Review of Adrift (Staying Afloat #1), by Isabelle Adler

I received an Audible code for a copy of Adrift, by Isabelle Adler.

Description from Goodreads:

Some jobs are just too good to be true.

Captain Matt Spears learns this the hard way after a mysterious employer hires his ship to hunt down an ancient alien artifact but insists on providing his own pilot. Ryce Faine is handsome and smart, but Matt has rarely met anyone more obnoxious. With tensions running high, it isn’t until they are attacked by the hostile Alraki that Matt grudgingly begins to respect Ryce’s superior skills, respect that transforms into a tentative attraction.

Little did he know that their biggest challenge would be reaching their destination, an abandoned alien base located on a distant moon amid a dense asteroid field. But when Matt learns that Ryce isn’t completely who he says he is and the artifact is more than he bargained for, he is faced with a difficult choice. One that might change the balance of forces in the known galaxy.

Matt doesn’t take well to moral dilemmas; he prefers the easy way out. But that might not be possible anymore, when his past comes back to haunt him at the worst possible moment. When faced with a notorious pirate carrying a personal grudge, the fragile connection Matt has formed with Ryce might be the only thing that he can count on to save them both.


This wasn’t necessarily bad, but the author took the most often traveled road at every opportunity. I thought there was a lot of potential for an interesting story here. But Adler instead told one that every aspect of has already been told in the same ways too many times.

Further, aspects of it weren’t well developed. There was a lot of hinting about a family rift that was never directly addressed, for example, and then it was easily rectified when the plot called for it. Again, without the reader ever really seeing what made that happen beyond, “Well, maybe I made a mistake.” Basically we were told that the main character didn’t speak to his family and then told he had decided not speaking to his family was a mistake and now he’d speak to his sister. It was never delved into and, as a reader, it felt tacked on and hollow.

I felt the same way about the romance. Let me preface this by saying the vast majority of what I read has a romantic plot or sub-plot in it. I love my romance books. But here I really, really wish Adler had either left it out entirely or stretched it over two books. It felt very much like the two men went from distrustful allies to friends and no further. So, when there were suddenly kisses and love it didn’t feel developed and felt 100% forced and out of place. Had Adler allowed them room to become friends here and moved to lovers later, it might have worked. But she tried to get too much in too fast and it failed, in my opinion. I actually think it would have worked just as well if the two became platonic best friends. Certainly, Ryce’s description would have moved to Ace/Gray-Ace a lot easier than it did to lover and been a more interesting story for it.

Lastly, I didn’t love the narrator of the audio version, Richard Eckman. I listened to the whole thing at 90% speed and still thought it too fast sometimes. Plus, in the beginning, it just didn’t feel very natural. That improved as it went along though. I’d give the narrator a 3 out of 5 too.

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