Prior to the Tuesday release of the new Dresden Files book, Ghost Story, I was scanning the Amazon page for it, as is my wont. And I discovered that a small segment of Dresden fans are enraged. Enraged, I tell you! You see, the newest book's audio version isn't being narrated by James Marsters of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame, as the previous 12 have been. Because of a conflict in scheduling, John Glover (Lionel Luthor from Smallville) has taken over the audio duties. Glover, who has decades of acting experience and a mellifluous voice, should be more than suitable for the job.
But that doesn't matter. People are up in arms.
|Curse your busy schedule, Marsters.|
Such is the case with the Marsters/Glover switch-up, but in some ways, it's even worse than a TV show recast; the narrator is the lone voice of the audiobook series. There's no one else who helps to tell the story or serves as a supporting actor. There are the author's words, and there's the person reading them. That's it.
I feel the audio Dresden fans' pain. A few years ago, I heard about a hot new series that ... well, let's just say it rhymed with Schmilight. I decided to grab the audiobook because that's what my library had available. And I fell under the spell of the very talented narrator, Ilyana Kadushin. She was —and to this day is —Bella to me. Kadushin brought the books to life with her performance. Her gifted delivery pushed the narrative along even when the storyline was trite or the characters behaved like morons or the sentiments being expressed made you want to roll your eyes. When people complain about the sub-par writing in the Twilight books, I feel like I can't join in the conversation, because Kadushin's vocal talents breathed life into a relatively commonplace story about
|Sorry, Kristin Stewart. Ilyana is the Bella of my heart.|
In short, a bad narrator can sink a good book. A good narrator can elevate a so-so book above its rightful enjoyment level, as Kadushian did. And a good narrator paired with a good book, as is the case with Marsters and the Dresden Files or Jim Dale and the Harry Potter audiobooks? That, my friends, is nothing short of magic.
So audiobook fans: Do you have a favorite narrator? Have you ever had a book ruined by a bad performance?