Audiobook Review: The Magician’s Nephew

To kick things off for the month of August, and to commemorate the new beginning that a new month brings, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on something new-to-me: a love for audiobooks. More specifically, the audiobook version of The Magician’s Nephew from The Chronicles of Narnia. I recently spent an entire day listening to it, which has increased both my desire to explore more audiobooks and the standards at which I hold the narrators of audiobooks. I’m quite a novice when it comes to this medium, but with the right narrator and story I don’t think I will quit completely any time soon.

First, I want to say that I am part of the “enjoy a book in whatever way you like/can” camp, so I have nothing against audiobooks. I’ve just always felt that if I didn’t like a particular audiobook version it would turn me off the book completely. And, in an instance like I’m Thinking of Ending Things, I’d be disappointed if a poor narration ruined the experience for me. Nonetheless, my curiosity has gotten the best of me.

I know that there are a few programs or apps that are used to listen to audiobooks, so I’ll specify the service I use: Audible. I signed up a few months ago for the free trial so I could try out audiobooks, and since I forgot to cancel before they charged me for a subscription (three months in a row), I found that I had three book credits at my disposal.

One of the books I chose was The Magician’s Nephew. This may be my favorite Narnia Chronicle, and after doing a little research on the narrator, I decided to dive into the audible experience.

By the end of the first two chapters, I was kicking myself for completely avoiding audiobooks in the past. Kenneth Branagh gives so much life to each character; I shivered every time he spoke as Uncle Andrew, sat up straight and rigid at the stern tone of Jadis, and felt comfort and hope wash over me with the sound of Aslan’s voice. “Performed  by Kenneth Branagh” indeed.

The other Narnia audiobooks are narrated by similarly acclaimed actors, which I imagine make them just as powerful and spellbinding as The Magician’s Nephew. I may just keep my Audible subscription for these books alone…

The Magician's Nephew | CS Lewis | Audible

Speaking of Audible the app: I love it! I listened on a walk and while my fitness tracker told me when I reached a mile, gave me my speed, etc., Audible paused and played the book without skipping a beat. It was incredibly satisfying, and while I know I’m late to the audiobook game, I highly recommend using Audible (even though it’s owned by Amazon…hey, I’ll just buy a few extra books at my favorite bookstores to compensate/make myself feel better).

Do you have any audiobook requests? Favorite narrators or series that are done wonderfully? I’m excited to listen to Lincoln in the Bardo; the list of narrators is marvelous.

The Magician’s Nephew C.S. Lewis
Performed by Kenneth Branagh


  • FictionFan

    I listened to The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe from this series a couple of years ago and have all the rest downloaded, but still haven’t listened to them – I must! Personally I find I get on better with either short stories or books I’ve already read – that way, even a less good narrator won’t ruin the book for me. And the good thing about Audible is that, if you hate the narration, you can return the book and get another – there might be a time limit for that, though, I’m not sure. I’ll recommend The Tsar of Love and Techno – great book and I thought the narrators did a brilliant job with it. 🙂

    • kmac14

      I didn’t even think to look for short stories – great idea! I also didn’t know about the return policy, I’ll have to look into that. The Tsar of Love and Techno sounds brilliant; I feel the tug of “read me, don’t listen to me” but with your recommendation I’ll have to check out the audiobook. Thank you! ?

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