Podcast Review #71: The Prince of Hazel and Oak

Title: The Prince of Hazel and Oak
Author: John Lenahan
Genre: Fantasy
Released: 20 May 2010 – 1 March 2011
Located: iTunesPodiobooks
Formats Available: Podcast, coming soon as ebook and dead tree from Harper Collins UK
Rating: G/PG but with some violence and intense scenes

About seven months ago, I reviewed Mr. Lenahan’s first book Shadowmagic, which I enjoyed very much. So when I discovered that he was also podcasting the sequel, it wasn’t much of a decision to give it a listen.

NOTICE: I was recently effervescing on Twitter about a work of podcast fiction that I had found and become enamored with. I announced that I would be reviewing it this week. Well, I guess I should have known better. I finished the podcast and decided I needed a week to let it gel before I made that review. Luckily, Mr. Lenahan finished Prince of Hazel and Oak this week and I had been listening as it dropped.

So, on to the review.

Synopsis: Join Conor (and a very confused Scranton cop) as they try to survive The Prince of Duir’s chaotic return to The Land. (stolen from Podiobooks.com)

I’m going to depart a bit from the norm and ruminate a bit on synopses at this point. If you’re going to go to all the effort of writing a book, and then the extra effort of podcasting it, why wouldn’t you give the synopsis your best sales pitch? This is your one chance to hook me or any other reader. Sure, I might listen regardless of the synopsis, especially if it is a sequel like this, but why take that chance? The above synopsis wouldn’t convince me to listen to five minutes.

Production: Mr. Lenahan knew he had a winner on his hands with Shadowmagic and he was smart enough not to miss with the production of the sequel. He uses the same music (provided by Lunasa) and production cues. His reading styles hasn’t changed and overall the production remains quite tight.

Score: A

Cast: Mr. Lenahan does a fantastic job with a straight read for this podcast. He uses quite a bit of inflection and is able to differentiate quite well between the characters simply by using his voice. Yes, even the women. One of the things that I appreciated the most concerning his reading of the characters though was the sarcasm that he imbued his characters with. I love sarcasm and find it quite well done here. (I actually copied the cast portion of this review over from Shadowmagic, it is still the truth.)

Score: A

Story: If you haven’t listened to Shadowmagic yet (or hopefully purchased and read the book) I definitely recommend that you do so, as this story picks up a season or so after that one ends. This story is similar to the original in that it is based on the quest trope and follows Conor as he traverses the land. This is fantasy, pure and simple.

Verdict: There were several things I didn’t really care for about this book. Namely, the beginning and the ending. The device Mr. Lenahan used at the beginning of the book I felt was a bit of a cheat. I would much rather the information he provided about Jesse and Frank be embedded into the body of the story, and I can see several places where that could easily have been accomplished. The last chapter, as well I felt was just a bit too predictable and would wish it could have been handled differently. However, between these two minor (and they are minor) issues, The Prince of Hazel and Oak is pure fun. Fans of the original will surely enjoy this second chapter in the story of Conor, Prince of Duir. Go subscribe. You won’t regret it.

Disclosure: I still have never communicated with Mr. Lenahan. I still do not know if he is even on Twitter. I can tell you that nothing was offered by anyone in return for this review.


Comment Pages

There are 3 Comments to "Podcast Review #71: The Prince of Hazel and Oak"

  • John Lenahan says:

    As to the beginning of the Hazel & Oak Podcast. The prolog is a chapter that was in the Harper Collins Shadowmagic paperback but not in the original Shadowmagic podcast. I had to get it in at the beginning because Frank and Jessie have become so important.

    Thanks for taking the time to Review H&O ion your fine site and thanks for the kind words.

    • odin1eye says:

      Ahh. That makes more sense now. I own Shadowmagic, but haven’t had the chance to read it yet.

      Thank you for continuing to write such fun stories and providing them for free. I’ll continue to buy and review.

      Looking forward to SM3.

  • Thomas says:

    I am a HUGE fan of Mr. Lenahan. Anything he writes or reads, I will consume. His stories are fun and he reading style is even more fun. I would recommend this to anyone, it is a fun book and does not necessarily need the first book to be enjoyed, but it would help, you get the backstory. Good review, Odin.

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