Today’s topic for Audibook Week is sound effects in audiobooks.
Personally I have issues with sound effects in my audiobooks. My current listen, Water for Elephants by Sarah Gruen has music at the end and then start of each chapter, OVER the narration! It drives me batty, especially if I am listening to it in a slightly noisy place. I had the same problem with The Giver by Lois Lowry. I understand that often this music is there to help signal that there is a chapter break, which can be helpful if you need to pause for some reason, but really it is to annoying for me to give it a pass.
Related to sound effects is accents. I’m a bit more divided on the accent issue. Sometimes accents help to clarify who is speaking, especially if there are few other markers. Sometimes however accents make the characters sound stupid. I found this to be the case with the voice of Officer/Detective Peabody in the In Death series by J.D. Robb. For me bad accents can really ruin an otherwise good book. This is probably especially true if I have previously read the book in hardcopy. I tend to develop an idea about how the character should sound.
Associated with accents is the question of multiple narrators. I have to admit I was sceptical at first. But then I listened to Room by Emma Donoghue and then The Help by Kathryn Stockett and I was completely converted. The different narrators in these books gives the book something extra. It makes it easier to follow and in the case of Room it actually makes the story more believable. Jacks voice feels more genuine and not affected which can be the case when narrators choose to do accents when narrating a story.
So for me, sound effects=bad; accents=sometimes good, sometimes bad; multiple narrators=good (so far)