Written by: Mack Moyer
God damn it. That’s what Adrift makes me think.
Author K.R. Griffiths gives us an agoraphobic closet rage-a-holic, a slacker security guard, four brothers who might be terrorists and vampires that look like a velociraptor had babies with Slender Man.
They’re stuck on a cruise ship and when the power goes out the vampiric Slender-raptors happily slice through thousands of passengers in what is now a pitch black floating death box.
The vampires are up to a crazy amount of graphic, murderous fuckery. Griffiths offers a unique look at the vamp myth, including an interesting take on the glamour power. (These bloodsuckers are more apt to make you cut chunks of your own body off rather than use their hypnotic skills for undead sexy time.)
Watching our band of heroes traipse around the cruise ship in the dark with the vampires hunting them down is claustrophobic and chilling.
And yet…god damn it.
To sum up the problems of this book: It has too many words, many of them repetitive. I started to wonder if everyone on the ship was covering their mouths. Everything here is muffled. Muffled screams, muffled curses, even muffled gunfire at one point.
There’s quite a bit of ‘agony’ as well. Agony shooting through your mind, howls of agony, screams of agony. Do we really need to be told that a guy who just got eviscerated by a vampire with machetes for toenails is in agony?
In the first two pages we’re given a paragraphs-long meditation on screaming. The character just can’t believe she’s actually screaming, then goes on to compare how screaming while being hunted down by a killer is different from screaming about a spider in your living room.
Well no shit.
Characters constantly reflect on how terrified they are. Dude, we get it. You’re stuck on a boat with a bunch of monsters. It’s fucking scary, we know.
The vampires don’t escape the wordiness. About halfway through we get a detailed description of them. But with the rotating perspective, Griffiths often gives us the descriptions all over again with each…fucking…character.
They’re tall and nasty and they’re seemingly made of razor blades. Got it. Move along. If you’re going to describe them again, gimme something new.
It’s like Griffiths was afraid to let his story speak for itself. Which sucks, because the story is awesome. The words just get in the way.
That isn’t to say Griffiths is a bad writer. The problems in this novel could be solved by another draft. This is common problem in self-published work. All writers think their latest draft is just the bee’s knees when it could really use another draft or two.
If Griffiths would have chopped fifty pages of uselessness off the manuscript, Adrift would have been awesome.
But as it stands, the super scary monsters are one-upped by an even uglier creature: The beast we call Poor Editing.