Reviewers Wanted

In an effort to expand readership, Audio Drama Reviews has opened up their doors to other critics of the art form. We are looking for a few writers/reviewers to add to the arsenal. If you are fan of audio drama, full-cast productions, audiobooks, or any story told without required visuals, send an e-mail over to Michael@AudioDramaReviews.com. Use the subject: “ADR Employment – GENRE OF INTEREST” (See below).

We are looking for 3-6 reviewers in the following genres (two for each one is the goal, but one per genre is also good):

Comedies
Horror
Anthologies

Please note, for the time being, these are volunteer positions. I’d love to be able to pay people per word right out of the gate, but it’s just not feasible for me right now.

The body of the e-mail should contain your credentials. A cover letter. Don’t worry if your new to reviewing anything artistic. Once the e-mail is sent, I’ll reply back with some follow-up questions. The sooner you answer these, the sooner you can be added to the reviewer’s roster. These questions are to help me place you inside your ideal position.

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below.

Thank you.

–Michael Bergonzi

The Death of Captain America (Patreon Exclusive Review Preview)

 

The aftermath story of Marvel’s Civil War is a story which holds no punches, but those punches are rather soft. Unlike its predecessor, “The Death of Captain America” doesn’t have the luxury of falling back on other heroes and villains in the Marvel universe, when things get a bit dull. This is primarily a Captain America tale, or rather, the repercussions of his death to everyone who both knew him and knew of him.

There are a plethora of characters in this story, not as grand as Marvel’s Civil War, but enough to keep it mildly interesting. The political undercurrent which kept the story afloat barely gets by with simple tropes. The main cast includes Agent 13, Bucky Barnes, the Falcon and many others on both sides of the compass of good and evil, including those in the morally grey area.

Want to know the rest of my thoughts? Become a supporter on patreon and get this review along with an ebook of never-ending reviews, if you donate $3 every month. Exclusive reviews like this one are easily obtained at the $1 level. $2 gets you the audio review for this and future stories.

Go to Patreon.com/ADR to learn more and sign up.

Changes for 2016: Patreon and Amazon Affiliate Links

As of January 2016, I’ve been doing this for over five years. It’s my aspiration to turn this into a business. Granted having a single focus on reviews of a relatively niche market isn’t exactly the best business model. Especially when a lot of people creating hour upon hours of content are doing it out of the kindness of their hearts, it seems kind of sleazy to start charging people.

But don’t you pay a newspaper a subscription fee to read the news they provide, either online or off? When I started this site, it was a way to give back to the community. Slowly, this idea of turning it into a business grew inside my head. Finally, after much debate with myself I’ve decided to take the middle road. The content will always be free, but if you want exclusive bonuses, I’ve set up a montly patreon account.

I tried a similar approach during my first couple of years and quickly learned I needed a following before anyone would be willing to give me money. No one subscribed and my approach of getting new followers to the site was sloppy at best. I’m honored and extraordinarily lucky to have as many twitter followers, Facebook fan page likes, and other social media outlets. For all of you out there who come back every week for a new review, I sincerely thank you.

You may have noticed a new addition to the website header called “Help the Site.” I’m hoping the directions found on the page are self-explanatory. In case they aren’t I’ve included a FAQs for the Patreon. If enough people ask about the amazon affiliate links, I’ll update the page.

Anyway, go to Patreon.com/adr to sign up.

Patreon FAQs

Why Patreon? Why not donations?
Donations would be a fine way to raise money for the site, but I’d rather
give something to fans as a token of my appreciation and Patreon is the best way to do that currently.

What will the rewards be?
Currently there are 2 rewards you can sign up for. The patreon is monthly, as I publish reviews every week. Those rewards are an exclusive review each month at the $1 level and an ebook sent to you every month at $3.

Will free audio dramas or review requested productions be exclusive?
No. All audio productions released for free on the internet and/or sent to me through the proper channels, located at AudioDramaReviews.com/Request will remain accessible to all visitors of the site.

The exclusive reviews will be for stories I’ve spent my own money. These will mostly be audible audiobooks and graphic audio productions. Since I do this every week, more stories to review is better than less.

Questions?
Leave them in the comments below.

Powder Burns Episode 3: Weep for Me

Episode three of this audio drama western takes us once again deeper into the backstory of the characters. This episode is very much a set-up for episode four. Or at the very least a moment of rest which ends on a cliffhangar.

This episode is under twenty minutes, but it feels more like ten. The pacing is fast and the tension ratchets up with every spoken word. Without this increase, this episode would feel like a sequel, rather than a scene. If memory serves correctly, this episode was just one long scene, but it’s not something you’re thinking about when listening. In fact I just thought of it as I was writing this review. So points for that. Hopefully my memory is still functioning properly.

As for the plot of this episode, there really is none aside from what was set up in episode two. Emmett is once again on the lookout for outlaw Monty Hogue. The real conflict comes from the clash of personalities of the Emmett and his deputy. The ramp up in tension in that one scene is exhilarating.

The episode’s conclusion is a cliffhangar. A confusing one at that. For the first time, we get a glimpse of what it’s like to view the world when blind. It may be the logline for the show, but the execution feels like a badly shot action sequence. The one’s with all close up shots and shaky camera work. Episode four was also released last month and will be reviewed next week. Until then I give you with a rating.

4/5 Stars

Powder Burns Episode 2: Father Abraham

At first listen, this might feel like a filler episode, but in truth it blends a “reaction” scene with some great character development. Getting to know a character through any sort of plot is a higher form of storytelling and something that can easily turn into something which feels obvious. The dreaded “author’s hand” writing motif.

Powder Burns episode two manages to slip in bits of dialogue about the protagonist’s history that it feels natural. Much like episode one where there was a sense of depth in each line of dialogue–whether it was about the setting, character, or plot–episode two has fewer of those moments, but their quality exceeds that of the pilot.

The plot for this episode revolves around a mentally challenged boy who shot a bank teller, and now Emmett Burns has to decide what to do when the town wants the boy’s life for his crime. That’s the setup. Right from the start, the tension keeps ramping up until you get to the climax where it all comes together in a nice neat bow.

Most of this episode is self-contained, save for the last minute or so before the credits where it gives a glimpse of what episode 3 might be about. We’re Alive redefined the zombie story for me and Powder Burns is doing the same thing with the western genre. Hats off to them.

4.5/5 Stars

Good Things Come

A story, whose aim isn’t high or out of reach, but right on the mark. It knows what wants to be and does it well. The plot of this tale is unusual and its form even stranger. It takes a stroll through the pre-WWII era all the way to the 80s via commercial radio ads. A fun little gimmick, but getting tiresome in the medium overall.

The story is unusual in that it sits smack dab in the middle of audio drama and full-cast productions. It sits there perfectly, using both functionalities of the different forms. In other words, I forget that most of the story was told through narration. The only times I was thrown out were the radio ads, but that was a product of the need to jump forward in time every decade. They arrived in late and out early.

The story is about a girl who has a strange fantasy of being whisked away from her room through her window by a German or other foreign boy. As the years go by, she gets older. For the most part, we never see her leave her room. There’s subtle hints that she knows what goes on in the house downstairs, but there’s never  a scene where we see her outside her room.

Overall this feels like a standard audio drama short with the stylistic tone of a Beverly Cleary novel, but with the complexity of a story for adults.

4/5 Stars

Mari

Mari is an unusual tale in that there’s no speculative or genre elements to be found anywhere. It’s more literary than anything, and something rarely seen in contemporary audible medium.

What makes this such a unique experience is the narrator. More than 3/4 of this story is told in first person POV, which occasional dips into second person. The dips are a bit jarring at first, but they happen seldom. With the divide amongst fans about what makes an audio drama, the use of narration is one of the key factors many people point to as being something which can ruin a good audio drama. Perhaps ruin is too strong a word, but you get the idea.

The main character, Mari, loves books and waxes philosophic on the books she’s read and the writers of great literature. There’s even some singing, though not a full musical number in case you were wondering. Mari works as a custodian in the library just so she can be near all the books. That’s where the story falls apart.

Seeing as how this work as no genre fiction elements, there’s no plot to be found. It’s purely a character study of Mari. Again, it’s literary and there’s nothing wrong with that. The beginning is filled with exposition and by far the hardest part for your mind to process both intellectually and as a passive listener. You really can’t listen this while your mind is elsewhere. This is true of most audiobooks in my opinion, unless you have the text in front of you.

There is dialogue, but like the dips into second person point of view, the scenes with two people speaking to one another are short and serve only one purpose to further what little plot there is.

Once you get to the middle, however, holy crap does it ramp up the drama. At that moment, you’ll know why you spent so long getting to know Mari. She has her own quirks that make her two-dimensional character biography three-dimensional and once the . It’s not a “holy crap I never saw that coming” ending, but everything from the middle onward is pure gold on a dramatic level.

4/5 Stars

Tales of the Otori: Across the Nightingale Floor

A historical Japanese fantasy set in the feudal period of the nation. The setting isn’t so much important as the places may or may not be real. It walks that line between “secondary world” and our “world, but with magic” well in some areas, but not in others. Overall, it doesn’t affect the enjoyment of the story, so its not worth going into further.

This story was highly influential—both subconsciously and perhaps consciously—in the writing of my book: Moon and Star. Not going to go into depth, except to say it’s available on Amazon for $2.99.

Moving right along, the way the first Tales of the Otori book handles multiple POV’s is wonderful. There are only two, but each one is handled in such a simple, yet brilliant way. The male protagonist scenes used first=person, where the female lead utilized third-person. It wasn’t until halfway through the audiobook that I realized the author was doing this. That speaks volumes on the immersive-nature of the story. The narrators certainly helped too.

The story centers around a young boy who watched his entire village destroyed by Iida and the Tohan. By fate, the boy is saved by a man who then goes out of his way to adopt him. The boy develops an attachment to the man, who later on reveals his true motive for being in the right place at the right time.

The twists and turns this story makes are most of the time predictable, but the way the overall arc unfolds is entertaining to the say the least. Unfortunately the ending kind of fizzles out after a the antagonist is defeated—in a non-satsifying, yet unexpected way. Aside from the slow burn out after the lackluster climax, this story is worth the time you spend listening.

4/5 Stars

3 reviews this week

Sorry about the lack of a review this past Sunday. To make it up to everyone, I’m posting 3 reviews this week. Two on Wednesday 4/22 (my birthday) and one at the usual time Sunday at 9 AM.

I’ll be finishing up Big Dan Frater Volume I and tackling an old fan favorite of sci-fi/fantasy radio drama. Can you guess what it is?

Hint: May the fourth be with you. 🙂