In my April 14th post, "Easy on the Ears," I mentioned my love for several book series on audio. Here are three that are especially worthy of mention.
I adored the first two books of this series on audio and consider them to be two of the most engrossing I've listened to. British reader Maggie Mash lends the perfect tone to these epic Crusades-era narratives and creates distinct voices for the books' four main characters: Gavin, Will, Eleanor and Kamil. Having so loved listening to the first two books I was anxious to get my hands on a galley of Blaze of Silver, but once I did…? I couldn't bring myself to read it. I started to do so, but one chapter in I determined that it just wasn't the same, reading the book to myself. I started the trilogy with Maggie and I want to end it that way too. So determined is my Maggie Mash resolve that I have now had the galley for about seven months, the actual book is now selling from the shelves of our bookstore, and I STILL haven't caved. Any day now some wonderful library in the Minute Man library system will acquire the audio for Blaze of Silver so that I can finally begin listening! (The recording is not available for sale to retail stores or for download anywhere yet, so I'm forced to wait it out.)
Like the DeGranville Trilogy, this is a series that I do only on audio. Why? Because Simon Russell Beale is truly what makes it work for me. I have such distinct impressions of each of the books' many characters, and what makes them so fully formed in my mind are the voices Beale has assigned to each of them. Charlie's Uncle Peyton, his friend Benjamin, his enemy Manfred, even his three aunts — each has such a distinct voice, so perfectly suited to their character. I have talked to others who have read (but not listened to) the Charlie Bone series, and who are less enthusiastic about it than I am. I think it's the absence of Beale in their experience that's to blame.
Katrina Van Amsterdam (my new sidekick) comes from a family of audiobook listeners, and I have them to thank for introducing me to the audio versions of Paver's books. I read Wolf Brother and enjoyed it, but the Van Amsterdams convinced me that I really ought to try listening to them. (The mere mention of Sir Ian McKellan's name was all I really needed to hear.) I listened to Spirit Walker and was both transfixed and spooked out of my wits. The drama! The suspense! I have since gone back and listened to Wolf Brother, which was like a completely different story under the spell cast by McKellan. While I have not yet listened to it, I have no doubt that Soul Eater will be the same.