4 out of 4 stars
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Adrift by Charlie Sheldon, the second book in the Strong Heart Series, is a carefully crafted masterpiece of suspense, action, a touch of magical realism, and a beautiful commentary on the strength of the human spirit.
The story opens onboard the Seattle Express, a cargo ship sailing in the North Pacific. Captain Steve Procida is awakened to a ship captain’s worst nightmare: a fire so devastating that abandoning ship seems the only option. It’s December, the weather is extreme, and the closest land is the sparsely populated and dangerous-to-navigate islands known as Haida Gwaii. Still, in order to survive, the twenty members of the ship’s crew split up between the two lifeboats and abandon ship, set adrift on one of the most dangerous waters in the world.
Abandoning the Seattle Express quickly sets in motion a series of unforgettable events that leave the reader unable to put the book down and cheering for her or his favorite characters. On the one hand is Louise and Larry’s crew aboard the old tugboat, Warhorse, frantically trying to beat Buckhorn’s high-speed tugs to make the claim on the burning Seattle Express. On the other hand is the questionable survival of the crew from the abandoned ship.
The story is told from multiple perspectives and switches back and forth from first to third person, adding a lot of dimension to the characters and making it easy for the reader to become attached to many of these endearing and admirable people. Its themes are of survival, love, friendship, the human capacity to accomplish challenging feats against all odds...and a beautiful dash of magical realism having to do with anthropology and human origins stories. I found that because I read Strong Heart, book one in the series, I was more in the know about this magical realistic side of things. However, I am confident that had I not read it, I would still have thoroughly enjoyed this book.
Of the many relatable and endearing characters, I liked Sarah, William, and Louise perhaps the best. Sarah and Louise for their fierce independence and strength, and William for his calm wisdom and enduring spirit.
The entire story is fantastically written. Scenes and conversation and emotion are vividly developed and described. I found it super easy to become swept away at every turn. I definitely didn’t want this story to end (and so I’m especially excited that the third book is coming out soon!).
I’m sure it’s clear that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is suspenseful, compelling, and tugs at the heartstrings. I think readers who enjoy strong character development, suspense, and adventure stories will absolutely love this book. Because of a small amount of adult language, I’d recommend for young or sensitive readers to proceed with caution. But I overall highly recommend the book! I found a few errors, but all were minor typos (such as “overhead” instead of “overheard”) and didn’t interfere with the flow of the writing in the slightest. I absolutely give this book 4 out of 4 stars and would give it more if I could!
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