Podcast Review #128: Interview with a Wizard

Title: Interview with a Wizard
Author: J.A. Areces
Genre: Harry Potter alternate earth magical fantasy
Released: 17 December 2007 – 20 April 2008
Located: iTunes, Podiobooks
Formats Available: podcast, ebook
Rating: PG – 13 for violence

Like almost every other person on the planet, I was a big fan of the Harry Potter novels. I discovered them fairly early on with only the first book of the series in print and followed the adventures of Harry, Ron and Hermione as each new novel was released. When I stumbled across Interview with a Wizard on Podiobooks, I hoped it would have some of that magic and decided to give it a listen.

So, on to the review.


On Halloween night, the greatest vacation spot in the world is about to be scared to death. A dangerous and mad wizard has escaped from jail, and there is no one who can identify him. With only seven days left before Halloween, Jesse and wizard special agent Ch-U-Ch race to solve the mystery, but time is quickly running out. (Stolen from Podiobooks.com)

Production: Interview with a Wizard is mostly good production interrupted by moments (episodes) of truly miserable production. The music the author chose was fine, until he changed it. Then changed it back. Then played it through a large chunk of one episode.I didn’t find it irritating enough to quit listening to the story; however, if it had occurred in episode one, it might have been a different story. The only reason I don’t grade it lower is because it isn’t consistently bad. The times it is however, I believe earns it the grade given.

Grade: C-

Cast: Mr. Areces does Interview with a Wizard as a self read. Overall, he does a fine job. Some might have a bit of difficulty with his accent, but anyone that complains about accents needs to realize that not everyone sound like them. It is obvious English isn’t Mr. Areces first language. However, he does a commendable job with the language with both the writing and the reading.

Grade: A

Story: I had a hard time with Interview with a Wizard. In some aspects it seemed terribly derivative of Harry Potter and other fantasy novels. Yet in other aspects, it seemed more of an original story that is simultaneously providing tribute to those other stories we love so much. On that account, I’ll let others provide their thoughts.

Grade: B-

Verdict: I have a hard time here. I with good conscience really don’t know whether to recommend Interview with a Wizard or not. Some will find it derivative and irritating; some will find it a fun and original tribute. I admit, I found it both. In places. In other places I will also admit that I was yelling at the story because of a few production decisions. I guess my best advice here would be to give this one the 4 ep test if you find the synopsis interesting. Oh, and by the way, yes, this is young adult safe.

Disclosure: I’ve never met Mr. Areces and I was offered nothing in return for this review.

Comment Pages

There are 6 Comments to "Podcast Review #128: Interview with a Wizard"

  • Thomas says:

    Odin, he has a total of 4 books in the series. I am one of those that when i start a series i tend to finish it. he doesn’t get better. in my opinion this book is the best of the 4. he does a decent enough job in telling the story. i am not sure if it is not being a native speaker is the problem or the plot/story lines themselves, but after book two, i almost quit. books three and 4 got more difficult to listen to as story elements seemed to be contrived or ignored or over simplified. If anyone else has listened to all the books, give me a shout out on twitter (@trreed), we need to talk….

  • j. a. areces says:

    Hey guys, I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to listen to Interview for a Wizard or the entire Salem Concord series. I don’t expect everyone to like them, and I don’t pretend to be a writer, however, if one person enjoyed the stories than I’m happy. I think your review was fair, and I’m glad you chose my stories.

    • odin1eye says:

      Thanks Mr. Areces,

      Believe me (or read the reviews), yours is not on my “didn’t like” list. There were things I did enjoy. You write good characters for one. I think a good editor would be a wise investment, but again, that’s true for everyone.

      You’re definitely a writer, and I suspect you’ve found more than one fan and brought many people hours of fun. Don’t try to satisfy us, just tell your story.

      And thanks for giving it away for free,

  • Lukas S. says:

    I agree mostly, but Thomas’ comment about it not getting better is just… wrong in my opinion. Sorry, that is my opinion, it does get better. Well, I, at least, liked a lot of the parts in the seond book more, or equally much, as well as in the third. The fourth is a bit of step back. It gets better near the end, and then takes one step back again. It’s hard to actually review this series, as you said. I hope that Areces will write more stories about the same characters, or maybe even revisit these books to bring us a polished, even better version of the series to enjoy 🙂

    • odin1eye says:

      Hi Lukas and thanks so much for your comment. I appreciate differing views and even moreso, polite disagreement. Thanks for providing both. Hope you found something interesting while you were here!

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