Ears on the Odyssey

Narrator Spotlight: Rebecca Soler

Looking for your next great listen? You can’t miss with any of these audiobooks, narrated by the talented Rebecca Soler!

I will never forget the first Rebecca Soler audiobook that I listened to: Cinder, by Marissa Meyer, published by Macmillan Audio in 2012. This book is near and dear to my heart, and I know that many others feel the same. It’s one of those books that seems to get people hooked on listening. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people mention the book, only to say–“But are you a listener? Because the audio is sooooo good!” They are absolutely right. Here’s a series that is meant to be listened to.

Since then, I’ve listened to every Rebecca Soler audio that I could get my hands on. Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles, of course, but also Stephanie Garber’s Caraval series, and a special favorite of mine, Nimona, which was the first audio graphic novel that I ever listened to. Side note: keep an eye out for our upcoming post on audio versions of graphic novels. Not the first thing you might think of when you think of audiobooks, but these ones are amazing!

As a narrator, Rebecca Soler really excels at characterizations, bringing depth and believability to the many characters she voices. She has a remarkable range and is able to portray plotting queens, conflicted teens, and swashbuckling heroines with equal skill. I just love Soler’s deliciously evil voices, and I’m constantly amazed at her ability to flip from a sinister villain to an earnest young heroine without missing a step. And speaking of steps (okay, bad pun, I know), her pacing is outstanding, and perhaps this is why she often narrates tales of action and adventure. Whether it’s accents or pacing or authentic emotions, Rebecca Soler definitely has it all.

If you’re looking for a your next great listen, we recommend any of these audios, all narrated by this most talented narrator. Many thanks go out to Listening Library and Macmillan Audio for providing review copies of these great books!

Empress of a Thousand Skies, by Rhoda Belleza, read by Rebecca Soler. 9 hrs, 13 min. Listening Library, 2017.

Crown Princess Rhee is poised to ascend the throne and exact revenge on the man responsible for her family’s deaths, but a brutal assassination attempt forces her to go into hiding. Meanwhile, reluctant reality tv star Aly finds that he has been framed for Rhee’s death, and he, too, must flee. The story moves back and forth between Rhee and Aly’s stories, traversing many worlds, each of which is populated with fascinating people and cultures. Soler deftly moves between these two complex timelines, ably capturing a remarkable range of accents and personalities, from loyal friends to stalwart bodyguards to smarmy politicians. This is an action-packed book, filled with desperate battles and deadly intrigue, but Soler’s impeccable timing sustains the tension throughout. Looks like it’s time to settle in and listen to the next book in the series–Blood of a Thousand Stars, also narrated by Rebecca Soler and published by Listening Library. (Reviewed by Sarah Hashimoto)

Jane, Unlimited, by Kristin Cashore, read by Rebecca Soler. 14 hrs, 39 min. Listening Library, 2017.

Jane, Unlimited is very different than The Lunar Chronicles, Empress of a Thousand Skies, or any other of the fairytale-meets-sci-fi audiobooks that have so endeared Soler to her listeners. In Jane, Unlimited, Soler has the opportunity to showcase her ability to narrate a number of genres–mystery, horror, science fiction, spy, and fantasy. The story is simple enough. Jane’s dear Aunt Magnolia has died, leaving her alone and grieving. Jane is invited to spend some time at Tu Reviens, an opulent island mansion, and she jumps at the chance. And then everything gets a little weird. This is a sophisticated choose-your-own-adventure book, exploring different mysteries, different clues, different space-time dimensions, all told through different genres. Soler keeps the listener’s confusion at bay with her consistent and nuanced character depictions and the slightly different tone that she uses for each new facet of the story. She helps the listener make sense of these complex realities and grounds the story with much-appreciated stability. Throughout it all, Soler’s depiction of Jane–wounded and grieving, but strong and creative and caring–shines through. (Reviewed by Sarah Hashimoto)

Sadie, by Courtney Summers, read by Rebecca Soler, Fred Berman, Dan Bittner, Gabra Zackman, and a full cast. 7 hrs, 57 min. Macmillan Audio, 2018.

Sadie is different from some of the action/adventure/fantasy titles mentioned here. In this contemporary novel, two timelines intertwine. Teenaged Sadie Hunter disappears from her life and goes looking for a man- the man who abused her as a child and may have murdered her little sister Mattie. Months later, podcaster West McCray is intrigued by what he believes Sadie’s story to be and goes looking for answers… and Sadie. The framing device of a true crime podcast, something likely to be familiar to many listeners, almost breaks the fourth wall of the narrative by contrasting what the characters discover about Sadie’s actions with what the listener discovers through McCray’s research. The ensemble cast for this production are all stellar, but Soler’s work as Sadie is truly amazing. Her Sadie is a study in contrasts, her tender love for her sister driving her to extremes of toughness and desperation in her search for the truth. One of the primary lenses through which the characters of the novel experience Sadie is a profound stutter. Soler absolutely nails this vocal characteristic, with a performance that clearly required a high level of skill and preparation. (Reviewed by Natalie Marshall)

Seafire, by Natalie C. Parker, read by Rebecca Soler. 10 hrs, 30 min. Listening Library, 2018.

In a world where pirates rule, Caledonia leads the only all-female crew in the high seas. Seeking revenge on the leader of the most ruthless and powerful pirate gang who killed her friends and family, Caledonia has rebuilt her family’s ship and has been picking up strong and powerful women on her travels. After years of pulling small plunders and attacks, Caledonia finally has a crew strong enough to go up against Aric Athair and his Bullets. In this first in an action-packed and high-octane series, Rebecca Soler delivers a performance reminiscent of Katherine Kellgren’s Bloody Jack series. She gives each of the colorful cast of female pirates their own unique empowered female personality. The pace is fast and exciting, and Soler delivers punch after punch in a nonstop performance that stops so abruptly at the story’s end that I was left in agony, finding out the next book in the series is not out until September 2019! (Reviewed by Colleen Seisser)

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