Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that currently resides at The Artsy Reader Girl and features bloggers sharing lists on various book topics. In this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, participants are required to list their favourite audiobook narrators, which is a subject near and dear to my heart. As readers of this blog will be well aware, the audiobook format is a particular favourite of mine and I have listened to a ton of awesome novels over the years. Indeed, this subject is so important to me, that I already did a version of this list a few years ago back in 2021 (see my previous list here). However, now is as good as time as any to quickly review and rethink my previous list, so I fired it up and had a look to see how it could be updated or altered. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like I’ll be making too many changes to my previous list. While I have enjoyed some new narrators over the years, the favourites I featured on my previous list have also continued to impress me in the intervening years, and I have a hard time removing too many of them. Still, I had a go at moving some names around, and I eventually came up with a slightly altered list. I was also able to add in a few new audiobooks from the existing narrators to talk about so it should be an interesting change for those who read the last list. Now, let us see what made the cut this time.
Jay Snyder – Gray Man series
Over the last few years, I have been really getting into the Gray Man books, and a lot of that is because of Snyder whose audiobook versions are pretty exceptional. Snyder has lent his voice to all the books in the series, and his work on The Gray Man, One Minute Out, Relentless, Sierra Six and Burner were pretty incredible. As such, he gets a good honourable mention here, as I really enjoy his work.
Jim Dale – Harry Potter series
I had to include actor Jim Dale somewhere on this due to his outstanding work narrating the Harry Potter audiobooks. While Stephen Fry also did a version, I have only had the pleasure of listening to Dale’s version, and it is such an outstanding way to enjoy this iconic series.
Scott Brick – Orphan X and Cotton Malone series
Scott Brick is the narrator of two awesome thriller series, the Orphan X and Cotton Malone books. I have listened to several great books narrated by Brick, including Into the Fire, Prodigal Son and Dark Horse by Gregg Hurwitz, and The Malta Exchange, The Warsaw Protocol and The Kaiser’s Web by Steve Berry, all of which were fantastic and compelling listens.
Joe Jameson – King of Assassins, Fire Made Flesh and The Legacy of the Mercenary King series
One narrator who keeps growing on me is Joe Jameson, a talented voice worker who has been narrating several amazing fantasy novels. This includes the audiobook version of King of Assassins by RJ Barker, and the Warhammer 40,000 novel, Fire Made Flesh by Denny Flowers, both of which were really good. However, I best know Jameson for his work The Legacy of the Mercenary King series by Nick Martell (The Kingdom of Liars, The Two-Faced Queen and The Voyage of the Forgotten), where I was deeply impressed with his exceptional ability.
Top Ten List (unranked):
Ray Porter – Joe Ledger, Rogue Team International and Kagen the Damned series
The first entry on this list is the incredible Ray Porter, a narrator whose work I always have such an amazing time with. While Porter has narrated an excellent number of books, I know him primarily through his collaboration with author Jonathan Maberry. Porter has narrated most of Maberry’s novels over the years, and they are an impressive and captivating team. I particularly enjoyed Porter’s work in Maberry’s Joe Ledger series (which includes books like Patient Zero, Code Zero, and Dogs of War) and the sequel Rogue Team International series (featuring Rage and Relentless), as Porter always perfectly fits into the skin of the titular protagonist. Porter also followed Maberry over to his dark fantasy Kagen the Damned series (Kagen the Damned and Son of the Poison Rose), where his trademark flair really enhances the already exceptional reads. I also really enjoyed his work on the standalone horror novel Ink, which was one of the best audiobooks of 2020, and the compelling debut, The Apollo Murders by Chris Hadfield. Porter always gives 100% to his narration, and he was a very easy first entry for this list.
R. C. Bray – Planetside series, The Dark, Mind Bullet and Tribe
Another fantastic narrator whose work I have been appreciating lately is R. C. Bray, who has lent his voice to some amazing audiobooks. I first came across Bray through his work on Michael Mammay’s Planetside series, including Planetside and Colonyside. Bray did an outstanding job on these science fiction military thrillers, and his gruff voice was perfect for the veteran soldier the series followed. However, Bray can also voice some other unique characters, a fact I discovered when I listened to the wildly entertaining horror novel, The Dark by Jeremy Robinson. In this book, Bray voiced a stoner character who finds himself leading the fight against a horde of invading demons. Not only did Bray really get into this different protagonist, but he helped to turn The Dark into one of the best audiobooks of the year. Indeed, Bray’s narrator was one of the reasons why I continued to seek out more books from Jeremy Robinson and I also enjoyed his compelling releases Tribe and Mind Bullet. Both impressive novels were made that much better by Bray’s narrator, and it ended up being a real joy to listen to them. I look forward to checking out more from Bray in the future, especially as there are so many other great books by Robinson that he has brought to life.
James Marsters – Dresden Files series
The next entry on this list is someone who I was a fan of well before I enjoyed their audiobook work, actor James Marsters. Best known for his roles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, Marsters has also provided his voice to the audiobook versions of the Dresden Files urban fantasy series by Jim Butcher. I found this out in 2020 when I listened to the awesome latest entry in the series, Battle Ground, and I instantly fell in love with Marsters’ take on the various characters. Marsters really dived into the role of titular protagonist Harry Dresden, and I appreciated all the cool voices he did throughout this novel. I was very excited to see that Marsters narrated all the prior Dresden Files audiobooks as well, so it was an easy choice to check them out. I have so far enjoyed the first six Dresden Files novels, Storm Front, Fool Moon, Grave Peril, Summer Knight, Death Masks and Blood Rites, and each of them has featured some exceptional voice work from Marsters, which is really worth checking out.
Robert Petkoff – Star Trek audiobooks
Each year there are a ton of Star Trek tie-in novels released, all of which get adapted to audiobook. Of these multiple Star Trek books, nearly all feature the voice of Robert Petkoff. Petkoff has an excellent voice for Star Trek, especially as he can perfectly replicate most of the Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Next Generation cast. I have already listened to a great number of his Star Trek audiobooks including More Beautiful Than Death by David Mack, Agents of Influence by Dayton Ward, The Unsettling Stars by Alan Dean Foster, Picard: The Last Best Hope by Una McCormack and The Captain’s Oath by Christopher L. Bennett, just to name a few. I currently have several of his audiobooks currently loaded up on my phone, and I will hopefully listen to some of them soon.
Marc Thompson – Star Wars audiobooks
Moving from Star Trek to Star Wars the next narrator I need to highlight is the outstanding Marc Thompson. Thompson is a wonderfully talented narrator who has been lending his voice to some of the best Star Wars tie-in novels out there, and perfectly bringing them to life. I love the outstanding range of characters that he can voice, including those from the films, characters from the animated shows, and new characters never seen on screen. I am a particular fan of the voice he uses for the character of Grand Admiral Thrawn, as he perfectly captures the character’s complexities, especially in books like Thrawn, Chaos Rising, Greater Good and Lesser Evil by Timothy Zahn. Other impressive examples of his voice work can be seen in the audiobook versions of Scoundrels, Dark Disciple by Christie Golden, Light of the Jedi by Charles Soule and The Rising Storm by Cavan Scott, just to name a few.
Steven Pacey – First Law and Age of Madness trilogies
I am a major fan of Joe Abercrombie’s First Law series, so I also must highlight the impressive Steven Pacey. Pacey is a great narrator who I primarily know through his work on Abercrombie’s novels. I deeply enjoyed the narration he provided to Abercrombie’s iconic dark fantasy series, the First Law trilogy, with each of the complex characters perfectly portrayed by this talented narrator. Pacey really puts a lot of himself into this exceptional audiobook adaptions, and I was very happy that he continued to provide his voice to Abercrombie’s Age of Madness sequel trilogy, providing his exceptional voices to books like A Little Hatred, The Trouble with Peace and The Wisdom of Crowds.
Jonathan Keeble – Trollslayer series
One narrator I had to include on this list due to my continued love of him was the amazing and impressive Jonathan Keeble. Keeble is a well-established narrator with an intense and powerful voice, and anything he narrates becomes very hard to stop listening to. I personally known him best as the guy that Black Library entrusted to narrate the audiobook version of the classic Gotrek and Felix series from the Warhammer Fantasy universe. I have so far enjoyed all the original Gotrek and Felix novels (those written by William King) on audiobook including Trollslayer, Skavenslayer, Daemonslayer, Vampireslayer and Giantslayer and each of these has featured some impressive voice work, especially around the main characters. I deeply enjoy just how much Keeble thrusts himself into the narrative with his narration, as you can literally here the excitement when he describes all the cool action. I am hoping to enjoy more of the Gotrek and Felix novels in the future, and as Keeble is lending his voice to the rest of the audiobooks, I will no doubt listen to them on this format as well.
Nigel Planer/Stephen Briggs – Discworld series
There was no way that I could do a list about audiobook narrators without mentioning the epic duo of Nigel Planer and Stephen Briggs. Both Planer and Briggs are talented actors and narrators, but I love them the most for their work on adapting the epic Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. The Disworld books (such as Moving Pictures and The Last Continent), are my absolute favourite books, and I have so much love for them, especially in their audiobook format. All the Discworld novels (as well as some other standalone books that Pratchett wrote), were voiced by either Planer or Briggs, with Planer voicing the first 23 books, while Briggs narrated the last 18 books. Each of these narrators brings something a little different to the books they adapted, but both do an amazing job capturing Pratchett’s unique humour and compelling characters. I would strongly recommend any Discworld audiobook that these two narrate, and I have so much appreciation for them. However, this might change in the future as there are some new Discworld audiobooks out with celebrity narrators. I haven’t had a chance to listen to them yet, and it will be interesting to see how they stack up against the original audiobook versions.
Jonathan Davis – Star Wars audiobooks
Another great narrator who has lent his voice to the Star Wars tie-in genre is the talented Jonathan Davis. Like Thompson, Davis is a leading Star Wars audiobook narrator, and he always does a great job portraying some of the iconic characters from the franchise. I have had a lot of fun listening to Davis’ work on such books as Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray, Lords of the Sith by Paul S. Kemp, Maul: Lockdown by Joe Schreiber and the Dooku: Jedi Lost audio drama by Cavan Scott. I also really need to highlight his work on the awesome Kenobi audiobook (written by John Jackson Miller), which features a really good impersonation of Obi-Wan Kenobi. I also deeply enjoy his take on iconic characters like Emperor Palpatine, Qui-Gon Jinn and Jabba the Hutt, and it is crazy how good Davis is at replicating their voices. As such, any Star Wars novel by Davis is really worth listening to, especially if it features characters from the movie, and I cannot recommend this narrator enough.
Toby Longworth – Eisenhorn and the Gaunt’s Ghosts audiobooks
The final narrator I want to highlight on this list is a relatively new addition for me which is tied into my recent obsession with Warhammer novels. Longworth is a very impressive narrator who has lent his voice to so many different audiobooks over the years. However, I have particularly enjoyed his work in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, where he is mostly widely associated with author Dan Abnett. Longworth has really become the go-to narrator for all Abnett’s classic novels, and I have deeply enjoyed his outstanding take on all these amazing books. This includes the high concept Eisenhorn trilogy (Xenos, Malleus and Hereticus), as well as the amazing Gaunt’s Ghosts books (First and Only, Ghostmaker, Necropolis, Honour Guard, The Guns of Tanith and The Vincula Insurgency). In all these audiobooks, Longworth provides an exceptional range of different voices that capture the complex nature of all the relevant characters. I deeply enjoyed every single audiobook that Longworth works on, and I look forward to listening to all his amazing collaborations with Abnett in the future.
That’s the end of this latest list. I think it turned out pretty well, although I do wish I could have made some more changes to it. I do think I am being a little lazy only rewriting my existing list, so I have come up with some extra lists for this Tuesday which I am hoping to get up later today. Make sure to check them out and let me know what you think in the comments below.
6 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday – My Favourite Audiobook Narrators – April 2023”
I like tthe idea of revisiting previous answers when topics like this come up again. I might have to borrow that idea from you in the future. 🙂
My post: https://lydiaschoch.com/top-ten-tuesday-audiobook-narrators-id-love-to-listen-to/
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Dale’s on my list today, too. He’s fabulous!
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I’ve not listened to any of these narrators’ work but I’m glad you’ve enjoyed them! I went down a different route today as I also did a favourite audiobook narrators list a couple of years back and though I could add a few new names, I think the list would have remained largely the same!
My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2023/04/25/top-ten-tuesday-417/
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