Who are your favorite narrators and why? What do you look for in a narrator? Have a preference between male or female narrators?
The narrator will totally make or break an audiobook for me. If I don't believe in what the narrator is reading to me by the middle of the first disc, I usually give up on the audio and pick up the print book. Or sometimes I just give up the book altogether. Sad.
I've loved many narrators I've listened to over the years, but a few definitely stand out. As I mentioned yesterday, I loved Brendan Frasier's reading of the "Inkheart" series by Cornelia Funke and I absolutely love the full cast audio of Shannon Hale's "Books of Bayern." I also really enjoyed Mark Bramhall's narration of The Widower's Tale by Julia Glass.
I've yet to search out specific narrators, as I've always just gone by whether or not I wanted to read the book, but I really should start doing that. I know a lot of listeners have their favorites, seeking out anything that particular narrator reads, but I'm still just drawn to plot. The more and more books I listen, the more often the same narrator shows up.
My main criteria for loving a narrator is whether or not they really make me believe they are each character they're portraying. Even if they don't necessarily do a specific "voice" for each character, if they have a manner of setting each one apart, I'm happy. The better they do this, the happier I am. In A Discovery of Witches, Jennifer Ikeda manages to pull off French accents, Irish accents, English accents (and different dialects), etc. She does it beautifully and I'm never confused as to who is who.
I really, really loved Grayce Wey's reading of Girl in Translation, because of this. She did Chinese accents perfectly, because she actually has a touch of an accent herself. It was a convincing rendition and many days I would turn off my car, thinking to myself that I could listen to that woman talk all day. Weird, maybe...but so true!
I don't necessarily have a preference between male and female readers, though I do prefer a female reading of a female main character. I don't care if a female reads a male main character, but I don't like a male narration of a female. I'm strange, yes. And again, that's not a deal breaker, just a preference.