11 Outstanding Audiobook Narrators

It’s no secret that I love listening to audiobooks. It was something that took me a little while to figure out because I had to realize that you can’t just pick up any old audiobook and narrator by chance. Once I found my groove of voices I liked to listen to, I essentially kept coming back to the same narrators and then after that, actively sought them out, even if it wasn’t a book that I was initially interested. What’s neat about that is that I got to have the audiobook experience as well as pick up a totally unique read that I might have otherwise missed!

I tend to fall a little bit in love with my audiobook narrators. Some narrators are just so pleasant to listen to that I look for books JUST because they narrate them and especially when some of these male voices portray my book boyfriends, well… I develop a little crush. I’ve noticed that I tend to listen to more male narrators than female (I don’t know if that’s related or not) but I do have some female favorites too! Here are my recommendations for voice actors that totally nail it in the personality, performance, and overall experience!

Note: Each featured narrator includes links to audiobooks that I’ve listened to from them. They have way more that they’ve done but these are the books that I’ve listened to!

audiobook narrators

MACLEOD ANDREWS

LIES BENEATH | THE RECKONERS TRILOGY | THE BOY MOST LIKELY TO | HELLHOLE | WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON

MacLeod Andrews might be my all-time favorite audiobook narrator. If not, he’s certainly in the tops. I just love his narration and he has one of those voices that just really brings the characters to life. He puts so much personality into each character and really brings a different tone to each book that he narrates. I just love listening to his voice and I think he does an amazing job with every book. I have started picking books JUST because he narrates them and I’ve got a long list of even more that I want to hear!

MICHAEL KRAMER

THE MISTBORN SERIES | THE RITHMATIST

Michael Kramer is best-known (in my book) for narrating Brandon Sanderon’s books. I started the audio for MISTBORN because the books were long and I was afraid that I was going to take a long tim to read it. I had also picked it up on sort of a whim because I was waiting for Patrick Rothfuss’s books but they weren’t available at the time so I grabbed MISTBORN from the library instead. I LOVE his narration, his voices, his attitude. It’s totally just the best. I wish he narrated more YA because that’s what I read more of but maybe I’ll have to check out more adult just to listen to him!

MICHAEL PAGE

THE GENTLEMAN BASTARD SERIES

The only thing I’ve listened to from Michael Page so far is The Gentleman Bastard series (all three books so far) and GOSH I just love him. He brings such life to the characters and gets to do some epic swearing and I LOVE it. I love his British accent and he’s just so much fun to listen to. I’m seeking out other things that he narrates but haven’t tried them yet.

NICK PODEHL

THE KINGKILLER CHRONICLE | WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON

I looooved Nick Podehl narrating THE NAME OF THE WIND and THE WISE MAN’S FEAR. He narrates some YA and I’ve been looking for those too! I actually picked out WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON despite my ambivalence for John Green just because Nick Podehl and MacLeod Andrews narrated and it was really enjoyable! Sometimes favorite narrators can totally make a book.

STEVE WEST

THE SCORPIO RACES | AN EMBER IN THE ASHES | THE CROWN’S GAME

Steve. West. Ladies and gentlemen, hoo boy, he can make a girl fall in love. I listened to THE SCORPIO RACES as my first read and I can’t ever read the print version again. He IS Sean Kendrick, all broody and gorgeous. I’ve listened to the audiobook three times and I plan to keep listening every fall (and I can’t wait for my next listen IT’S COMING UP).
On the flip side, an amazing narrator cannot save a book if it’s not working. I bought AN EMBER IN THE ASHES because Steve West (AND Fiona Hardingham, who also co-narrates THE SCORPIO RACES) were the narrators for it and I was sure I’d love the book AND the narration. I said Steve West could narrate the phone book and I’d love it. WELP. I didn’t finish EMBER. I just wasn’t connecting with the book but it wasn’t the narrator’s fault. Just an important lesson!
I also haven’t listened to THE CROWN’S GAME yet (I read the ARC) but I bought the audio to prepare for the re-read before book two comes out! I just loved the book and hello, Steve West.

JULIA WHELAN

THE CONSPIRACY OF US | FORGOTTEN

I listened to FORGOTTEN before I even paid attention to audiobook narrators — I just grabbed whatever looked interesting from the library — but looking back, I totally did enjoy Julia Wheelman’s narration! I rediscovered her when listening to Maggie Hall’s books, THE CONSPIRACY OF US and MAP OF FATES and I’m dying for more of that series but I’ll settle for more books narrated by Julia Whelan until then!

WIL WHEATON

READY PLAYER ONE | ARMADA

Wil Wheaton is totally the best. He’s SO energetic and so much fun. I get so excited listening to him narrate and he brings such energy to each book. I totally fell in love with READY PLAYER ONE and still want to do a re-read, listening to the audio again because it was just that good. Of course I grabbed ARMADA on audio because Wil Wheaton was narrating that too and it was awesome! There were actually a lot of mixed reviews on the book but I had so much fun listening that I was totally hooked.

 

JORJEANA MARIE

THE BOY MOST LIKELY TO | THE DARKEST CORNERS | WINK, POPPY, MIDNIGHT

Jorjeana Marie is a new favorite of mine! I first heard her in WINK, POPPY, MIDNIGHT and when I got to listen to THE DARKEST CORNERS, I started catching on. When I picked up THE BOY MOST LIKELY TO (for MacLeod), I realized how much I really like her narration and I’m looking forward to more from her!

LORELAI KING

THE STEPHANIE PLUM SERIES | FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT

FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT was another random library grab and that was the first time I heard Lorelai King. I ended up switching to audio for Stephanie Plum somewhere along the way and even though I have ups and downs with the series (mostly positive but sometimes things get silly), I’ve always loved the narration! Lorelai King does a really, really good job at giving all of these characters different voices and she’s so consistent at it too. Always keeping in tone with the books, she does a really great job at keeping the fun in them too!

JIM DALE

HARRY POTTER | THE NIGHT CIRCUS | PETER AND THE STARCATCHERS

I actually knew Jim Dale’s voice from Pushing Daisies (who are my fellow Pushing Daisies fans!?) and I was SO SURPRISED when I heard him as I started THE NIGHT CIRCUS! I didn’t know his name so I didn’t realize that was the same voice! I was so excited and then found out that he narrates the Harry Potter series too and promptly started my re-read of the series on audio.

NEIL GAIMAN

THE GRAVEYARD BOOK | STARDUST | AMERICAN GODS

THE GRAVEYARD BOOK was my first Neil Gaiman book EVER and I had no idea that he narrated (some of) his own books! I just love his voice and it’s always so special when an author narrates their own books because you know exactly what they meant and exactly their intonation for each character. He just does such an amazing job (and the British accent doesn’t hurt). I’ve been planning to read NEVERWHERE for a long time and I’m excited to listen to another audio!


What are some of your favorite audiobook narrators? Do we share any of the same favorites? Which would you recommend? I’m always looking for new favorites!

17 thoughts on “11 Outstanding Audiobook Narrators

  1. Kistie

    Lin-Manuel Miranda narrates Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. It was the first audiobook I listened to before I read the physical copy. I didn’t even realize it was him until I looked at the picture of the book again about half way through and said to myself “so that’s why I like this narrator” haha.

    1. Brittany Post author

      Oh my gosh haha! That’s amazing. I did the same thing with Will Patton narrating The Raven Cycle. I was like, “This voice sounds familiar and this name sounds familiar… is it…?” And then I had to look up a picture and it was him!

  2. Sarah K

    I was recently blown away with Katherine Kellgren who narrated My Lady Jane! She was fabulous, funny and did an awesome job with each character! I loved the audiobook!

    1. Brittany Post author

      Ooh thank you! The name sounds familiar but I can’t recall if I’ve listened to her narration or if I’ve seen it in passing. I’ll check her out!

  3. Jaime

    I love a good narrator! One of my faves is Michael Crouch- he did Simon Vs and it was just absolutely perfect! Also I though the narrator for the winners crime was amazing! Oh and I am listening to These Broken Stars and the narrators for it are perfect!!

    Great list!!

    1. Brittany Post author

      Oh excellent! MacLeod Andrews narrates the last book in the TBS series so I wanted to get to those HAHA. I’ve heard of Michael Crouch in so many places but I don’t think I’ve listened to him… maybe I have! I need to sample, especially on your recommendation!

  4. Ashley

    I love Julia Whelan, too! I fell in love with listening to Khristine Hvam narrate the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. I’ve never thought to seek out audiobooks by narrator though – I’ll have to give that a try. I’ve had two back-to-back duds that I’m pretty sure were caused by narration.

    1. Brittany Post author

      I love Kristine Hvam too!! I just listened to the very end of DoGaM on audio (I was having a hard time finding time to read so I switched to audio) and loved her! I also listened to Dreamland and her narration was great, even if I didn’t totally love the book. I need to find more things that she narrates! I forgot about her!
      I think the narration TOTALLY makes a difference. A boring or irritating narrator will totally kill it for me.

  5. Elisqaured

    Ah Nick Podehl is SO good! I am now super excited to get Will Grayson, Will Grayson because not only do I love that book, he was the first audio reader that I absolutely fell in love with.

    The book I listened to him with was Seth Baumgartner’s Love Manifesto by Eric Luper, so I 100% suggest checking that one out. The book is super funny in it’s own right, and nick just makes the characters come alive so effortlessly! So good!

    Thanks for all the wonderful suggestions! I’ve just gotten into audios, and they are a life saver for my hour commute (also they keep me less stressed from all the crazy drivers–go figure!). I’ll definitely have to check some of these suggestions out.

    Also do you find Audible to be a good deal/site to use? Since audios are expensive, I typically get them on CD from my library, but with how more popular mp3s are nowadays, I thought I should check into getting them that way.

    1. Brittany Post author

      Ooh I will definitely check that book out! I don’t think I’ve even heard of it before. Thank you!!
      I’ve gotten a lot from my library (I use their Overdrive system so I can download them digitally instead of borrowing CDs – but I have done that too!) and since I’m a big audiobook person, I actually reached out to some publishers to request review copies of audiobooks. That’s how I’ve been doing a lot too!
      Audible is always good for me – it’s the easiest for me to use by far and so organized! But also expensive. I only have one credit per month but it’s helpful borrowing things from the library/listening to review books to fill in those gaps! I also signed up for the Daily Deal alert and I like to buy things when they’re on sale so I don’t have to use credits for those.
      I was also recently introduced to Hoopla! It’s like Overdrive but I guess you have even MORE of a selection. I signed up immediately and thought it didn’t work for me but it turns out that it took like a week or two for an email to come through and everything was working! Don’t know if that was library-specific or just a weird glitch but there were so many audiobooks available for me to borrow and they’re totally free because it’s through your library! You should check it out 🙂

  6. Valerie Pennington

    Ohmygoodness, NICK PODEHL. I love his voice and I wish that he could narrate everything. He’s easily the best that I’ve ever heard. 🙂

  7. Lauren @ Bookmark Lit

    Yessss Julia Whalen and Jim Dale made my list that I posted a few weeks ago! I listened to The Boy Most Likely To and enjoyed his narration but didn’t look into other books… I may have to change that!

  8. Chrystal

    I loved Wil Wheaton narrating Ready Player One – I think it made the whole experience that much more amazing than reading he book myself. I need to pick up Armada soon.

    I’ve listened to Stardust narrated by Neil Gaiman – loved it!

    Now I need to listen to Jim Dale with the Harry Potter series and The Night Circus. And I’ll. Have to check out some of he other narrators you’ve listed. Thanks!

  9. Mary

    Do you have time to read my list of best narrators? YES to Steve West (who I always refer to as STEVE WEST like STEVE HOLT from Arrested Development) and Nick Podehl. I enjoyed Nick in WG, WG, but he and Saskia Maarleveld BLEW ME AWAY with their performances in Sarina Bowen’s Ivy Years series, particularly Blonde Date, in which Nick has some truly spectacular scenes.

    Johnathan McClain is probably my all-time favorite. He’s amazing as Tarver in TBS and Ezra in Illuminae, particularly the drunk email. I moderated a stop on Amie & Jay’s recent tour, and when asking them about the audiobook, I literally played the drunk email for the audience.

    Romance-wise, I adore all of Christina Lauren’s audios. Sebastian York, Grace Grant, Jonathan Cole, and STEVE WEST doing an Aussie accent? YES. NEED. I quite like Andi Arndt, who does Kylie Scott’s books, Callie Dalton for Mariana Zapata’s Kulti, and both Teddy Hamilton and Jacob Morgan in Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen’s Him.

    Thirding the rec for Khristine Hvam; she’s marvelous. Jennifer Ikeda did a good job in ACOTAR/MAF. There are five narrators for the Remnant Chronicles books, and they are utterly perfect. I just finished reading Beauty of Darkness, but I loved it so much I’m going to listen to it as soon as I finish SYBG. Rebecca Soler is marvelous in the TLC audios, and I’m a huge fan of Rebecca Lowman, who does all of Rainbow Rowell’s.

    I have Opinions on who I don’t like so if you ever want bad recs, I’ve got those too (I actually didn’t care for the MLJ narrator. I thought she was shrill and inconsistent. Plus, I wanted male narrators for G and Edward).

    Hoopla is fantastic. I call it Netflix for libraries when I explain it to patrons at my library. Basically your library owns a subscription, which means they get access to an expanded selection of items without having to pay for them individually, they way they do with the items on Overdrive and other digital apps. It’s a good way to add to the collection without buying individual items.

    1. Mary

      OH! I forgot to mention Libba Bray narrating her Beauty Queens is the performance that got me hooked on audios. She’s phenomenal!

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