I’ve seen lots of different opinions on audiobooks – mostly negative. An audiobook/narrator can either enhance your reading experience or ruin it altogether. So, I wanted to throw out my two cents and my personal experience with audiobooks – as well as recommend my favorite ones (and share the ones that didn’t work for me)!
After years of not reading, audiobooks reintroduced me to my love of books. I was working full time a few years ago and I literally had no time to myself. Even my evenings were full of company events/friends/outings/etc. The only down time I had was at work- when I was sketching/drawing. A friend convinced me to give audiobooks a try while I worked. I was skeptical at first. I’m not a multitasker by any means, but somehow this worked for me. I started listening to books not only while I was sketching, but on the car ride to work or during chores. I rekindled my love for reading and I started buying physical copies and ebooks after that. Nowadays, I have a lot more free time and I do prefer physical copies. Though nothing will replace the feeling of a book in your hand, audiobooks can be a convenient and unique way to experience (or re-experience) a story.
Reasons everyone should give audiobooks a try:
- -Road trips are much more fun.
- -Chores? Boring? Pfft. Not if you can be totally invested in a story at the same time!
- -Long day? Tired eyes? Just lay back and throw some headphones on! (I recommend this with a glass of wine, lit candles, and a comfy recliner.)
- -Commute two work? Why not make it fun?
- -If you use Audible to get your audiobooks- you can return it with the hit of a button if you don’t like it- no matter the reason or if you’ve already listened to it. They have great customer service too and subscriptions are affordable!
- -Want to re-read a series but get a new experience? Want to hear how names/locations are pronounced?
- -Most libraries have all the popular audiobook rentals available at no cost to you!
All that to say, I think you have to be really picky and research the audiobook first. Check on the narrator ratings. Listen to a sample!
My top audiobook recommendations:
Here’s a list of my ALL TIME favorite audiobook experiences. I actually prefer the audio experience over the physical reading experience for these in particular. Trust me, it takes a lot for me to say that.
The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo / narrated by Lauren Fortgang
This is not only one of my all time favorite series, but Lauren Fortgang is seriously amazing. She does the full cast of characters herself – and a particular favorite voice she does is The Darkling. She has him speak so slow and sultry and it works SO well for his character. Not to mention she brings Alina’s personality to life – she sounds so realistic.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern / narrated by Jim Dale
If you’re a fan of the Harry Potter audiobooks- be sure to check out anything Jim Dale narrates. He’s seriously amazing and does so many voices perfectly. He was the perfect choice to narrate ‘The Night Circus’ – a gorgeous, mysterious, and magically driven tale of two dueling lovers.
Shades of Magic series by Victoria Schwab / narrated by Steven Crossley, Michael Kramer, and Kate Reading
This is another all time favorite series and the cast was perfect! Steven Crossley narrates the entire first book, then Michael Kramer / Kate Reading teamed up for the second book. The switch of narration was a little unexpected- but I ended up absolutely adoring the new narrators! Both books are a ton of fun and I highly recommend them if you’re into London, magic, and characters with big personalities!
Legend series by Marie Lu / narrated by Stephen Kaplan and Mariel Stern
Legend is one of the few dystopian series I like. Mariel is perfect for June, and don’t even get me started on Steven and how perfect he was for Day. If it weren’t for them, I’m not sure how attached I would have actually gotten to the characters. They brought them to life so well!
The Winner’s Curse series by Marie Rutkoski / narrated by Justine Eyre
The Winner’s Curse series is a gorgeous fantasy that reads much like a historical fiction. I can’t rave enough about Justine’s narration – she brings so much depth and emotion to the characters. Her accent was completely adorable too!
If you’re even the least bit interested in the 1980’s, general sci-fi, or even video games, give this a go. Ready Player one has it all… action, romance, geekery, and more. Will Wheaton was the perfect choice- he has a ton of personality and he makes the characters so vibrant. I’m excited for the movie – but I can’t see it beating Will Wheaton’s performance!
A few other audiobooks I loved….
Those are my top recommendations- but I loved the audio for ‘The Lunar Chronicles’, ‘The Seven Realms’, ‘The Crown’s Game’, and ‘The Young Elites’!
My top audiobook disappointments:
This hurts me to even list these because I absolutely adore every single book on this list. Unfortunately, the narrators just felt so off and ruined my audio experience. All is not lost though- I recommend picking up the physical copies of these!
Throne of Glass
Unfortunately, the narrator who voices the Throne of Glass series actually turned me off from the series until several years later when I got a physical copy. Her narration made the series feel like a teenage soap opera and I just wasn’t a fan. Now, I LOVE the series to pieces… but I know to steer clear of the audio.
Six of Crows
Let me be clear. I ADORE everything that Leigh Bardugo writes. Six of Crows audio has a full cast and not all the narrators are bad. Lauren Fortgang voices Inej and she does a wonderful job as always. However, I wasn’t a fan of any of the rest of the narrators. Kaz’s narration specifically felt way too animated and fake. Reading was a much better experience for me.
Ember in the Ashes
I actually love the narrator for Elias – but I was so turned off by Laia’s narrator. It almost felt like she was trying too hard and literally every sentence was over acted to sound stressful. I recommend just skipping the audio and let your mind create the voices in the physical copy.
Have you had an audio experience that you loved or hated? I’d love to hear your recommendations/thoughts!!