One of the most important things to consider when looking for your next great audiobook is the narrator. While there are incredible narrators out there who can make listeners think they're listening to a roomful of characters (staff raved about the amazing Bahni Turpin in another post) I'm always impressed when I find a full cast production. Full cast productions are a type of audiobook where different narrators/actors play each character. What makes them cool is the actors are able to pour all their efforts into just one particular voice, resulting in some truly epic performances. What's even more fun is a full cast audiobook will often feature sound effects/background noise - you'll hear doors slamming, phones ringing, voices fading in and out with distance or even songs that were featured in the original text. It can be tricky to track down a full cast in our huge library of audio options, so here's some librarian approved picks for three different age groups. Happy listening!
In this captivating tale, the listener is treated to a collection of news stories, interviews, and reports surrounding a young girl's discovery of an enormous mechanical hand. After the object is found, humanity wrestles with what it is, where it comes from and what this means for planet earth. The world that the full cast builds is so realistic that the next time you see a hole in the ground, you'll be looking for glints of ancient metal. Folks who have enjoyed World War Z on audio will enjoy this similar style of storytelling.
In my experience, BBC Radio productions are universally stellar. This audiobook collection features Jane Austen's most beloved works like Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Mansfield Park and stars some pretty big name actors (David Tennant or Benedict Cumberbatch, anyone?). When you feel like wearing a smart bonnet and taking afternoon tea, this is a great listen. If you're interested in more British works performed by British casts, check out our collection of BBC-produced audiobooks.
Reader beware, you're in for a scare! Adapted from the award-winning graphic novel series by novelist Joe Hill and illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez, Locke & Key tells the story of the Locke family, who have moved to their ancestral home Keyhouse after a terrible tragedy. Keyhouse proves to have many fantastic doors to open and keys to find, but an evil entity with a thirst for power lurks within the house grounds. If the Lockes are to survive, they'll have to fight to shut the door on their worst fears.
Six talented outcasts form a rag-tag crew to pull off the ultimate heist. Success will result in riches beyond their wildest dreams, while failure will result in jail, death, and quite possibly the end of the world. This fantasy caper boasts a diverse team of characters and a breakneck pace.
Wild shape-shifter Nimona becomes the sidekick to arch-villain Lord Ballister Blackheart and the two set out to thwart Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his cronies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics. This was a wildly popular graphic novel which transitions seamlessly into audio (with the help of some perfectly timed sound effects and a great cast). You'll be touched and howling with laughter, possibly at the same time.
Matt, a cabin boy on the airship Aurora, and Kate, the granddaughter of an air balloon pilot, survive pirates and storms while searching for mythical creatures that roam the updrafts. This rollicking adventure on the high skies will keep even reluctant listeners engaged.
Princess Cimorene rejects life as a proper princess and journeys into the land of dragons seeking adventure and a place to belong. You'll recognize many fairy tale pieces scattered throughout the story and cheer for a royal who is determined to be her own hero.
A brave group of woodland creatures (including mice, moles, squirrels, hares, and badgers) fights to protect their home, Redwall Abbey, from the cruel rat Cluny the Scourge and his army. This adventurous series of books features songs scattered throughout the text that are fully scored and sung in the audiobook version. I myself was delighted to hear the famously deep-voiced shrews belt out a few ditties.
Eleven-year-old Alex records his thoughts and feelings about life on earth on an iPod that he intends to launch into space. Listeners will accompany Alex on his journey to the launch site (along with Alex's dog Carl Sagan) and share his discoveries about family and resilience. This realistic and quirky road trip story is perfectly told on audio.