Pros: Fascinating premise
Cons: An 80s depiction of military
Rating: 4 out of 5
K.R. Griffiths’s Adrift (the first book in the Adrift series) is quite good. I wasn’t as fond of his Wildfire series, but I expect I’ll read the next book in the Adrift series.
In Adrift, a large number of people are on the cruise ship Oceanus. It’s huge, and even includes an on-boat park. However, four brothers, Herb, Edgar, Seb, and Phil Rennick, plan to serve the entire ship up on a platter to three ancient monsters. It’s part of a pact between their family and the ancient “vampires”, where the humans periodically serve up victims to be the vampires’ food and toys. And the vampires have very dark impulses indeed. They can get into a person’s mind and completely mess that person up.
Meanwhile, there are other people on that boat who come into play. Dan is agoraphobic, but fighting his panic attacks to come on this cruise as a honeymoon with his new wife, Elaine. Herb is one of the Rennick family, but he isn’t entirely convinced of what they’re doing. Mark is a member of the security team on the ship–he’s used to being lazy, but under the new ex-marine head of security, Steven Vega, that’s unlikely to happen.
The Rennick brothers set off an EMP device, leaving the entire ship dead in the water. It should be easy for the vampires to clean up–eating the people until satisfied, then indulging their ‘darker’ impulses. The party line is that no one can kill a vampire.
Oceanus has an honest-to-god park on board. I wanted to see more done with that. If you go out of the way to put something major into the setup, it should play a significant role. I never felt that it did.
Most of the characters are great. I loved Dan and his fight to get back to his wife no matter how terrified he got. Herb’s kind of fascinating, as one Rennick who isn’t thrilled with the idea of killing thousands of people to sate the appetites of ancient beings his family has linked itself to. On the other hand, Steven Vega is the pure vision of 80s-era military man: overbearing, mean-spirited, sneering, and ultimately weak. It isn’t the 80s any more; we need more than that in a military or ex-military character. I had difficulty justifying some of the actions he took later in the book.
The bargain between the very alien vamps and the Rennick family and their affiliates supposedly keeps the vamps from going after everyone else on the planet, as long as they’re delivered plenty of juicy humans on demand. While I want to know more about the details of this, and how the hell that arrangement might have come about, I’m willing to wait for one of the sequels.
Of course we all know that when the party line says vampires can’t be killed, that’s as good as announcing the funeral arrangements. I have some questions regarding why that assumption was made and what the limits of it are. Again, hopefully something that’ll show up in the sequel.
I look forward to finding the answers to my questions in later books!