Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that currently resides at The Artsy Reader Girl and features bloggers sharing lists on various book topics. The official topic for this week is Books I’d Want With Me While Stranded on a Deserted Island, but I am going to do something a little different and instead look at my favourite audiobooks from the first half of 2021. This is a continuation of my Top Ten list from a few weeks ago that featured my favourite overall novels from the first half of 2021.
People familiar with my blog will know that I have a great deal of love for the audiobook format, and it is one of the main ways that I tend to check out books. Each year I enjoy a great number of different audiobooks and use the format to check out recent releases and older novels. I have been enjoying audiobooks for years, and it is amazing the various ways in which listening to a book can enhance your enjoyment. A great narrator can really bring you into the story, and I find that listening to a book enhances the amount of detail that you can take in. In addition, other features, such as great voices, music and sound effects can really make an audiobook something special, and there some great examples of that out there. This year alone I have listened to several outstanding audiobooks, includes some of my favourite books from early 2021. Because I love this format so much, I thought I would take this opportunity to highlight my favourite audiobooks from the first half of the year.
To pull this list off I had a look at all the 2021 releases that I listened to on audiobook to figure out my favourites. It turns out that I have already gone through quite a few this year so there was a very large collection of potential additions to this list. I was eventually able to whittle it down to the ten audiobooks I consider to be the best, as well as a generous honourable mention section. There is a bit of a crossover with my previous Favourite Books from the First Half of 2021 list, but I think there are enough new additions to make this list worthwhile. I did prioritise audiobook production and narration over story in a few places, as outstanding narration or use of music and sound effects can enhance the plot. That is why so many Star Wars novels made this list, because they are awesome productions, which are really worth checking out. I am pretty happy with how the overall list turned out and I think that the below entries really highlight what my favourite audiobooks are.
The Coward, written by Stephen Aryan and narrated by Matt Wycliffe
Top Ten List (No Particular Order):
One of my favourite books of the year, The Two-Faced Queen, is easily one of the best audiobooks as well. There were actually two separate audiobook versions of this book, and I chose to go with the Joe Jameson version, since he previously narrated Martell’s debut novel, The Kingdom of Liars. I am a big fan of Jameson, especially after his work on books such as King of Assassins by R. J. Barker, and he did another amazing job on this book. The Two-Faced Queen audiobook is an excellent and addictive listen, and I would wholeheartedly recommend this format to anyone wanting to enjoy this awesome five-star novel.
Earlier this year, impressive author Alexander Freed finished off his Star Wars: Alphabet Squadron series with Victory’s Price, and in the process created one of the best books of 2021. This audiobook massively enhances the already incredible and moving narrative within this exceptional novel, utilising outstanding voice work from January LaVoy, as well as the iconic Star Wars score and sound effects. Easily one of best audiobooks of the year.
One of the leading authors of spy thrillers, Mark Greaney, produced another intense and exciting novel this year with Relentless. Thanks to some excellent voice work from Jay Snyder, the Relentless audiobook was pretty damn impressive, and you are in for a real treat with this exhilarating novel.
Another outstanding Star Wars audiobook was Light of the Jedi, the introductory novel in the new High Republic range. Just like Victory’s Price, Light of the Jedi makes full use of the Star Wars music and effects to produce a fantastic listen. However, Light of the Jedi also features the incredible voice work of Marc Thompson, one of the best narrators utilised by the Star Wars franchise. Thompson produces a raft of great voices to highlight the new characters featured within this novel and it was really fun to hear him tell this story. Thompson is lending his vocal talents to several other outstanding Star Wars audiobooks this year, including the latest High Republic novel, The Rising Storm, which is another great audiobook to check out.
After hearing some incredible things about the latest John Gwynne novel, I ended up checking out The Shadow of the Gods on audiobook. Not only was this book one of the absolute best fantasy releases of 2021 but the audiobook format was pretty damn exceptional. Colin Mace’s voice really fit the dark fantasy setting and he really dives into the complex characters to highlight their deeper feelings and hidden rages. An impressive and captivating listen.
I was deeply impressed earlier this year when I checked out the audiobook format of the latest Stephen King novel, Later. Outstanding new narrator Seth Numrich really dives into this excellent novel, and I had a wonderful and freaky time getting through this fantastic audiobook.
I had an absolute blast listening to the latest great fantasy novel from Sarah Beth Durst, The Bone Maker, especially as narrator Soneela Nankani does a great job bringing the novel’s damaged protagonists to life.
The final Star Wars audiobook on this list is the second Thrawn Ascendancy entry, The Greater Good. Thompson once again lends his incredible voice to this great book, bringing the unique characters to life. However, his best work is reserved for main character Grand Admiral Thrawn, as Thompson perfectly replicates the character’s voice from the Star Wars Rebels animated series. This makes for a complex and powerful audiobook, and I loved every second I spent listening to it.
One of the fastest rising science fiction authors, Michael Mammay, continued to impress earlier this year with Colonyside, the third entry in the Planetside series, which was another awesome read. You really need to listen to this novel’s audiobook format, as narrator R. C. Bray brings a certain necessary gruffness and fun to the central character. An amazing book to listen to!
The final entry on this list is the great fantasy novel, The Mask of Mirrors by M. A. Carrick. The Mask of Mirrors is a particularly fun and intriguing read, and I found myself really drawn to its audiobook format. This is mainly because of narrator Nikki Massoud, who strategically utilises a fantastic range of voices and accents to turn this amazing book into an incredible listening experience.
That is the end of my latest list. As you can see, I have a pretty typical Unseen Library Top Ten List (I’ve got to fit in as many Star Wars novels as possible), but I really do think this represents all of my absolute favourite audiobooks from the first part of 2021. All of the above audiobooks come highly recommended, and in my opinion, the audiobook format really enhances all of these great reads. Let me know what your favourite 2021 audiobooks are in the comments below, and I look forward to seeing which of the above make my Top Audiobooks of 2021 list later this year.