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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!