things nautical because I don’t really know anything about ships etc. The unfamiliar nautical terms caused some confusion and I think a diagram of the Seattle Express explaining some of these terms would be very helpful and would aid the reader in envisioning events on the ship.
This book will appeal most to readers interested in action and adventure, survival/rescue, and modern nautical genres. That being said, those are not my favourite styles of books and yet, I found this to be an excellently written book and a thoroughly enjoyable story. There were no obvious errors, grammatical or other leading me to believe that this book has been professionally edited. For these reasons, I give this book, Adrift by Charlie Sheldon, a rating of 4 out of 4 stars.
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