My wife and I have started listening to books on audio during car trips or in the evening, and we’ve discovered that there are some absolute gems in the children’s literature section of the library. Yep, kid’s stories aren’t just for kids anymore. (And I wish I’d had stories like this when I was growing up!) In particular, we’ve been listening to audio CD’s and several of them have superb a voice acting that really enhances the story. These stories show incredible imagination, and in this posting I’d like to highly recommend two series: The Larklight Trilogy and the Bartimaeus Sequence, especially the audio CD’s.
The Larklight Trilogy is a steam-punkish sci-fi/fantasy work set in the Victorian Era of an alternative reality where Sir Isaac Newton discovered alchemical secrets which enabled space travel. Space is filled with ether, the space ships are winged versions of sailing ships – many of which can fly faster than light – and most of the planets in our solar system have fascinating societies, inhabitants, and histories.
I really can’t do justice to the creativity of the series, without spoiling things. (I’d highly recommend not reading the Wikipedia entry or other spoilers.) The voice acting on the audio CD’s is first-rate and I’d highly recommend listening to it if you can. The story has a stunning range of imagination, and a well-thought-out arc across the trilogy.
The Bartimaeus Sequence is a fantasy work that is, by coincidence, also set in the Victorian Era of an alternative reality where magicians rule the world, though magic does not work in the way you might imagine.
As with Larklight, I really can’t do justice to the series without spoiling it for you. And the voice acting on the audio CD is also first-rate. (I’d recommend starting with the first book, The Amulet of Samarkand, and save reading the prequel, The Ring of Solomon for last.)
If you like good sci-fi/fantasy and you’ve missed these children’s books, you simply must get these on audio CD and sit back and enjoy their wonderful worlds!