Re-Release: Ep025 – Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

Re-Release: Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

Imagine a world after the oceans have risen and the gods of the previous times have taken physical forms. In Roanhorse’s Trail of Lightning we follow monster hunter Maggie as she seeks to find the witch who is creating people-eating monsters. Along the way Maggie meets up with unconventional medicine man Kai and they hunt down the mystery while unfortunately entering police feuds, betting brawls, and enter into the middle of the feud of the gods. Isaac and Reid discuss how this book perfects the young adult dystopia genre as well as discuss how to open a book with twenty pages of intense action. The least we can say is we recommend it, and get ready for a dissection of how books should and ought to be written.

Works Mentioned

  • Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse
  • Red Rising by Pierce Brown
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
  • Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas
  • Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb


Ep081 – 2021 Review 2022 Look Ahead

2021 Review and 2022 Look Ahead

Leave it to the Prose is your podcast for science fiction and fantasy discussion. We bring the perspective of a reader and a writer to discuss what works and doesn’t work in storytelling fantastical fiction.

2021 Review

2021 was another big year for Leave it to the Prose, featuring in depth analysis and discussion of contemporary and classic works. The year started out with a discussion of middle grade books, and books which got Isaac and Reid into speculative fiction. We read through the first works of Deltora Quest, Animorphs, A Series of Unfortunate Events, and The Giver cycle. These works allowed us to reflect on those memorable moments where fantasy and science fiction entered our childhood, as well as gain a greater appreciation for the depth of work required to write for a younger audience.

2021 features our first series discussion, and Leave it to the Prose: The Next Chapter went through the first three books in the Red Rising Saga. The Next Chapter dove into the dramatic downturns of Golden Sun, and the triumphant rise of Morning Star.

We discussed contemporary works such as The Poppy War and Dreadnought. We also read The Unbroken very close to its release!

We went back in time. We celebrated our 75th episode with The Hobbit. We went back to Brave New World. And just a generation ago to the groundbreaking works of House of Spirits, Dragonflight, and Magic’s Pawn.

Upcoming 2022 Look Ahead

2021 was a great year for Leave it to the Prose, but it was also an exhausting one. As many listeners know it is a lot to juggle work, life, hobbies, and more; and as such Leave it to the Prose is modifying the 2022 plan. Isaac and Reid wish to keep the podcast going, and, in looking through the stories we most enjoyed, we landed on a complete read through of Deltora Quest starting in April. January through March will feature re-releases of some of our favorite discussions from 2019 and 2020, and then in April we will begin new content beginning with book 2 of the Deltora Quest series: The Lake of Tears.

Join us in 2022 as we read through Deltora Quest!

Leave it to the Prose

Leave it to the Prose is your book discussion podcast dedicated to science fiction, fantasy and speculative fiction. In 2021 we read a variety of stories featured below:

  • The Forests of Silence by Emily Rodda
  • The Invasion by K.A. Applegate
  • The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • Macbeth by William Shakespeare
  • Golden Son by Pierce Brown
  • Fantasy Magazine Issue 63 Read-Through
  • Morning Star by Pierce Brown
  • The Vaporization Enthralpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family and The Wandering City by Usman T Malik
  • The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
  • The Glass Bottle Trick and Old Habits by Nalo Hopkinson
  • Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey
  • The Unbroken by C.L. Clark
  • The Dead, In Their Uncontrollable Power; The Two Bullet War; and Cratered by Karen Osborne
  • Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan
  • Dead at the Feet of a God; Pattern Recognition; and Like Birdsong, the Memory of Your Touch by Izzy Wasserstein
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones
  • All Systems Red by Martha Wells
  • Dreadnought by April Daniels
  • The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
  • House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
  • Magic’s Pawn by Mercedes Lackey
  • 2021 Hugo Award Short Story Nominees
  • The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wesker
  • And then there were (N-One) by Sarah Pinsker


Ep080 – And Then There Were (N-One) by Sarah Pinsker

And then There Were (N-One) by Sarah Pinsker

Sarah Pinsker explores the multiverse in “And then There Were (N-One).” Within this short story Pinsker explores choice and a theme of “are we the best version of ourselves?”

Discussed this Episode

  • The idiosyncrasies of each different Sarah, and how this plays into the main theme and plot points of the stories.
  • The theme of “Are we the best version of ourselves?” How Science Fiction Fantasy is a place to explore themes in an exaggerated way. At face value the story is absurdist, but upon mild reflection this story pulls apart how little choices in life could lead to dramatically different lives.

Discussed This Episode:


Ep079 – The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

In the story of golem finding a purpose and a jinni seeking freedom, Helene Wecker explores human wanting against the backdrop of turn of the century New York City.

Discussed this Episode

  • Comparing and contrasting the journey of the Golem and the Jinni.
  • The character-driven plot of the story.



Ep078 – 2021 Hugo Awards for Best Short Story

2021 Hugo Awards for Best Short Story

The nominations for the 2021 Hugo Awards for Best Short Story

  • “Badass Moms in the Zombie Apocalypse”, by Rae Carson (read on Uncanny Magazine)
  • “A Guide for Working Breeds”, by Vina Jie-Min Prasad (read here)
  • Little Free Library, by Naomi Kritzer (read on
  • “The Mermaid Astronaut”, by Yoon Ha Lee (read on Beneath Ceaseless Skies)
  • “Metal Like Blood in the Dark”, by T. Kingfisher (read on Uncanny Magazine)
  • “Open House on Haunted Hill”, by John Wiswell (read on Diabolical Plots)

Discussed this Episode

  • What makes a short story award worthy?
  • Ho each of the above stories stand out.

Ep077 – Magic’s Pawn by Mercedes Lackey

Magic’s Pawn by Mercedes Lackey

Magic’s Pawn is the first book in The Last Herald-Mage Series written in 1989.

Discussed this episode

  • One of the first openly gay characters in science fiction/fantasy. Vanyel, the protagonist of the book is openly gay; but do to the marketing and era, you have to read the book in order to find out that Vanyel is in fact gay. Lackey pushes the genre forward and incorporates representation of a gay characters all under the radar enough to not — in the real world — obtain negative marketing.
  • Plot Overview: A wandering plot through three novellas.
    • A coming of age story as Vanyel finds himself. His dream of becoming a bard, and then failing. And his finding of Tylendel and falling in love.
    • Vanyel finding happiness at court with his secret lover, Tylendel.
    • The aftermath of a the horrible death of Tylendel. Vanyel’s world is turned upside down, and horribly ruined as Tylendel dies and Vanyel must find his own way through the world. The last act follows Vanyel as he slowly heals and discovers his newly unlocked powers.
  • Plot discussion: the wondering plot, which is characteristics of this era of science fiction/fantasy. The death of Tylendel occurs at the middle of the book, but it wonders afterward and doesn’t peak as dramatically.

Upcoming Episodes

  • 11/22 – 2021 Hugo Award for Short Story Nominees
  • 12/6 – The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
  • 12/20 – And then there were n-1 by Sarah Pinsker – read to the novella here






Ep076 – House of the Spirits Part 2

House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende Part 2

Isaac and Reid continue their discussion of House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende. The second half of the book follows Esteban and his children, and grand child. The book follows the family conflicts and the military coup that occurs in the government.

Discussed this Episode

  • Foreshadowing and pacing. When the coup story plot occurs, it happens fast. These events were foreshadowed earlier in the story by alluding to events yet to take place; however, the physical actions were not foreshadowed.
  • A Look into Revolution. The coup that occurs in the story is roughly based on the 1973 Chilean Coup. Allende displays the precursors and aftermath of the coup, and not just what happened from a political standpoint, but also what happened to the under-privileged.

Upcoming Episodes

  • 11/8 – Magic’s Pawn by Mercedes Lackey
  • 11/22 – The 2021 Hugo Nominations for Best Short Story
  • 12/6 – The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker


Ep076 – House of the Spirits Part 1 by Isabel Allende

House of the Spirits Part 1 by Isabel Allende

Isabel Allende’s debut novel, House of the Spirits, is a journey in magical realism. House of the Spirits follows four generations of the Trueba family against the backdrop of an unspecified South American country (Chile). In this first discussion of the story, Isaac and Reid dig into the first five chapters of the story, which focus on Esteban Trueba, as he rebuilds his family’s estate, marries Blanca, and begins to raise his family.

Discussed this Episode

  • The rudeness of Esteban. Esteban is not a nice person, and how to do write a “bad” character? Make them do bad stuff. Show them doing bad things. Here Esteban exhibits all of the worst traits of toxic masculinity. He rapes at least one servant. He is incredibly violent, directly striking servant or others; or indirectly by hiring others to do violence on his behalf.
    • You have to make a character redeemable. Perhaps the only redeemable quality is that Esteban is good at management, and he was able to bring the family estate back from ruin.
    • Additionally, Esteban doesn’t see himself as a bad person. He believes everything he does is perfect. That the hard work he does justifies taking whatever he wants.
  • Point of View mixture.  The book is interestingly written in both first and third person perspective. Several sections are written in first person from the point of view of Esteban and his grandchild Alba. The remainder of the story is written in third person.
    • The third person perspectives are written in a storytelling tone that dives into the details of the characters. The narrator in the third person moments gives opinions and insights to the characters and relationship between the characters.
    • The first person perspectives are in past tense and Esteban and Alba reflect on their family. These two points of view carry the weight of the events that have not yet happened. There is much sadness, doubt, and concern – or most of the time with Esteban, we just get his perspective of how he is the savior to the world.

Leave it to the Prose

Leave it to the Prose is a podcast dedicated to the discussion of science fiction, fantasy, and speculative fiction. Every other week Issac and Reid discuss a work of fiction (short story or longer form) from the perspective of a reader and a writer.

Upcoming Episodes

  • 11/1 – House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende part 2
  • 11/8 – Magic’s Pawn by Mercedes Lackey




Ep075 – The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

Before Lord of the Rings there was The Hobbit. To many The Hobbit is the cornerstone work of fantasy writing, introducing readers to the high fantasy realm of Middle Earth. JRR Tolkien originally published The Hobbit in 1937 and ever since it has remained among the popular works of fantasy. The Hobbit is the story of a hobbit who is accompanied by many dwarves to get to an ancient dwarven kingdom and reclaim a treasure.

Discussed this episode

  • Episodic Nature. The Hobbit in many ways follows an episodic structure where each chapter has little to do with one another besides that every encounter that occurs is on the path towards The Lonely Mountain. Every 40 pages the dwarves encounter a new enemy or puzzle and it is either their over powered wizard or tiny hobbit that saves the day.
  • Narrative Voice. The story is told by a storyteller, who at times breaks the forth wall to explain certain details of the world. In the beginning hobbits are explained, and then later on ways of elves and dwarves and men and dragons. The Hobbit plays to a younger audience because there is helper text that the storyteller is happy to dive into.
  • What is focused on. There are interesting choices that Tolkien makes when diving into details. For example the dwarves encounter a stash of ancient swords, of which two are given powerful names. Gondolin as an ancient elven kingdom is mentioned. There is an old raven. But the elven king doesn’t get a name (within the text). It is interesting how there are certain aspects of the larger wold Tolkien chooses to intertwine within this story and what elements are left out.

Also Discussed

  • This is not our first work of Tolkien discussed, do check out our episode on The Fall of Gondolin.

Upcoming Episodes

  • 10/25 – House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende Part 1.
  • 11/1 – House of the Spirits Part 2.
  • 11/8 – Magic’s Pawn by Mercedes Lackey

Leave it to the Prose

We are leave it to the prose, a book discussion podcast where we break down the critical aspects of a work of fiction from a reader and writer perspective.




Ep074 – Dreadnought by April Daniels

Dreadnought by April Daniels

A modern superhero story. Dreadnought features Danny, our protagonist who gets the superhero mantel thrust upon her. But with the mantel came a body change. Danny physically become a woman, her ideal body. The story of Dreadnought follows Danny as she deals with the good and bad of not only having to take up the role of the most powerful superhero in the world but also coming out as a trans woman.

Discussed this Episode

  • The A and B plots
    • The A plot is a typical superhero mystery story. Who killed Dreadnought? How do we find the killer? In the A plot we explore why Danny wants to be a hero, how Danny seeks to be and do good.
    • The B plot is different from the typical superhero story. Typical superhero origin stories follow a character wanting to return to normalcy, but the mantel gives Danny her ideal body. Danny does not want to go back. The B plot follows Danny’s transition and her family’s reaction to her becoming a woman.
  • Danny’s very real story
    • How do you tell a real story? Use honesty. Within the B plot Danny is not accepted at home, but there are contradictions within this non-acceptance. For example Danny has a good scene with her mother when they go bra shopping, and suddenly the mother could be a supportive figure.
    • The B story is a retelling of many coming out stories. From initial hinting from Danny to the final confrontation where the parents say the all too real “how could you make this decision about us.” These are lines taken from real life.
    • Those who have gone through a coming out story will find validation in this book. Those who have not gone through a coming out story will experience first hand the frustrations, sadnesses, and triumphs of fighting to be yourself


Leave it to the Prose

We are leave it to the prose, a book discussion podcast where we break down the critical aspects of a work of fiction from a reader and writer perspective.