Podcast Review #110: Kwaide

Title: Kwaide
Author: Gillian Andrews
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Released: 17 November 2011
Located: iTunesPodiobooks
Formats Available: podcast only
Rating: PG for violence

As I began my weekly browsing a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that Gillian Andrews, author of the previously reviewed (and Parsec Nominated) Valhai had completed the second in the series of young adult science fiction stories. Having enjoyed Valhai, I was eager to see where the second book in the series took these characters.

So, on to the review.

Synopsis: The characters from Valhai are back in trouble again – bright, funny, on the watch for backswampers – and always unforgettable.

Six and Diva fence with each other – and seriously irritate the Elders on Kwaide.

Grace finds out who is on her side – and who isn’t.

And even Arcan’s megabrain can’t predict how far the Sellites will go …

Production: Having previously written and produced a Parsec nominated podcast novel, I was expecting to hear growth in the production of this second story by Ms. Andrews. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The things I liked about Valhai are still present in Kwaide. Ms. Andrews voice is still pleasant and the overall sound of the podcast is still quite easy to listen to. However, the things that were annoying in Valhai became more apparent in the production of Kwaide. Ms. Andrews, in her editing, missed multiple repeated lines. This happened in almost every episode. There are also absurdly long silences during some episodes and this phenomena becomes more regular in later eps. Finally, while I again liked the music Ms. Andrews created for Kwaide, I again can’t say that I felt it fit the feeling of the podcast. (This is of course completely subjective, and I’ve even heard the same of the theme I choose to use in my own podcasted reviews.)

Grade: B-/C+

Cast: Ms. Andrews provides a self read once again as she voices the characters she has created. While this isn’t a small cast, it isn’t huge either and truthfully consists of four basic main characters. In this book, one of those characters takes more of a supporting role leaving Ms. Andrews to “only” regularly voice three characters. She does this well. While Ms. Andrew’s doesn’t provide much in the way of unique voices, her reading is well done and quite pleasant to listen to.

Grade: B+

Story: Kwaide takes the next step in the story of Valhai’s heroes. Six, Diva and Grace reemerge a bit older and try to become a bit wiser. As I previously mentioned, it was my desire to see these character’s further develop that had me readily subscribe to this second book. There are several plot points developed in this book, but the main storyline follows our intrepid heroes as they travel back to Kwaide. The initial goal is to rescue Six’s second sister, and later develops into creating and supporting a revolt of the repressed (“Help, I’m being repressed!”) underclass of the planet.

Grade: C

Verdict: I will always remember going to see Back to the Future 2 in the theater. I had rarely been so disappointed in a movie. I felt, at the time, that the only reason the filmmakers decided to make that particular story was in order to cash in on characters from the original story that so many people enjoyed. If that had been the end of it, there wouldn’t be much to tell. Filmakers do that all the time. (Kingdom of the Crystal Suck anyone?) However, what made this movie different was not this movie at all. It was the way it set up the third. At the time, I had no idea how the third movie would change my  mind about the second movie, because In my opinion, the reason for the second movie was to set up that third movie.

I’ve said all that to say this: I have the same feeling with this story. Once the third in the series comes out I think I’ll probably end up appreciating the second more.

This story had a lot going on in it. It had a multiple threads that made me wonder what the real thrust of the story was. There is obviously more to the story, though I have no idea how many more books are in the series. If the pattern continues, each book will take the name of the planet where the main story will take place. I will admit that one of the devices used in the original story, (namely the banter/bickering between two of the main characters) became a bit tiresome to me in this second story in the series.

So, do I recommend it? Yes. There is still precious little young adult science fiction available, and Ms. Andrews continues to tell a good story. I hope I am correct that the stories will continue to build and that some of the devices used in this story were necessary for elements in the third.

Disclaimer: I’ve still never met Ms. Andrews or conversed with her in any manner.

 

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