Since I recently got to try out the AMAZING new technology in the 2016 Buicks that makes listening to audiobooks on the go so much easier — not to mention Buick’s new partnership with Audiobooks.com — I thought today warranted a look at the best YA audiobooks out there for your listening pleasure. And since I don’t actually listen to a lot of audiobooks, I turned to my good friend Lauren, who listens to them voraciously! Today, she stops by with this guest post to share HER favorite YA audiobooks (plus, a few adult audiobooks, too).
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I fought audiobooks for a long time. I would get super drowsy when I’d listen and drive, and nothing really captivated me. That all changed a few years ago when, at the start of a month-long road trip, a friend whose book opinion I trust gave me a whole series of audiobooks for the drive. Figuring it couldn’t hurt to try once again, especially with such strong encouragement, I dug in. And it has completely changed my reading life.
I don’t say that lightly! I’m head of the book department for lytherus.com, a site that covers all sorts of scifi and fantasy goodness, and so I’m always getting ARCs to read. But what do I do about other books, books on my to-read list that keep getting pushed further down the pile due to the ever-increasing ARC influx? Audiobooks.
What makes a good audiobook? Obviously the story needs to be captivating to you, but I think things like distinct and consistent accents for each and every character, alternating male and female narrators for books that have different POV, good pacing, consistency of narrators in series, and narrators who really show emotion in their voice, these are all things that add an extra level to audiobooks.
I’ve listened to 45 audiobooks this year so far (new and old releases alike). So many of them were amazing, but I wanted to share the books and series that really captivated me as a listener, not just with the story.
So here’s my list of some of my favorite audiobooks, in no particular order:
1: The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater
This book is probably the best audiobook I’ve ever listened to. There was definitely magic made between Maggie’s lyrical words and the beautiful voices of narrators Steve West and Fiona Hardingham.
2: An Ember in the Ashes, by Sabaa Tahir
Holy crap, this one. One of the best things about audiobooks is that you really get to experience the story on a deeper level if it’s told well. There’s a really intense, emotional scene in this book that was absolutely horrific to listen to, in the best way possible. I couldn’t skim ahead, and it definitely added to my reading experience with this one. Narrated by Steve West and Fiona Hardingham (seeing a trend here?).
3: The Starbound Trilogy (These Broken Stars & This Shattered World) by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner.
Two different books, three different narrators for each. Beyond alternating narrators between the POVs of the main male and female protagonists, there are weird interludes between chapters that takes listening to a higher level. I’m eagerly awaiting book 3, out in December.
4: The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas
Narrator Elizabeth Evans really brings Celaena and the world of this series to life with her no-nonsense way of speaking. She definitely does a great job capturing the tone of these books.
5: The Falling Kingdoms series by Morgan Rhodes
I absolutely love this series, and the narration really just adds another layer of awesome to an already awesome story. Though there is only one narrator- Fred Berman – he does a fantastic job of capturing the voices of the many different important characters that make up this epic tale. The next book is out in December and it can’t come fast enough.
6: The Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix.
I was late to this series, only having read it last year. But listening to it was an absolute joy, as it’s narrated by none other than actor Tim Curry. Even if you’ve read these ones I’d recommend giving them a listen. He embodies the characters in such a way that I will forever hear his voice in my head when I think of them. Seriously, these are outstanding.
7: The Girl of Fire and Thorns series by Rae Carson.
Narrator Jennifer Ikeda miiiiight be my favorite narrator. She does an absolutely fantastic job of capturing the character voices, and I’ve listened to a lot of her stuff, including this series. Take her strong acting voice and combine it with Rae’s amazing trilogy and this is a win-win audio series.
8: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (narrated by Jennifer Ikeda)
Seeing a narrator trend here? 😉 I don’t really like fae books particularly much, but Sarah’s storytelling with Jennifer’s voice made me really love this one.
9: The Worldwalkers series by Josephine Angelini
This was actually my first series of Josie’s, I came across Trial by Fire in my library and thought it sounded interesting. I completely fell in love with the creativity of this series, and I have since devoured Firewalker. Narrator Emma Galvin did a wonderful job keeping me connected with the characters.
10: Uprooted by Naomi Novik (narrated by Julia Emelin)
This book touches on eastern European fairy tales, and the narrator has an accent to match. Absolutely wonderful story with a great narration.
Other great audiobooks I did this year:
- The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (narrated by Amanda Dolan)
- The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson (narrated by Emily Rankin)
- The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey (narrated by Julia Whelan)
Also enjoy reading adult stuff every once in a while? I have some extra recommendations for you as well!
The Stormlight Archive series by Brandon Sanderson (narrated by Kate Reading and Michael Kramer). These audiobooks will completely immerse you into Sanderson’s epic fantasy world. This series on audio is one of my favorites.
Anything written by Jim Butcher (seriously). He really lucked out with audiobooks. His fantasy series, The Codex Alera (narrated by Kate Reading), is phenominal, and honestly, The Harry Dresden Files are what started all of this audiobook obsession for me. They’re narrated by James Marsters (Spike from Buffy!) and he is Harry.
The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness (narrated by Jennifer Ikeda). This series is one of the best I’ve read in a long time, and when it’s brought to life by Jennifer I am completely captivated. This is the only series I’ve ever listened to all the way through more than once.
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Lauren Zurchin is a photographer and the creator of the Beyond Words author fantasy charity calendar. She’s also book managing editor for Lytherus.com. You can find her at laurenzurchinstudios.com.
*You can listen to these audiobooks in ANY car or on any device, we just really particularly enjoyed the experience of listening to audiobooks in our 2016 Buick Regal. And by “our,” I mean the one Buick loaned us for the weekend.
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