Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Cobble Cavern by Erik Olsen

Saturday I got guilt tripped in to moving an author’s book to the top of my to read list. By the author no less! So for those of you out there who have been patiently waiting for a new blog post, you can thank author Erik Olsen.

I first met Erik Olsen earlier this year at my local bookstore’s BookaPalooza. You may have seen my posting about it in April. Erik Olsen was the author sharing a table with James Dashner and actually signed a bookmark when I gave away as part of a, well, a giveaway. That month I gave away a signed copy of Maze Runner by James Dashner along with a signed copy of Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George.

So that is the backstory.

Today I went to another bookapalooza, only this time it was specifically for young adult novels. I was pleasantly surprised to see several authors I have had the chance to meet in the past, mainly Erik Olsen and Natalie Whipple. It is always nice to know that my method of asking for autographs is memorable. They may not remember me, but they remember my paint chip autograph cards.

Erik Olsen asked me if I had read his first book yet, Cobble Cavern. Sadly I hadn’t, my to reads list is never ending and Cobble Cavern just hadn’t quite made it to the top of the list yet. Erik Olsen signed another bookmark to giveaway after hearing that I had given away the first. He also kept trying to give me fantastic glow in the dark bracelets that say “Flin’s Destiny Series! Beware of Snazzards!!!” I left the event with three bracelets, two of which I am willing to give away again. If Erik Olsen had had his way I think I might have left with seven or eight!

So because of the guilt I am now feeling for not having read and reviewed this book, I am taking a very short break from homework to read this book. Keep in mind it is a simple review because I have about fifty other things I should be doing at this point in time.

On to the review!

Cobble Cavern is the first book in the Flin’s Destiny series by Erik Olsen. I would say it is a good book for 9 to 13 year olds of either gender. While the main character is male, it would appeal to anyone who has a love of adventure, male or female.

Cobble Cavern starts out on Flin’s thirteenth birthday. In his family the thirteenth birthday is the ultimate birthday, the day you get to choose your ring of destiny. This is a major family tradition and with each coming of age, each child within the family chooses their ring. Or in Flin’s case, the ring chooses him. Much of this first part of the story seems to be about setting the stage for Flin’s peculiar family and really letting the reader know exactly what kind of childhood Flin has had. The picture painted is of a family who is pretty much dirt poor. Instead of seat belts, the family car has rope to tie around the waist of the passenger.

The day after Flin’s birthday he heads to Ireland as part of his school’s debate team. The story skips over the actual debate tournament and continues on the last day of their trip in Ireland. On the final day they finally get the chance to go sightseeing and much to everyone’s amusement and dismay they are traveling on a very run down bus.

While on the road to the sea the bus is subjected to a series of earthquakes that results in the bus getting stuck in a tunnel. The bus slides farther and farther down in to the earth, finally settling several miles underground with no visible escape route.

The rest of the book is about Flin and his fellow classmates escape from underground. It is a fantastical journey to the end and includes several rather creepy creatures. I would say the snazzards are the worst, an evolutionary throw back combining snakes and lizards!

I would rate this book a 3.5 out of 5. I rated it a bit lower because of the confusing beginning bits, but keep in mind it is an easier read for a younger age set. It has some outlandish and unfeasible characters and actions in the book, but over all I liked it. I will probably be reading the sequel somewhere down the line.

Recommended Reading:
Garden of the Lost Soul’s by Erik Olsen – This is the second book in the Flin’s Destiny series and looks rather interesting.

Raggleroot by Erik Olsen – This is the third book in the Flin’s Destiny series.

Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne – This book has the original plot for lost ecosystems hiding below the surface of the Earth. I highly recommend this book for everyone, it’s a classic!