More Audiobook Narrators We Love
Since it’s Audiobook Month, we decided that now would be a good time to update our favorite narrators list from 2013 (yikes!). Despite the long gap since we talked about favorite narrators, that has given us plenty of time to grow as audiobook listeners and discover new and amazing voices. We still love our initial picks and Simon Vance still holds a special place in our hearts, but we’ve found no shame in collecting more voices for our favorites list.
Mogsy says: Jennifer Mendenhall is best known to the audiobook world as Kate Reading. Her voice radiates strength and class, making her perfect for the character of Isabella in Marie Brennan’s Memoirs by Lady Trent, one of my favorite fantasy series. I first heard her though, from the audiobooks of Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive, narrating alongside her husband Michael Kramer. Every performance I’ve heard from her has been a stellar experience, including the books in the Young Adult series The Goddess War by Kendare Blake.
Tiara says: I’ve recently started listening to the Jane Yellowrock books, and I really love Khristine’s slight twang that she gives Jane. However, I’ve heard Hvam before in an audiobook that collected the short stories of Eudora Welty. I’ve also listen to her narration for Cast in Shadow, Snow White and the Huntsman (yes, based on the movie), Pretty Little Dead Girls, and as one of the narrators in Vampires: The Recent Undead. She has a great range and does so well with the voices of the characters. She’s an absolute joy to listen to. Favorite Book Narrated: Pretty Little Dead Girls: A Novel of Murder and Whimsy by Mercedes M. Yardley
Wendy says: I’ve got a thing for deep, rich voices and Dick Hill definitely fits that description when it comes to narration. Yet, he also narrates female characters, including Lessa, the dragondrider of Anne Macaffrey’s Pern series, and the sisters in David Anthony Durham’s Acacia series. Though I’ve only listened to two books narrated by him, I’m certain that his Audie and Earphone awards are well-earned, especially when it comes to presenting stories on as grand a scale as Acacia, which features varied locations, cultures, and many people, each of whom Hill uniquely brings to life.
Mogsy says: I believe I’ve only listened to one audiobook narrated by R.C. Bray ever, but already his name has shot its way up to the top of my favorite narrators. The book I listened to is, of course, The Martian by Andy Weir. If you haven’t read this book yet, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! Read it. Or better yet, listen to it. I highly recommend the audiobook version, in which Bray delivers one of the best performances I’ve ever heard. It’s been nominated for multiple audiobook awards, and for good reason; Bray gave Mark Watney the perfect voice, and from from what I could hear in his performance, I’m guessing he had a great time narrating the book too.
Tiara says: Bernadette Dunne is one of those narrators who surprises you with what she narrates and how good she is at those narrations. She narrates everything from young adult to nonfiction bringing her own style to everything she narrates. She’s narrated such notable books as Memoirs of a Geisha, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, the Under the Never Sky series and The Year of the Flood. My personal favorites of hers are the horror stories she narrates, though. As a long time horror fan, nothing scares me anymore, but even I have to give in to the eerie vibe that Dunne brings to a story. Favorite Book Narrated: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Wendy says: Reading for an ensemble cast can’t be easy, yet narrators like Justine Eyre certainly make it sound so. She narrates a recent favourite, Patrick Weekes’ The Palace Job, which features several main characters. The kicker? Eyre also gives them very distinct accents to go along with their unique personalities, and wraps her tongue smoothly around nouns and phrases that are far outside any language we might know in the real world. You try yelling “Kun-kabynalti osu fuir’is!” five times fast, and instill within those few words, all the different meanings a warhammer imbued with the soul of an ancient king can express.
Mogsy says: When I was looking through my library of audiobooks, I realized I’ve actually listened to a lot narrated by MacLeod Andrews. No surprise there; Andrews is an accomplished stage actor and award winning audiobook narrator, with over two hundred titles under his belt according to my Audible search. He lends his voice to a lot of Young Adult audiobooks too, so it’s not a surprise either that my favorite performances of his are the from titles like Talon by Julie Kagawa, The Dragons of Dorcastle by Jack Campbell, and Firefight by Brandon Sanderson. It’s this last one that made me sit up and pay attention, because he did an amazing job delivering a full range of voices for the characters of The Reckoners and even made protagonist David Charleston’s strange sense of humor and bad metaphors work for me. No small feat.
Tiara says: The discovery of Jesse Bernstein came quite accidentally. I used to drive my children to school, and I got really into audiobooks during that time. I never listened to anything too graphic, but I never knew my son was paying attention because he’d always have his toys in the car or his own books. I was listening to Butcher’s Fool Moon one morning, and as I dropped him off, he said: “Don’t listen to the rest without me. I want to know what happens!” That’s when I knew it was time to find some kid appropriate listening for our drives. We chose the Percy Jackson series, and we haven’t looked back since. Bernstein is an excellent narrator of this series combining the perfect amount of wit, humor, and fun in his narration. Favorite Book Narrated: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Wendy says: It’s one thing to read a book where the author uses phrasing that reflects the dialects and culture of my birth or of my culture. It’s another thing entirely to be immersed in it as I listen to a narrator. I am black so when I hear accents that reflect the various cultures that are part of that instead of the usual North American and European variations, it’s a special treat for me. In Tananarive Due’s The Good House, Robin Miles captures everything from my homeland of Jamaica, as well as the the southern drawl of the United States, with special attention for the very beautiful dialects found in New Orleans.