Buzzin’ Blurb 6/20/13

Here is the start of my book review feature, the Buzzin’ Blurb. Every week I will review a book that I have recently read. For now, this feature will hold all of my book reviews, although as this blog grows, that may change. I’ll do my best to make them spoiler free, and will give warnings if I think there is a spoiler. For today, we have the recently released short story e-book/audiobook from Rick Riordan, Son of Sobek. Click the link above to read the whole review!

First, I know that some librarian reviewers, particularly school librarians, choose not to review e-books. I am going to sometimes, but not exclusively. Many parents and students have access to e-readers or apps at home, and I don’t want to exclude books that librarians may be asked about simply because they are currently only available in an electronic format. Some up and coming authors are starting out self publishing on electronic platforms, and some indie books are available in print form, if not from major publishers. I will always note the format I am reviewing. I am also a member of programs like BookRooster. If I get a book for free, I will make note of that at the beginning of the review, and it will not impact how I review the book.

Book: Son of Sobek
Author: Rick Riordan
Formats available: e-book or as a short story in the paperback version of The Serpent’s Shadow
Current price: $2.99
Note: This review is for the e-book version of the release

SPOILER ALERT: I am giving a basic plot overview, though I will not release any specific details.

The short story Son of Sobek¬†first appeared in the paperback version of the third and final book in the Kane Chronicles series The Serpent’s Shadow. When the author announced the release on his website, he announced the release of the e-book at the same time. The e-book release allows those who owned a copy of the hardcover version of the book to get the short story without paying for a paperback. As a special for those who purchase the e-book, it includes an audio version read by the author, and a special sneak preview of the first chapter of the upcoming Heroes of Olympus book, House of Hades. This book is the first crossover story between Percy Jackson and Carter Kane.

What? You didn’t realize that the Percy Jackson novels and the Kane Chronicles were set in the same universe? Well, that’s ok. Lot’s of people did, but the novels stayed almost 100% separate, with only 1 or 2 hints in the Kane Chronicles novels that I picked up on. I never noticed any crossover hints in the Percy Jackson novels at all. The story is told in Carter Kane’s voice, it’s his story, though Percy is in it right beside him. Turns out, most of Brooklyn House is at the First Nome in Egypt for training (I won’t tell you what kind), when Carter finds out that there’s a monster terrorizing Long Island, so he heads out to figure out what it is, and take care of it.

The Brooklyn House kids usually steer clear of Long Island, so when Carter runs into Percy while fighting the monster, they don’t know what to make of each other. They end up battling together to save the people of long island from the monster, and chaos ensues.

The story, like all of the Percy Jackson, Heroes of Olympus and Kane Chronicles stories, is well written. I like that the story is entirely from Carter’s point of view. He truly sees Percy as an outsider, and doesn’t know what to make of him. The story comes together well, and I love that Mr. Riordan leaves the ending open to more stories with Percy and Carter together, though I won’t tell you more than that. Mr. Riordan’s reading of the book is quite good, better than some professional readers, and though it’s not the best audio book I have ever heard, it is well performed and something I would listen to more than once.

One caveat. When the e-book version was announced, it was implied that all platforms would be getting the e-book/audio book combo. I originally purchased this e-book from Amazon, and it did not have the embedded audio. I have contacted Amazon about that, and so far I am still waiting to hear back. Last night, after they dropped the price from $2.99 to $1.99 ¬†within 24 hours of releasing the book, I returned it and purchased it from the iBookstore instead. I don’t know if the reason I didn’t get the audio was because I use an iPad app to read my Kindle books or because they simply don’t have it. When Amazon gets back to me I will update that information here.

Overall, the $2.99 purchase was well worth it. The short story, audio book and preview of House of Hades were easily worth the $2.99 purchase price. If you have students or patrons who want to read it, and your library doesn’t have the e-book version, point them in the direction of a paperback copy of The Serpent’s Shadow and let them dive in!

Over all rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

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