A Beginner’s Guide to Audiobooks #3: Narrator’s & Sound Effects

Narrators can make or break your listening experience. The author could’ve written a book that’s 100% your match, but if you don’t like the narrator it could really be less enjoyable to listen to a book. Something that could make it more enjoyable, though, is a cast of multiple narrators for one book, and sound/special effects. This post will be about all those things, so I hope you’ll enjoy it!

Narrators

Something I think is super important to realise is that it’s totally okay to not like a narrator. Sometimes you just don’t like someone’s voice. If you have to listen to that voice talking for 12+ hours, you won’t be enjoying the book. Obviously you can get used to it, but it will still change your listening experience.

Sometimes narrators and their characters are a perfect match. Other times, they aren’t a match at all. When a character is a real brat and the narrator makes that character sounds like a brat, it can be absolutely perfect! But sometimes lovable characters have a narrator you don’t like and then you just like that lovable character so much less because of it.

I’ve said it before in my first post, but previews really are important. Especially because audiobooks are expensive and you also don’t want to spend that one monthly credit on something you won’t enjoy. Take time for this! Sometimes it takes me two days to pick a new audiobook just so I can be sure I will actually enjoy it. Sometimes it’s better to just read a book instead of listening to it. Choose your audiobooks wisely!

Cast of Narrators

One of my favourite things in audiobooks is multiple narrators. It changes the entire experience and can make a book exceptionally memorable. Usually the narrators chosen for the characters match really well and like I said before, this just makes it so much easier to enjoy listening to a book. There are some books that I remember so much about simply because the multiple narrators did a fantastic job!

Multiple narrators are often used for multiple points of view in a book. Usually when there’s boy and a girl POV, there’s a man and a woman narrating the story. This makes it super easy to follow along, because obviously the girl sounds like a girl and the boy sounds like an actual boy.

Sound Effects

So far, I think I’ve only listened to one book that really had sound effects, but it was absolutely spectaculair! I remember wanting to fall asleep to the sound of an audiobook but ended up wide-eyed staring at my ceiling because “oh my good this is incredible!The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket (Series of Unfortunate Events) has a cast of multiple narrators, a soundtrack and special effects. At the time, I didn’t know this was a thing they did with audiobooks and it was such a nice surprise!

Another audiobook I’ve heard/read incredible things about, is Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. Apparently this book has a cast of TWENTY narrators and a sound-bed/special effects. Oh boy, I now seriously regret not using my Audible trial for this book…

But what could those sound effects be? Well, this YouTube Playlist should be a nice example. I’m not sure if these are the actual audiobook recordings, but these are the kind of sound effects that they use in audiobooks. Awesome, right? I couldn’t find any clips from A Series of Unfortunate Events, but it has crying babies, noisy doors and – like I said – even a soundtrack!

Usually, when a book has sound effects, it also has multiple narrators. I absolutely love this, because it really turns listening to an audiobook into an experience.

Have you ever listened to a book with multiple narrators and sound effects? What was it? And do you like it better than just one narrator reading everything?

Beginner’s Guide to Audiboooks
Basics | Subscription Comparison | Narrators & Sound Effects

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  • dominique_x

    I love these posts about audiobooks! I really love listening to multiple narrators, I’ve once listened to an audiobook of The Selection where all of the characters were ‘played’ (?) by the same person, which wasn’t nice to listen to for soo long. I think sound effects are helpful, but it shouldn’t be exaggerated. I once listened to a Dutch audiobook where the sound effects were just too much and really irritating.

    • I’m so glad you like it! <3
      The Selection books are narrated by one person, I understand how that can get boring, but I never really mind. Sound effects should definitely not be overused, I agree! It's also something I guess you just have to get used to, but if there's so many sound effects you can't concentrate on the story, it's not done well enough. 😉