Podcast Review #49: Conjuring Raine

Title: Conjuring Raine
Author: Maya Lassiter
Genre: Horror/Romance/Fantasy
Released: 14 May 2010 – 10 August 2010
Located: iTunes, Podiobooks, Author’s Site
Formats Available: Podcast
Rating: R for violence and sexual situations

It’s October. Going to be a busy month for me personally, but I’ve always loved October. Whether you celebrate Halloween or not, it just seems to kick off the holiday season and fall is bursting out everywhere (even if you live in the land of relatively little change like I do). I’ve decided to try and do a month’s worth of horror/monster reviews here at VFV, and to kick it off, we have a vampire tale!

So, on to the review.

Synopsis: Raine Black draws comics about the San Francisco Tenderloin, granting wishes to the down-and-out in ten panels or less. The weird thing? Her comics come true. But money is running out and waiting tables isn’t cutting it, so it looks like Raine is headed back to the upstanding, Southern, adoptive family that hates her. Typical.

That’s when, Joshua, Raine’s secret childhood friend, shows up to save her, just like old times. Only something is wrong. He’s dying, she’s sure of it. His weird black scar has spread, and he’s saying hello just so he can say good-bye. Again. She’d like to be tough enough, mean enough, to blow him off, dying or no.  But he’s the only one who knows where she came from. And she loves him, the bastard.  If only she could draw him a comic with a happy ending.

Joshua, on the other hand, just wants to get out of town so he can kill himself properly. An abolitionist for over a century, a vampire for a bit more than that, he’s ready to face the sun in order to kill the revenge demon a conjure doctor accidentally put inside him. The demon is growing too powerful, taking Joshua over for minutes at a time. And the practices of Joshua’s vampire religion aren’t working to contain it. If he can just get Raine safe from the blood-sucking human trafficker who hates him, Joshua would have his house in order.  But things are never simple with Raine. She’s trying to save him. Again.

And the demon wants to strike a bargain. With Raine. (Stolen from the author’s website, and possibly too much for a synopsis? What do you think?)

Production: While not the worst production I’ve ever heard, Conjuring Raine is far from the best. There are many artifacts that make their way into the final edit. The author seems constrained to a 30 minute episode and chapters are cut or run together in an ep to make that happen. Most of the time there is a natural cut place, but occasionally an ep would end and I would be left scratching my head in wonder.

Cast: Ms. Lassiter performs Conjuring Raine as a straight read and does an adequate job. Barely. There are many instances where I was left wondering who was speaking as she tends to read the story a bit quickly and without a lot of character distinction. The story would benefit from a “remaster” in order to correct some of the production errors and to simply breath life into the narrative with her truly wonderful voice. Oh, did I forget to mention? She really does have a lovely voice perfectly suited to her story.

Story: I freaking hate Anne Rice. Why did this woman decide it was necessary to take my favorite childhood monster and make some sort of unrequited love object from him? I remember being truly terrified the first time I read Dracula (of course, having a concussion made it even more surreal) and the old “evil” vampire flicks were a staple of my childhood. Now, between Anne Rice, Joss Whedon (who gets a pass, just because I said so) and Stephanie Meyer, you can’t have a vampire story without the vampires being represented by at least one good, gentle vamp. Bleh. I hate it.

If Meyer’s abominations do this to my werewolf favorite, and they become the tame lapdogs they are in her books, I’m going to be soooo angry (yes, I know, but I’ll blame whom I choose). And no, Underworld does not fall into this category. Why? Again, because I said so.

And why do so many writers fall into the pattern set up by Stoker of alternating points of view between characters in a vampire story? Yes, this story is written this way. I really don’t enjoy this style. I feel it keeps me from getting to know either character as well as I would like.

Verdict: Well, you might think after that last paragraph that I didn’t enjoy this story. I might have thought that myself if I had read the synopsis provided here and on Ms. Lassiter’s site. In fact, I might not have listened. Luckily, I heard about this story via a suggestion by Thomas Reed (@trreed). Surprisingly, with all the elements listed above still annoying me, I enjoyed it. I really did. I do recommend this book for an adult audience, and if you’re looking for a vampire romance to start you October with, feel free to forget Meyer’s abominations and start with Ms. Lassiter instead.

Disclosure: I do not follow Ms. Lassiter on Twitter. I don’t believe I’ve ever even heard her name mentioned on Twitter. That being said, it should be no surprise that I don’t believe she follows me either. (Don’t you love how Twitter makes us all sound like stalkers?) I was asked by Katharina if I received a vile of blood for this review. What do I look like? Some psychotic Billy Bob or Angelina?? No nothing was tendered or accepted in return for this review.

Comment Pages

There are 4 Comments to "Podcast Review #49: Conjuring Raine"

  • There are those podcasts (TV, movies, books, etc) that shouldn’t work for us; but somehow still do. Those can be some of our favorites.

    I do hope that the author reads this review and considers what changes can be made to this or the next book to make it better. But I REALLY hope that whatever happens, the author keeps whatever has made Odin & Thomas (and I’m assuming many more) really enjoy it in future edits and future projects.

    I’m probably going to take a pass on this one, but primarily because I have too much of a backlog with some of my favorite author’s. I do with the author well with this book 🙂

    • odin1eye says:

      There really are some stories, regardless the format that somehow transend the sum of their parts. For me, Conjuring Raine was one of these. I completely undestand having a full backlogue of podcasts! Good luck getting caught up!

  • Thomas says:

    Yes, i suggested this one. and yes i enjoyed it. Is it great literature? no. but it is entertaining. despite (inspite of?? i never know which to use) some of the pitfalls of doing your own voice work and production, the read was descent and the story held my attention. I am not a fan the popular vamp/werewolf/lovetriangle stories. this book was not one of those love sick vampire stories either, tho it did have some elements of it in it. i enjoyed the telling of their history in the development of the story. the production could have been better, the narration also, but looking over those problems, it was still good fun (after rethinking what i felt about this story, i guess romance novels are not out of my realm of possibilities, reading wise.)
    and back to your review, odin, spot on ….

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