The Trouble With Audiobooks

The title of this may mislead you to think that I do not like audiobooks, but that is not the case. Audiobooks are incredible, and can really bring a story that would otherwise be plain and forgettable into something that will stir your spirit. While they are a wonderful way to pass the time and to squeeze in a couple extra books every month, there are a few problems.

The first problem will be obvious to anyone who writes about books. When you listen to a book, you HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO SPELL ANY OF THOSE CRAZY NAMES. This is especially true of sci-fi and fantasy novels because the names of people, locations, items, ideas – everything- can be a little tricky to spell if you’ve seen it in writing, but when you only hear it, it can get tricky. Mostly I can find a Wikipedia article or a synopsis or another bloggers review and I can figure out the spelling, but it’s really frustrating and can be time consuming. Does anyone else have this problem? I can’t be the only one and would love to hear your tips!

The second problem is the narrator- or more specifically, the same person narrating different series by different authors. One of the best examples of this is the narrator Tim Gerard Reynolds. He’s fantastic and I love his voice- he adds the perfect amount of personality and inflection when he narrates, BUT HE SOUNDS THE SAME IN EVERY SINGLE BOOK SERIES. I first encountered his voice while listening to the Red Rising trilogy by Pierce Brown (spectacular, by the way- you should check it out) and he was perfect! I could envision exactly what was happening and the attitudes, personalities and all the little minutiae that I wouldn’t typically get when just reading. However, now I can only think of Sevro, Darrow, Mustang and the others basically acting out all these other books. I’m currently listening to Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan, which is narrated by Tim Gerard Reynolds and it’s just unsettling at first how much I automatically think “Hey, it’s Sevro!” and then I mentally correct myself. This was even more so true for me when I tried to listen to The Cycle of Arawn by Edward W. Robertson because the two main characters, Dante and Blais, sounded 100% exactly like Darrow and Sevro – matching personalities and all.

These are the only two problems I have with audiobooks that aren’t the usual things like poor narration and strange mispronunciations of words or names and the fact that I can’t actually sit these on my shelf.


3 thoughts on “The Trouble With Audiobooks

  1. he … yeah, sometimes I’ll be listening and realize “Hey, I’ve heard this voice before” and go back to figure out which audiobook it was (cause I don’t always remember). But I’d rather listen to a great narrator multiple times, even if they read the same (assuming the same style works for both books), then an assortment of mediocre narrators. The plus side to the names, is sometimes you don’t even realize how crazy they are spelled. There are some I think I might find a little distracting in text but hearing someone say them fluidly (instead of my bumbling attempt at pronunciation) keeps the book going.


  2. I love Tim Gerard Reynolds too! But yeah, I kinda felt he was the wrong choice to read the Red Rising trilogy when I listened to Morning Star earlier in the year. Or maybe I’m just too used to his narration on the Riyria books. To me, he’s Royce and Hadrian, and when he was Darrow I thought he made him sound way too old. But putting up with less-than-perfect narration is a small price to pay though, given the convenience of audiobooks! On a busy day full of errands and chores, I might even be able to finish a full book 🙂


    • Shewww, it takes me at least a week to finish an audiobook and that all depends on what I’m doing at work. I’m loving Theft of Swords, by the way! Royce and Hadrian are great!


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