JIAM: The Geeky Blogger Talks About the Different Types of Narration

Posted June 19, 2017 by Jennifer in Blogger Guest Post, JIAM | | 17 Comments


Different Types of Narration (and a few of my Faves)



Hi Guys! It is Felicia The Geeky Blogger here talking about Audiobooks for June is Audiobook Month. I was trying to come up with a topic that I haven’t discussed before (that is really hard for a gal that has been talking about audiobooks forever) and finally realized that I have never talked about Narration Types. So here we go….

There are 4 main narration types:

  1. Single Narration
  2. Dual Narration
  3. Duet Narration
  4. Full Cast Narration

I believe they each have their place and if done well then can make a book sparkle. I, of course have my favorite styles but want to give samples of each one. I have picked from some of my favorite narrators and/or books to showcase. I would love to hear who your favorites are for each style.

Single Narration

This is the one I listen to the most. I would say 80% of the books I own come in this style. It is when the same person does the narration through the entire book and/or series. I have loads of favorites in this category (I own over 300 audiobooks). So I will share what makes a single narration really shine to me: ability to do voices for different ages, genders, and locals is the main thing but also the ability to hold the performance all the way through a story with emotion, pitch, and pacing. This is hard to pull off consistently but when done right it can really bring a story to life. Here are two (one male/one female) performances I feel really shine in the single narration category:

Aiden Snow: He has narrated Shayla Black, Alexandra Ivy, and many more. He has one of those voices that just romances you. He also makes his women sound womanly instead of snide or young (a big pet peeve of mine). You can get lost in the story with his emotion and pacing keeping you engaged.

Tanya Eby: She has narrated everything from Rachel Van Dyken to Susan Mallery to Tess Gerritsen. She also has an alias (she gives it away: Tatiana Sokolov ) where she narrates some more sensual titles. She is great going across the age ranges and her emotion range is fantastic.

Dual Narration

This is my second most listened to format. This is probably 15% of my audiobook library. This is when 2 (or 3) narrators (male/female, female/female, male/male) bring a book to life. Each person will read a whole chapter (or section) in the same way single narration operates (all voices) and then other chapters (or sections) are done by another narrator. To me this type narration works really well when both narrators have similar pacing and skill. It also helps if their “off-character” voices are as similar as possible. Some of my favorite combos:

Sebastian York and Rachel Fulginiti: They were great on Kristen Proby’s New Orleans series. They had to tackle a bunch of different accents, characters, and such. They have very similar pacing and there wasn’t a huge jolt between their two parts.

Donna Postel and Madeleine Maby: They did This is Not Over by Holly Brown and their narration knocked it out of the park. They complimented each other well and brought out each other’s performance. I could only find a sample of Madeleine from the actual book so I included another sample by Donna.

Duet Narration

Confession: I have yet to try this type of narration so I am going with one of the popular duos that I have listened to individually or in a Dual Narration setting. This narration is where 2 narrators work in tandem generally taking on “roles” in the book. I have only ever seen male/female duet narrations so in those cases generally the roles are divided that way with the lead narrator often taking on the “narrator” role. If you know of other duet narrations, I would love to hear who your favorites are!

Noah Michael Levine and Erin DeWard: They work together frequently and it shows in their performance. They generally have very smooth transitions between their parts.

Full-Cast Audio

While this is not true for all Full-Cast Audiobooks (sometimes they work like Dual Narrations with 4 or more people)–I prefer the ones that act more like an old-time radio show. This make up about 5% of my library. They basically “act” out the book with generally each person taking on a single role or maybe two depending on the book’s cast size. These can be a ton of fun if done right!!!

American Gods (freaking out of this world)

Ender’s Game Alive

Locke & Key

So what is your favorite type of narration and who are your favorite narrators?

About Felicia:

I am just your average gal from Texas that loves Audiobooks and Libraries with a passion! I can wine them, dine them, and love them forever. My eclectic reading tastes include: Cozy Mysteries, Thrillers, Swoon-Worthy Romance of all kinds, Zombies, Urban Fantasy, Historical Fiction, and the occasional YA read. I’m an avid dog lover that works with rescues & transports.

You can find me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or on my blog!





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Owner/Blogger at The Book Nympho
I coexist with my husband of 15 years, our 11-year-old son and two chilled cats in the Deep South.

After 17 years I've finally finished my BA in English (no I do not want to be a teacher). Before majoring in English I would not have touched anything labeled "classic", but I have enjoyed a few along the way in my college career.

While I hated to read growing up, I am now an avid book reader and audiobook listener. I love rejecting reality one book at a time. I only read fiction within my favorite (at least to date) genres which include: most romance (paranormal, contemporary, D/s, BDSM, M/M)Urban Fantasy, and a few YA (mostly PNR or UF from favorite adult authors, but I'm slowly stepping out of my comfort zone after enjoying a few contemporary YA novels in adolescent literature class I took).
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17 responses to “JIAM: The Geeky Blogger Talks About the Different Types of Narration

  1. Thanks for stopping by Felicia. I’ve listened to all but the full cast. But I plan on listening to American Gods after watching the TV show so that will be my first listening experience with a cast.

      • Yeah I’m not really loving the TV show. It’s a little too weird even for me. LOL I like “Dead Wife” and the Leprechaun scenes the best.

  2. I don’t have a favorite. It depend on the narrators. Kristine Hvam is great with single narration. Also January LaVoy narrated The
    Diviners by Libba Bray. I swear she did like 52 voices and the were all unique. The majority of the books I have been listening to lately have been dual narration. I really like Erin Mallon and Lance Greenfield in that combination. I think that’s the go to style for dual pov books. I have only listened to one full cast audio and it was very good.

  3. The only series that I’ve tried with duet style narration is Ivy Granger by EJ Stevens. This series started off as single narration with Tracie Odom and eventually changed to duet. Personally, I prefer the single, but I’ve gotten used to the duet (though the first time I listened, it was jarring, but I was expecting dual narration). I’ve listened to a few full cast (though As You Wish and The Daily Show: An Oral History aren’t quite the same, as acting out a novel), Dracula is the only fiction book I’ve listened to with more than 3 narrators. Great explanations. I didn’t know there was a term for the duet style until RT either.

  4. GREAT post, Felicia! I’ve not known how to efficiently describe the difference between dual and duet narrations so thanks for the terminology.

    David Baldacci’s Memory Man series uses duet narration. The first book was a little choppy but they found their groove in the second. It’s the only series where I’ve listened to this narration form.

    Most of the books I listen to are single narration but I’m a big fan of dual. The two books I listened to as full cast were outstanding but I think this form works best with specific types of books. Both of mine were non fiction.

    • I think I have mostly actively avoided Duel narration but I will look Baldacci’s series. It is just one that I think is the most tricky and I would think you would have to be very very good at it to pull it off 🙂

      I love both single and dual! They are probably the ones I am most comfortable with!

  5. I think I have only once listened to dual narrators where they did alternating chapters for the two main characters. But overall just single narration. Very interesting! Thanks for visiting The Book Nympho!