Ebook Review: Demigods of Olympus

Demigods

You’re probably wondering if this is in any way related to the app I reviewed over a year ago, yes. Yes, it is still a pick-your-own-adventure type story. It is the exact same story, with a few minor differences, and I’m not entirely sure that they are good differences. Let me explain.

My understanding is that this was written for people who don’t have the app. Although, for something that was written for people who don’t have the app, it’s a little confusing why Rick Riordan hasn’t released the final chapter, “My Personal Zombie Apocalypse” for the app, when he had the whole story released for ebook form. Now granted, it would be another $2.99 through the app and I, probably against my better judgement, shelled out $6.99 for the ebook (although it wasn’t the $8.99 that Google Play is going to regularly charge). However, with the ebook released, it would be prudent for app users to have the satisfaction of finishing the journey that they started over a year ago. That being said, if you have the app, skip the book. It’s not worth shelling out the extra money. Is waiting going to be a pain in the ass? Yes. But you’re better off shelling out the $2.99 for the last chapter rather than shelling out an additional $6.99, or whatever your ebook retailer of choice charges.

Another difference is that you don’t really get to make as many choices in the ebook version. The app  allows about five choices per chapter, but the ebook gives you about two choices and then a link that says “do the thing” (whatever that thing happens to be, like for example there’s one where you have no other choice other than to put on the ring you pick up in the third chapter don’t do it Frodo). Much of the freedom of choice is constrained by the fact that Riordan creates the protagonist for you, unsurprisingly a male protagonist by the name of Zane Carver (I really wish he  would have created a female protagonist, but that’s just my personal preference).  Right away one of the obvious changes from the app version is that Zane apparently doesn’t select a favorite god/godess in the narrative, not that it ends up mattering, but you never get to make that decision for Zane, as opposed to the app, where your character is pretty much an avatar for yourself.

Now, if you’re wondering if the ebook is offered through the app, the answer is no. It’s the exact same story and there’s no point in selling an ebook of the same story you’re selling in installments, and so that makes sense.

Overall, if you don’t have the app, you might enjoy the ebook, but I will throw out the caution that for the limited about of choices you get, it probably won’t feel like it’s worth the money. It’s not a must read, and it’s underwhelming. So If you have the app, take a pass on this one. It’s not worth the extra money. Save it for the last chapter.

Book Review: The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet

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I miss this blog so much, but work has been insane. But I’m hoping that things get better once National Novel Writing Month.

But I just finished a book, because I managed to get enough time in to actually read.Yep, I actually found time to read this weekend. Of course, my parents are also out of town for the weekend, so I’ve had a lot of time to myself. I actually bought The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet for my trip to Wisconsin, but that never happened.

Let me start this off by saying that I love the Lizzie Bennet Diaries web series. I gave to the kickstarter and got the DVDs, and I like rewatching them over and over again. When I heard they were doing a tie-in novel, I was excited and couldn’t wait to be able to afford it. I have wanted this book for a year.

The book was disappointing.

As far as diaries go, this is a let down. Not very introspective, except for when Lizzie’s opinions of people is changing. That’s about the only time you get some introspection. You don’t even get much that’s different from the video in terms of scenes. There are a handful of scenes sprinkled throughout the diary that aren’t in the videos. Lizzie having some intimate conversations with her dad about Lydia and finances, Lizzie’s conversations with Dr. Gardiner, there’s a moment, while they’re at Netherfield (that I’m not spoiling here), that doesn’t even get alluded to in the videos.

Most of the diary is the videos in narrative form, we’re just getting the events described in the videos before the video hypothetically airs. Each entry includes hyperlinks in the ebook format to the video, or videos, that follow each entry, cluing the reader in that the experience isn’t just reading the diary, it’s reading the entry or entries, then watching the videos that correspond with the entry you read. I understand that it adds a level of interactivity with the material for something that has been a multi-media platform experience, but by doing that, the material in the diary entries should have gone more in depth, and depth was something in the diaries that was seriously lacking. Lizzie still held back significantly for something that should be a confessional style diary.

There are two or three occasions where the video is transcribed word for word, which baffled me and still makes no sense. I feel like Rorick and Su could have found a way to describe the events that transpired during a video recording, because diaries are supposed to be, by their nature, introspective. They could have delved into the more emotional aspects of the transcribed videos, while not losing Lizzie’s voice. Transcribing the videos verbatim was a lazy way out of really getting into the essence of who Lizzie is and what’s going on in her head during these videos, not to mention it defeats the purpose of watching the corresponding video.

Overall, it’s still worth a read, but if you’ve already watched the videos, you might want to give this one a pass. You’ve already heard about 90% of the material covered in the book through Lizzie’s vlogs.

I’m hoping The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet turns out to be better, at least I would hope so for a book that takes place in the aftermath of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Maybe we might see a slightly more emotional voice, and something a little more introspective, since there will not be the reliance on video blogs.