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Fantasy Podcast

By Miladysa, editor, author of Refuge of Delayed Souls

Feb 15, 2009: Raven is an agent run by a mysterious character named Orvannon and her role is to carry out certain tasks for him. These tasks may vary from retrieving items to ending lives.

Having lived a very chequered life herself, Raven is no stranger to hardship. At the beginning of the story, we join her following the successful completion of a mission and on the eve of a rendezvous with Orvannon.

Raven’s gift is the ability to "smell almost anything" and Ausland, the medieval world she inhabits, is no enchanted fairyland. All kinds of odours abound, most of them of the unpleasant variety.

The narrator has a good command of English, a clear speaking voice and includes an introduction or recap at the commencement of each chapter—and a short synopsis of the one to follow. Each podcast includes brief musical intermissions and is professional in its presentation. There are moments when it falls down though—in particular when the narrator slips into character and alters his voice accordingly. The character voices are a distraction and, as the narrator’s reading is slow, it is easy to lose focus.

In his introduction, the author takes care to advise the reader that, "Although there’s no graphic violence or graphic sex, Raven’s Gift probably deserves an R rating for being earthy." Personally, I found Raven’s Gift to veer on the side of coarse rather than earthy. In the opening chapter the reader is privy to Raven’s bathroom etiquette, the accommodations for her menstrual cycle and, later on in the same chapter, we are witness to a rape.

The majority of Chapter 2 is dedicated to a conversation between Raven and Orvannon and a rather poor, long-winded debriefing of her earlier mission. At the end of this chapter, a further conversation takes place involving Raven and a member of Ausland’s clergy. A lot of attention is paid to detail and once again the reading is frustratingly slow.

On the whole, the story is well-written—apart from being overly described in places. It may work better in the written format, but, as an audiobook, it is just not tight enough to work well.

After listening to the story for 90 minutes I decided to call it a day having developed no further interest in discovering the fate of Raven or the origins of her gift.

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