Podcast Review #123: The Price of Friendship

Title: The Price of Friendship
Author: Philip “Norvaljoe” Carroll
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Released: 18 January 2012 – 14 February 2012
Located: iTunesPodiobooks
Formats Available: Podcast only

Rating: PG for violence

Quite a while back, long before I began writing these reviews, I was hanging out with a bunch of like minded people on Twitter and began participating in an online writing podcast by the name of Great Hites with creator and host, Jeff Hite. One of the fine folks that wrote very consistently for this podcast was a nice bloke by the name of Philip Carroll, who went by the name of Norval Joe. Through this podcast Mr. Carroll released the first chapter of his book, The Price of Friendship. Ever since, I’d been waiting to read, or listen to it. Recently, he released it as a podcast.

So, on to the review.

Synopsis:

Chad Baker is in love with Amy Snider, though he doesn’t know it. He thinks they’re just friends like the rest of the kids in eighth grade. But as the school year is coming to a close a mysterious boy shows up to complicate this ordinary teenage boy’s life.

Derrick claims Chad has broken his father’s proprietary hand held game player. The price to replace it can’t be paid in dollars and cents, but in lives.

Chad must travel across dimensions and learn the ways of bending time and space by manipulating sound.

The mysteries pile up as he meets the residents of the dimensions and learns the responsibilities inherited from the father who disappeared shortly after Chad’s birth. Who will help him rescue his friend, and who can he trust in a world of strangers and strange allegiances? The beautiful Amanda, four years older than Chad and a hundred miles out of his league? The manipulative recluse, Brendan Thrush? Or the dangerous and powerful Commander Lorantelle?

What will be the final price Chad must pay to prove his friendship? (Stolen from Podiobooks.com)

Production: I believe The Price of Friendship is Mr. Carroll’s first multi-ep podcast. He does an adequate job with it and I had no real complaints in listening to this story. The sound was clear and there were few distractions. I believe I remember hearing a repeated line or two, but that really isn’t that unusual.

Grade: B-

Cast: Lately, I’ve been listening to a string of self read stories. The Price of Friendship is another of these. Mr. Carroll does a very nice job of reading his story. He doesn’t go overboard on the voices or inflections, but the story flows nicely and it is easy to sit back and enjoy.

Grade: B+

Story: Mr. Carroll’s first foray into podcast fiction is a family friendly young adult tale about a teenage boy searching for a teenage girl that he has wronged. Though listeners might not have figured it out from the first episode, this story is an alternate reality, science fiction/fantasy story. There are elements of Zelazny’s Amber here, but no more than any story about alternate or parallel universes.

Grade: B

Verdict: I think most listeners that enjoy fiction with teenage characters and a YA target audience will enjoy The Price of Friendship. I did have a few issues with a couple of the plot points that were never explained to my satisfaction and I do think that a good editor could make this story even better. However, I quite enjoyed The Price of Friendship and am quite glad that Mr. Carroll completed it.

Shameless plug: Don’t forget, if you send an audio comment to me at Odin1eye at viewfromvalhalla dot com, I’ll include it in the podcast version of this episode next weekend (or when I receive it). You can also leave voicemail, for this or any other story, at the Valhalla Hotline simply by calling 956-307-ODIN (6346)

Disclosure: As mentioned above, I’ve known of Mr. Carroll for quite some time. I do not communicate with him often as he is not on Twitter nearly as much as he was previously. I was offered nothing in return for this review.

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