Podcast Review #13: Ravenwood

Title: Ravenwood
Author: Nathan Lowell
Genre: Fantasy
Released: 4 January 2010 – 19 January 2010
Formats Available: Podcast only at this time

If the name Nathan Lowell doesn’t seem familiar to you, now would be a very good time to rectify that. I reviewed Mr. Lowell’s Quarter Share, the first book in his Golden Age of the Solar Clipper series, back in PR#6. Since this time, Mr. Lowell has been awarded a contract by Ridan Publishing with Quarter Share to be released later this spring.

As stated in PR#6, I have been following Mr. Lowell on Twitter (@nlowell) for some time now. When he announced that for National Novel Writing Month he had excepted a challenge by Mur Lafferty to write something completely different, in half the allotted month, my curiosity was piqued. Ravenwood is the novel resulting from that challenge.

So, on to the review.

Synopsis: After twenty winters on the road, Tanyth makes one last pilgrimage in her quest to learn all she can about the herbs and medicinal plants of Korlay before settling down to write her magnum opus. Her journey is interrupted when she stops to help a small village and learns that much of what she knows of the world may not be quite as it seems. (stolen from Podiobooks site)

Production: Mr. Lowell knows when to leave a good thing alone and continues with his “less is more” production style with Ravenwood. I only truly noticed one element of production added to Ravenwood. Occasionally, Tanyth will see a scene through the eyes of another character, to highlight this occurence, Mr. Lowell changed the resonance of the audio a bit. I mentally viewed this as a paragraph set off by the use of italics. I liked this device, and after having heard it several times realized it wasn’t my headphones going bad or my hearing being even more screwed up than I initially thought.

Mr. Lowell always chooses a musical theme for his novels that really seems to capture the feel and the essence of the story. For Ravenwood, Mr. Lowell chose a piece of music from composer/artist Ivan Chew entitled The Hill. As I shared with Mr. Lowell, this is the first piece of podcast music I have ever found myself humming and/or whistling throughout the day. One final element worthy of note: Mr. Lowell did once again forego the use of a The Story So Far device, for which I am grateful.

Cast: Mr. Lowell continues doing a straight read for his stories, and again, I can’t think of a better way to hear this story. Mr. Lowell’s style of reading is very conducive to allowing the listener to immerse himself in the story. While Mr. Lowell uses different vocal inflections for his characters, he makes no effort to change his voice, and I find it very interesting that he doesn’t need to. There wasn’t a single instance where I was left wondering which character was speaking.

Story: Mr. Lowell’s first venture into fantasy is appropriate for the man that created science fiction without conflict. While there is conflict in Ravenwood, there is no quest, there is no evil force loose in the world that seeks the domination of mankind. What there is, is a story of an aging woman that finds, that no matter how well you know yourself, there is always more to discover. There are also many good people that she encounters, as well as a few assorted miscreants.

Verdict: Ravenwood is a very good story. An excellent story. If you’ve been hearing about Mr. Lowell for a while and haven’t given him a listen because you don’t care for Science Fiction, now is your chance. However, if you have been a fan of his Golden Age series, you will find Mr. Lowell is just as comfortable in a middle aged woman’s small clothes as he is in a spacer’s ship tee and boxers. Unequivocally a Must Listen.

Disclaimer: I currently follow Mr. Lowell on Twitter. He will always answer questions and is very affable. I was not asked to write this review and received nothing in the way of compensation.

~ by odin1eye on 25 January, 2010.

8 Responses to “Podcast Review #13: Ravenwood”

  1. “received nothing in the way of compensation” — other than my heartfelt thanks.

    • It is all of us that say thank you to you for creating these immersive worlds. I would gladly pack up and move to any of your universes.

  2. Hello there! I’m fully aware the star of the show is really Mr Lowell’s podiocast, but I just have to say “thanks for listening to the song!” And you said you were humming the tune throughout the day? Wow, that’s one of the best compliments anyone’s said about the music, LOL! Thank you. And thanks to Mr Lowell, for sure!

    • Thanks so much for stopping by! Yes, not only humming, but whistling. And being asked what the tune was. And directing them to your site. Hopefully you’ve seen a bit of a spike since allowing Mr. Lowell to use it, I know I’ve enjoyed it much. Thanks again!

      • Yes, there was a spike. My admiration for Nathan’s work and fanbase just grows with every comment and posts that his listeners leave behind, or blog about (like you did). Man…

        • In any kind of creative endeavor it is nice to enlarge the base of listeners/readers/supporters and all help is always appreciated, so I definitely understand.

  3. Love it – Nathan in women’s smallclothes! That’s going to stick in my head now. Good review as always, Odin. Ah well, back to listening to Ravenwood while I weed 😀

    • LOL… you’re the first to comment to me on that, I was expecting someone to get it quicker…. glad you enjoyed it!

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