Podcast Review #100: Valhai

Title: Valhai
Author: Gillian Andrews
Genre: Science Fiction
Released: 20 October 2011 – 30 October 2011
Located:Podibooks, iTunes
Formats Available: Podcast
Rating: PG: Some Violence

In preparation for the Parsecs, I began listening to of the nominees that I hadn’t heard yet. Ms. Andrew’s Valhai is one of those stories.

So, on to the review.

Synopsis: The Sellites haven’t changed in thousands of years. They virtually rule their binary system, trading technology and minerals for anything they need. But they make a mistake with the new batch of fourteen-year-old donor apprentices they are taking back to their home planet, Valhai. Among them are a homeless no-name from the planet Kwaide and a member of the ruling Elders from Coriolis. Six and Diva are two diametrically opposed characters who don’t exactly take kindly to each other . . .

The Sellites genetically modify their children, ideally qualifying them for their future jobs. So Grace, the only unmodified teenager on Valhai, is also the only one who doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life. She has a sister-in-law who won’t leave her in peace and a newly-widowed mother who has taken to sleeping in a sarcophagus. Grace can’t think straight. She needs to escape from all the pressure. So she decides to break Sellite regulations and venture outside – onto the planet . . .

. . . starting off a chain of events that will involve Six and Diva and force the Sellite race to change forever. (Stolen from Podiobooks.com)

Production: Ms. Andrew’s production of her story was very commendable. Especially for a first podcast. That doesn’t mean it was perfect, but it was quite easy to listen to and I can’t remember many instances where something was jarring enough to break me out of the story. There are occasions (several of them) where one character repeats the previous character. With out the written cues of who is speaking, for a moment this can be a bit of a stumbling block. Also, the music Ms. Andrew’s chooses to open and close the eps with, while pleasant, seems like it would be more appropriate for a startup chime than a podcast theme.

Grade: B

Cast: Ms. Andrew’s performs Valhai as a self read and does a commendable job. She has a pleasant voice and the reading immerses you in the story as easily as the bubbles are immersed in the lake.

Grade: A-

Story: The story of Valhai starts out as a simple tale of rising above your upbringing and becoming the master of your own self. It further evolves into a questing story. Both parts of the story are blended very well together and provide a seamless canvas to the listener. I was very happy to hear that the tale didn’t end with the characters simply escaping their first predicament.

Grade: A

Verdict: I really enjoyed Valhai and think many beyond myself will too. In fact, I recommend Valhai for those of you with young adults/teens or simply enjoy a good story that doesn’t require the addition of strong language or sexual situations.

Disclaimer: I’ve never met or conversed with Ms. Andrew’s. I’d never heard of Valhai until looking at the list of Parsec Nominees. Valhai deserved the nomination.

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