The Once and Future Nerd is a serialized high epic fantasy podcast and here at The Fantasy Review, I will be discussing the first book (as it were) titled “The Princes of Iorden” spoiler-free, with a personal goal to get you to listen to it because it is phenomenal.
Three kids from modern day Pennsylvania get transported to a High Fantasy word where everyone seems mightily interested in them in the sense that they want to kill them. The story is narrated to us by a wood sprite which leads to some hilarious incidents since they don’t know about the technology or terminology from our world. It took me some time to warm up to the characters but the plot had me gripped from the very first episode and that is saying something.
There are far too many characters in this podcast for me to go over individually but suffice to say they are all unique with their own voice, motivations and specialties. While some I warmed up to very quickly I had some trouble with others because they seemed tropey and that irritated me but this was done intentionally do discuss various themes of toxic masculinity, bullying, power in the society and who should have it and so many more. Don’t give on the show because of the characters at first glance. They had major character development moments which felt natural and earned and by the end of the book I was thoroughly invested in all of them and their storylines.
The pacing is fantastic. There was no point at which I felt bored and nothing was irrelevant or stretched out needlessly. It never felt like things were getting complicated or hard to keep track of despite various plots and subplots.
There were multiple people involved in making this podcast and they were all incredibly talented. They used a variety of accents to denote different races like elves and humans and even differed among people of various regions. Overall it gave the whole show an even more authentic feel and really fleshed out the world.
The podcast has brilliant music. Whether it was sounds of fighting, environmental effects like lightening, hoofbeats or murmuring of courtiers, it was all there and in an unobtrusive way at that. Again it made the whole podcast feel realistic and engaging to listen to. What’s more, there was a beautiful song in it as well, which is also available for listening on Youtube and TOAFN website called “The Singing Sister”. If you are still confused as to whether this podcast is for you (though I don’t see why you would be at this point), check it out.
I would highly recommend this podcast to fans of fantasy authors like Brandon Sanderson, Joe Abercrombie and George R. R. Martin. It has all the elements of fantasy we love and is fantastic for binging as it has a ton of episodes, all bout 15-25 minutes long. While the story is still ongoing, production has hit a bit of a snag thanks to the pandemic, otherwise episodes are released alternate Sundays.
It is available for free on platforms such as Spotify where I listened to it. You can check out the official website to see different starting points or start serially (which I recommend.)