Random (but not really)

Saturday, December 29, 2018

The Books of 2018: Audio Books

Raven Boys series by Maggie Stiefvater and narrated by Will Patton

The Dream Thieves (2013)(10/10), Blue Lily, Lily Blue (2014)(10/10), The Raven King (2016)(10/10)

I love this series, and I am delighted that Will Patton did an excellent job of narrating the series. There were a lot of southern accents here, as well as a British accent, and some non-Southern accents.

It does come out in later books that Blue’s mother is from southern WV, and he doesn’t get that accent, but that’s ok, because it’s a very specific accent and only WVians would know when it’s not quite right.

There are four different teenage boys, and the three women in Blue’s life, plus other characters, and it was always very clear who was speaking. It wasn’t just Adam’s accent making him different, but Roman’s brash growling, and Noah’s soft passivity.

It’s an excellent job on an excellent series.


The Rook (2012) by Daniel O’Malley narrated by Susan Duerden (9/10), Stiletto (2016) also by Daniel O’Malley and narrated by Moira Quirk (9/10)

I absolutely adored these books, and I was pleased to discover that I also enjoyed the audio versions–even if they two books had different narrators.

These books also had a lot of characters, and both narrators did a good job of giving various characters unique voices. And for a British narrator, the American accents weren’t awful. (It’s funny, I can’t place various British accents, but I do catch that different regions and classes have different accents. Which is why it always amuses me that so many Brits utterly fail to get an American accent–it’s always something general that definitely isn’t British, but also belongs to no region of the US.)


The Jane Yellowrock series by Faith Hunter and narrated by Khristine Hvam

Cold Reign (2017)(8/10), Cat o’ Nine Tales (2013)(9/10)

I really love her narration of Faith Hunter’s books.

There are not a lot of female characters in this series, but there are a LOT of male characters, and it wasn’t until I listened to another female narrator muddle all the male characters that I realized just how good of a job she does with this series.

And no, I haven’t listened to the most recently Jane book. I wanted to wait a bit–possibly close to the release of the next Jane book, which doesn’t even have a release date.


Shifting Shadows: Stories from the World of Mercy Thompson (2014) Patricia Briggs narrated by Alexander Cendese and Lorelei King (9/10)

This is an odd one. I don’t dislike Lorelei King’s narration, but she doesn’t do a great job of making all the male voices distinctive. But I really liked Alexander Cendese’s turns in these stories (far far more than the normal narrator for the Alpha & Omega series actually).


New Watch (2012/2014) by Sergei Lukyanenko, translated by Andrew Bromfield, narrated by Paul Michael (8/10) [Night Watch]

The first time I listened to the first book in this series, I had trouble with the fact that the dialog was done with accents, but narration was in an American accent. That was just really weird, but I did get used to it.

Aside from that quirk, I really enjoyed the narration of this series, even liking the narration of the first story in the second book better than reading it, because I found it a difficult story to read.


The Spenser series by Robert B. Parker and narrated by Burt Reynolds

Small Vices (1997)(9/10), Hush Money (1999/2000) [WARNING: The production and transfer to digital on this are awful. Truly terrible.] (8/10)

Small Vices is the reason I started reading the Spenser series, and Burt Reynold’s narration convinced me that maybe I might actually like fiction audio books.

In retrospect, after listening to other narrators read the Spenser books, I’m even more impressed with Burt Reynold’s. Some of the other narrators were so awful I absolutely couldn’t listen to them, and ended up re-reading rather than listening. Luckily those were books I borrowed from the library rather than purchasing.

I do want to note that the quality of Hush Money really is terrible. The narration is fine, but the transfer from tape / CD to digital is utterly horrible and decreased my enjoyment of the book.


The Nightside series by Simon R. Green and narrated by Marc Vietor

Hex and the City (2005/2008)(8/10), Sharper Than A Serpent’s Tooth (2006/2008)(9/10)

This is another British series with a British narrator, and I enjoyed the audio version, but when Michael wandered into the kitchen while I was cooking and listening, he said he didn’t care for the narrator.

Take that as you will.


Dead Men’s Boots (2007/2009) Mike Carey narrated by Michael Kramer (8/10) [Felix Castor]

This series has been the car book, and he does a decent job.

I will say that we’re currently on the 4th book, and I was completely thrown because they switched narrators, and it’s a very strange transition, because I really like the new narrator, BUT, I associate his voice with a different dark supernatural fantasy set in London. So that’s kind of bizarre. I suppose it’s an issue that if a narrator does a good job with a type of book, they want him to do another similar type, but as a listener, I want to associate that voice with a different world entirely.


The Books of 2018

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