Publishers: Orbit/Audible Studios
Publication Date – 5 June 2018
For this review I will be looking at Adrift by Rob Boffard, a book I listened to a few months ago, but which I did not get a chance to review at the time. With the end of 2018 fast approaching, I decided to do a quick review for this book in order to clear my review schedule for the new year.
In the far reaches of space, a group of tourists board a small vessel for what will be the trip of a lifetime – in more ways than one…
They are embarking on a tour around Sigma Station – a remote mining facility and luxury hotel with stunning views of the Horsehead Nebula.
During the course of the trip, a mysterious ship with devastating advanced technology attacks the Station. Their pilot’s quick evasive action means that the tour group escape with their lives – but as the dust settles, they realize they may be the only survivors . . .
Adrift in outer space, out of contact with civilization, and on a vastly under-equipped ship, these passengers are out of their depth. Their chances of getting home are close to none, and with the threat of another attack looming they must act soon – or risk perishing in the endless void of space.
What initially drew me to this book was the pretty cool-sounding synopsis above. I had not read anything from author Rob Boffard before, but a story featuring a group of mismatched passengers attempting to survive out in space with only a small, poorly equipped ship sounded like an intriguing read. After enjoying Adrift, I think I might check out Boffard’s Outer Earth series in the future.
Adrift turned out to be a pretty compelling read, featuring a great story in space. While the action was a little lighter than your standard science fiction read, this is more than made up for by some powerful drama as the characters deal with the stresses of their situation. There are also some thrilling intrigue elements as the protagonists attempt to unwrap the difficult situations inside and outside of the ship, as well as one particularly shocking and unexpected moment in the middle of the book. There were a few good action sequences as well, including several epic flight scenes, and a memorable spaceflight featuring a little old lady.
This book is primarily a character-driven story, as the story mainly focuses on the passengers aboard the tourist ship. Each of the various characters gets decent coverage in this book, with a particular focus on the three main point-of-view characters and the two secondary point-of-view characters. After the first few chapters, my initial impression of all the characters in the ship was, ‘What a bunch of losers and arseholes!’ The passengers of the ship are made up of several abrasive characters who initially seemed to overshadow most of the other characters, including two timid main point-of-view characters. However, as the book is explored further, the background of all of the characters is explored in some detail, and the reader gets an idea of why some of the characters are the way they are. The events of the story help develop these characters further, and by the end the surviving characters are all much more likeable. I was impressed by the emotional range that Boffard was able to write, and the various reactions to the situations about the tourist ship came across as quite realistic.
I ended up listening to Adrift in its audiobook format, which was narrated by Katie Scarfe. The audiobook runs for a little bit over 15 hours, so readers need to invest a bit of time in getting through this book. I thought that Scarfe did a good job with her narration, coming up with a number of good voices for her distinctive characters, and moving the story along quickly. Scarfe had a bit of work to do with the primary cast of characters, as not only did she have to do Russian, Irish and British accents, as well as several random accents the ship’s computer system blurted out through the course of the book, but she also had to do a range of ages across both genders, from a young male child to an elderly lady. Fortunately, Scarfe was able to produce pretty good accents for each of these characters, and it was possible to get an idea of gender and age with the various narrations. I also thought she did a good job capturing the range of emotion that flowed from her characters, from despair to anger at their situation. Overall, the audiobook format is a great way to enjoy Adrift, and I would recommend it for those who prefer to listen to their books.
Adrift by Rob Boffard is a clever and fairly captivating read that makes great use of its character-driven storyline. This was a good standalone novel, and readers will find a lot to enjoy with this intense science fiction read.