Captain Matt Spears is used to taking risks. As a smuggler, he’s well versed in skirting the law when it means making good money. And when a man comes to him with an offer he can’t refuse, Matt ignores his gut instincts and accepts the job. All he has to do is let a strange pilot fly his ship to a remote location and facilitate the recovery of an unknown alien object. What could possibly go wrong?
For Ryce Faine, the mission is a personal one. He knows the object his employer has sent him to find could end up saving millions of lives. If only he survives the trip. Between Captain Spears’ audacious flirting, pirates, and Federation ships dogging their every step, Ryce isn’t sure he can finish his mission. But Matt is more than meets the eye and as both men enter a critical game of cat and mouse, they will discover what matters the most.
Adrift is the first in the Staying Afloat series and right away I drew positive parallels between it and the Chaos Station series. Both contain crews of plucky space adventurers who bend the law in exchange for a measure of freedom in space. Additionally, both have fairly strong characters and do a good job of setting up future series additions. And this is all to the good. Adrift has a consistent plot with strong pacing and a real sense of forward movement. There is enough happening on page to keep you focused and wanting more. The stage was set quickly and the pacing never lags or lacks. Ryce and Matt are fairly interesting characters and while we aren’t given their full histories, we are presented with enough to make connecting with them easy. And given this is a series, I suspect more will be revealed about them in future installments. There is no real romance in Adrift. There is a bit of flirting and the creation of an understanding between Ryce and Matt, but nothing more and I really enjoyed this bit. It gives me, as a reader, a chance to experience the evolution of their relationship as another layer to the story, rather than having it dumped on too heavily. I’m more than interested to see how their romance blossoms.
I did have a couple of issues with Adrift. One of the main being that the reasoning behind the retrieval of the alien object is pretty flimsy. It’s the weakest point of the plot and leaves Ryce looking utterly naive and foolish, which didn’t really mesh with his character. This was the only aspect of the plot that felt somewhat forced and contrived. There is a secondary cast that could have used some fleshing out in terms of characterization. I realize they may become more fully developed in further books, but given their importance to this story, I felt they needed some bolstering to be more effective.
I think if you’re a fan of Chaos Station or the television show Firefly, you’re going to enjoy Adrift. It has the same sense of independence and exploration about it that make both of those series work so well. Adrift isn’t quite as deep, emotionally speaking as it could have been and struggles with one aspect of its plot, but I think the series has real potential.