4 out of 4 stars
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Adrift is a poignant and suspenseful novel and the second book in the Strong Heart Series created by Charlie Sheldon.
On board the container ship, Seattle Express, Capt. Steve Procida wakes up from the general fire alarm an hour before dawn in early December. The ship is 100 miles from the nearest land, southwest of the Queen Charlotte Island. Before fire and smoke completely overwhelm the crew, the captain sounds the alarm to abandon ship. The twenty members of the crew board two lifeboats and go adrift on one of the worst waters in the world, in the most terrible month of the year.
Now, the race is on between an old tugboat, Warhorse, and the high-speed tugs sent by the owner of the Seattle Express to salvage the burning vessel. Whoever gets a line on the Seattle Express, claims her, and brings her to a dock has a solid claim, and the Warhorse needs the money from the salvage claim to stay on business.
Meanwhile, two lifeboats are adrift on a raging sea.
Told alternately between third-person and first-person perspectives of Capt. Steve Procida and Myra, this is an action-filled and thriller novel with sixty-three chapters. While the main theme of the book is survival, the author features multiple subjects including love, friendship, manipulation, financial collapse, and physical disability, among others.
Scenes are vividly and graphically described that reading feels like watching a three-dimensional film. Suspense is kept in high level and suspenseful scenes, which take place either at sea or in the wilderness, are alternated between calmer scenes on land. This technique gives the story a kind of balance. Though there are too many intense parts within the entire book, the climax still feels dramatically satisfying.
The author creates a set of well-developed, relatable, admirable, and endearing characters. My favorites include Steve, the caring captain of Seattle Express and a loving father, Travis, the impulsive wire splicer with a natural hunger for good story, and Sarah Cooley, the enigmatic teenager with unlimited optimism.
The best part of the book, for me, is the depiction of the strength of the human spirit. The book shows that the ones that survive are those who hold on for as long as they could. This is true for Steve, for Pete and some others.
Needless to say, I enjoyed this book a lot. It is touching, moving, suspenseful, and absorbing. Readers may find themselves holding their breaths or with their mouths agape. I even stopped reading at one point because the scene was too intense for me. However, some readers may find the nautical terms a bit frustrating. I, for one, had to google a few words including ‘coaming’ and ‘bitts’. Moreover, there are some questions left unanswered while other parts are left to the readers to contemplate on.
I love everything about this book except for some errors which are, thankfully, very few. I therefore, rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. It is enjoyable and entertaining. I recommend it to readers who enjoy adventure novels.
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