If you know me at all, you know that I really like audio fiction. As much as I enjoy curling up with a good book, I really enjoy being able to hear a good story. This is especially true when I am in the car. I used to spend about four hours a day in the car, and that was wasted time until I discovered podcasts and other forms of audio fiction.
That being said, there is good audio fiction, mediocre and even bad audio fiction. Normally Adventures In Odyssey falls into the mediocre category. This is not because of the quality of the audio, or the actors, the music or even the sound effects, those are all usually top notch. Normally the Adventures In Odyssey stories are not all that well written and / or they tend to be very preachy. I can deal with one or the other, but both is a little over the top. Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate Adventures In Odyssey. They certainly are kid safe, the stories keep the kids attention, and in my opinion, that is so much better than having the kids glued to a dvd. I appreciate their ministry, but the stories are normally on the preachy side.
Ok now that I have said all of that, let me start my review of The NovaCom Saga. This is a ten disk set, full cast audio drama, and honestly I was amazed. The story was well thought out, well paced and pretty darn intriguing. All of the characters, save one, were very three dimensional.
Summary: (Without spoilers)
When a new broadcasting company, NovaCom, moves to Odyssey, it brings with it old friends and new, but more than that, it brings trouble with a capital T. Mr. Wittaker and the gang from Whit’s End have to do spiritual and earthly battle the more than they ever expected, and the new company launches a plan that expands way beyond Odyssey. The story is over ten hours long, so it takes what seem to be many little side stories, that all tie together at the end.
This is Adventures in Odyssey’s first foray into really long form fiction, and I have to say that they really seem to have stepped up to the plate and delivered with this. As normal the voices, the music, and the sound effects were top notch, but beyond that the story telling was right up there with it. The story was interesting enough that it kept my attention, with enough there to also keep the attention of the kids. This story delved deep into the dangers of blindly following technology, and the companies that sell it. It is science fiction, but you can easily see some pretty good analogues to today’s world.
With all of this glowing praise you would think this was a perfect production. It wasn’t. As I said before, all but one of the characters were very well rounded. Unfortunately the one character who was pretty two dimensional was the main antagonist. Every time he got “screen time” I found myself, but why is he doing all of this? All of the other antagonists had a story, a reason for being there, but the main antagonist only seemed to be there just to be the bad guy.
The other problem I had with the story was the almost magic, I am a Christian, now problem solving. This is probably one of my biggest issues with Adventures In Odyssey in general. Every good repeating character becomes a Christian and their life seems to be just about perfect after that. While I agree that a belief in God and letting Him lead your life will fix a great many things, it is not a magic fix, much like anything else it takes work. There was less of that in this story. People who were Christians still had to suffer and even in a couple of occasions they died.
This story did cover some heavy and deep topics, in the episodes that dealt with the darkest and scariest topics, there was an age warning at the beginning of these episodes. While I don’t think any of it was not really age appropriate, it would be a good idea to listen to this with your kids.
In the end I give this 4 out of 5 stars. I great story to listen with the whole family on a long car trip.