3 out of 4 stars
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Adrift by Charlie Sheldon is a story that follows a crew that must abandon their ship in the midst of a raging sea and stormy weather. They attempt to survive in the most deplorable of conditions with little hope of making it out alive. The story is told through multiple points of view, so we get the perspectives of those fighting for their lives as well as their family and friends as they attempt to locate the lost crew.
While reading, his wording and terminology makes it apparent that Sheldon knows what he is talking about and has experience aboard ships. Not only does this help make everything far more realistic and vivid for the reader, it adds more stress to the intense moments. The characters are written as experienced sailors, and even with that experience the horror still overtakes them and they all struggle to survive in their conditions.
The multiple points of view also helped tie the story together. At first I wasn’t sure why there were so many perspectives, but it soon became apparent that they were necessary due to everything that occurs within these pages. In order for the story to unfold properly and for the ending to make sense, we needed those perspectives of those who were not at sea, otherwise we would be left confused and uncertain as to why and how certain events occurred.
But, while there were benefits to these multiple points of view, I feel like some of the subplots within the story did not add much overall. The main focus of the book was on the burning ship, the lost crew, and the tugboat crew trying to acquire the ship. All of those were smaller plots that pertained to the big plot. But there were a couple of other aspects of the story that just didn’t quite flow. It certainly related to the companies and people involved with the main ship, but when I was reading these sections all I was thinking was that I wanted to get back to the main purpose of the book, back to the intense and heart-racing moments.
The other potential problem that arises when writing from multiple points of view is that you need to give each character their own distinguishing voice. This helps make them recognizable and helps differentiate between whom the chapters are focused on. Unfortunately, this was not done very well as most characters sounded the exact same and were overall flat and lacking in personality. Each of them certainly had their defining characteristics, but these were told to us rather than shown to us.
Overall, the main plot of Adrift was captivating and had a lot of intense moments where we’re unsure of how many of them could possibly survive. Because of this, I rated this book 3 out of 4 stars. It was lacking in some areas, which was why it did not receive four stars, but was entertaining enough that I did enjoy this read. It also seemed to be relatively well-edited; I did notice a few small errors, but they were rare and didn’t hinder from the overall read. I would recommend this book to sea and ship-lovers as well as those who are not well-versed in ship lingo, as it doesn’t hinder from the read if you don’t understand it. It is intense, action-filled, and does include some religious and cultural aspects.
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