Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Audiobook Review Roundup

Ever since I started listening to audiobooks last year, I've been collecting them like crazy. As is my usual MO, I'm falling into a bad habit of starting them but not finishing them.

I'm working on that.

However, I have gotten through several and have been meaning to talk a bit about them here for a while now. What better time than now, right? So, here's three mini-reviews about three audiobooks I liked.

First up: Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen. No surprise - I LOVED it! I've had a paperback of this book sitting on my shelves for months but when I saw it at the library, I knew that this was how I was meant to experience this book and I was right. No doubt that the usual reading experience for Garden Spells would have been fabulous (it IS a Sarah Addison Allen book after all) but Susan Ericksen's narration made this book come alive for me. Ericksen is superb. Her characters all have distinct voices, not just different versions of one voice, and I loved that. I can't wait for The Peach Keeper.

Next: The Host by Stephenie Meyer. Caught up as I was in the Meyer craze of 2008, I had preordered way in advance my copy of The Host. It then was summarily ignored in my disgust of Breaking Dawn but I recently decided to give it a shot on audiobook. (I'll listen to just about anything when I'm doing laundry or scrubbing the floor.) What a wonderful story The Host turned out to be! There was nothing juvenile here; the story of a member of a race of interplanetary travelers who take over planets by implanting their teeny, centipede-like bodies into the indigenous inhabitants, who forges a bond with her host and other humans who are rebelling against the invasion completely captivated me, much to my to my husband's consternation. (I was listening to this fairly long audiobook whenever I had the time and my earbuds kept him out.) Kate Reading's narration was pitch-perfect and I am sure that I would not have enjoyed this book quite as much if I had sat down and read it page after page.

And last but not certainly least: Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews. This was a reread (of sorts) for me. This series is one of my all-time faves and and I thought it might be nice to have a different "picture" of it in my head. I also expected to just enjoy the story during a time when I'm needing some entertainment. (Stupid laundry.) The narration is by Renee Raudman and I am happy to know that she is the one doing the rest of the books (it bothers me when the production companies aren't consistent and don't have the same person complete the series). Her voicing of Kate meshed well with my mental image and I really enjoyed seeing Kate and Curran meet and begin their relationship. I will certainly be looking to add the rest in this series to my audiobook collection.

That is all.


Jen D. said...

Okay so after hearing you talk about the awesomeness that is audiobooks I went ahead and gave Susan Elizabeth Phillips' What I Did For Love a try. Unfortunately for me the narrator worked my last nerve.

Is it normal for the narrator to do all the character voices e.g. woman narrator doing male voices and vice versa?

Jen said...

It depends on the book and the production company, I guess. It seems like if it's a romance or a shorter book, you'll get just one narrator but the loooong fantasy novels or murder mysteries? They tend to have multiple. I've never listened to one who had multiple narrators but I know that if whoever is reading them can't do the voices right then it stinks :) The woman who read Nora Roberts' Vision in White couldn't do men's voices. AT ALL. In fact, they were pretty funny.

On websites like audible, you can listen to a sample first. (That was a tip from Jane.) That's so important! I've brought some home from the library and tried them and ugh! Keep trying - maybe get one read by a man? I've listened to both - read by a man or a woman - and it just depends on the narrator. Susan Ericksen, the narrator I mentioned can nail all the accents. I listened to her do a J.D. Robb book and had no problem picturing Roarke (irish) or Feeney (new yawk) by listening to her.

I'm sorry you had a bad experience - with a SEP book no less - but don't give up!