By Sophia Monastra
I am not the “Adventures in Odyssey” fanatic of my household. That title belongs to my younger sister. I only reap the benefits of her AIO Club account, one of which is access to the latest album, ‘28 Hours.’ Despite this album being written for a younger audience, I found much to enjoy from it.
It’s a normal day in the semi-normal small town of Odyssey until someone breaks into the local antique shop, Triple J Antiques. This sets off a chain of events including the kidnapping of resident ex-spy Jason Whittaker, the revelation of another NSA agent lurking in Odyssey, a sinister plot with global consequences and some nuclear submarines.
Writer Kathy Buchanan’s skills shine in the six-episode album. The story’s plot is tightly connected, every major element is foreshadowed and the listener is rewarded for listening in sequence. Despite being only six episodes, the album feels well-paced, with snappy revelations and constant suspense. “Adventures in Odyssey” has had a long history of creating quality faith-based stories without coming across as overly preachy, and this album is no exception. By focusing on the story and characters, Buchanan ties each episode to themes of discernment, truth and trust.
Another thing I admire is the integration of new characters into the story. Jillian Marshall (played by Monica Padilla), Connie’s ditzy roommate and Jason’s chronically irresponsible employee, is woven into the plot with a satisfying payoff. Dr. Lily Graham (Kay Bess), introduced during “The Green RingConspiracy,” ties into the story’s governmental intrigue seamlessly, making her seem more embedded in the narrative than ever before. TV station manager Sky Feldstein (Lana Mckissack), who has previously had a relatively minor role, shines in this story.
Even with a large number of new characters, old favorites still carry the plot. Jason Whittaker (Townsend Coleman) switches from lighthearted scenes and cocky humor to horror to steadfast resolve. John Avery Whittaker (Andre Stojka) serves as the spiritual anchor and voice of reason, providing a familiar presence to the turmoil. Connie Kendall (Katie Leigh) brings a layman’s perspective and completely reasonable freakout to an otherwise complicated internationally-reaching sinister plot.
Speaking of sinister plots, this album ties back to Adventures in Odyssey’s fan-favorite “Novacom” saga, a multi-album, 28-part thriller that quickly. A plotline that has been left hanging since 2002 is woven back into Odyssey lore and promises to continue into future albums.
My main complaint is that the conclusion is a bit too easily wrapped up. Granted, an episode titled “Final Minutes” won’t be a long conclusion, but the ending’s cyclical nature seems a bit too mundane for all the stunning, world-changing revelations uncovered.
This could be a result of Adventures in Odyssey’s push towards six-episode albums. While this means they can produce two albums a year, it can hinder longer story development.
Despite my mild issue with the ending, I highly enjoyed this album. While I wouldn’t recommend it for people who are less familiar with or just starting the series, if you used to listen to Adventures in Odyssey, “28 Hours” is a worthy storyline to pick up.
I give “28 Hours” a 10/10.
“28 Hours” is now streaming on the AIO Club and is available from Focus on the Family.
Sophia Monastra is a freshman Environmental Science major and writer for Cedars’ Arts and Entertainment section. She lives in mortal fear of longboards and enjoys reading comics, writing fiction and experiencing deep emotions about teenage mutant turtles.
Image courtesy of Focus on the Family.