Beloved Audiobook Series

Alison Morris -- May 9th, 2007

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.

The DeGranville Trilogy (Blood Red Horse, Green Jasper, and the brand new Blaze of Silver)
by K.M. Grant, read by Maggie Mash (Recorded Books)

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.)

The Children of the Red King series (five books available so far, the first being Midnight for Charlie Bone) by Jenny Nimmo, read by Simon Russell Beale (Listening Library)

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.

The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series (out so far: Wolf Brother, Spirit Walker, and the brand-new
Soul Eater
) by Michelle Paver, read by Ian McKellan (Recorded Books)

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.

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