Click here to see all of the current Amazing Audiobooks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon by Mary Fan; narrated by Emily Woo Zeller
Tantor Audio / Page Street Kids
Publication Date: June 11, 2019
Though she longs to be a warrior, Liang Anlei has been chosen to marry a wealthy viceroy in exchange for protection for her village. The night before she is to marry she meets a thief named Tai that also wants to save his people. Both Anlei and Tai need the same magical artifact to achieve their goals and soon embark on a magical quest to discover the secrets of the shadow spirits that terrorize their kingdom.
Emily Woo Zeller’s narration takes the listener on a strong female-led action-filled adventure. A refreshing lens on the steampunk genre, listeners that love rich world-building will be appeased. Zeller’s range brings distinction to the many different characters’ voices. Through the books many twists and turns, the complicated relationship based in fragile trust between Anlei and Tai is continuously challenged keeping listeners rooting for and shipping the two.
For its steampunk world, this will be a great companion for fans of Philip Reeve’s Mortal Engines Quartet Series and Fever Crumb Series as well as Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles. For those that like a strong female lead and appreciate complicated romantic tensions like Holly Black’s The Folk of the Air series’ The Wicked King and Renée Ahdieh’s Wrath of the Dawn series will be there for the push and pull between Anlei and Tai. This is also a good listen for fans of the movies Castle in the Sky, The Golden Compass, and Stardust; the anime series Code Geass, Beserk, and Rage of Bahamut; and the video games Valkyria Chronicles and Dishonored.
–Christie Kimsey and Danielle Jones
Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller, narrated by Marisa Calin
Publication Date: February 26, 2019
Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller is the story of 18-year-old Rasmira who has trained her entire life to become a warrior and lead her village as chieftain since she is her father’s heir. In the coming-of-age trial, she fails and her father banishes her to the monster-infested wilderness. She can only return to her village if she completes her personal assigned quest: she must kill the oppressive god who demands tribute from the local villages each year.
In Warrior of the Wild, Levenseller writes a Viking and Norse mythology-inspired story about a young woman in a man’s world. The book presents a heroine who is strong and smart, but also includes some internal dialogue about confidence, friendship, and love. The author’s ability to create a story that teens will identify and empathize with is recognizable. Marisa Calin’s ability to narrate unique female and male voices is a skill to be commendable. Her ability to charge climax situations with a nuance of tone, inflection, as well as a clear indication between narrator and character is applauded.
Teens who are fans of Levenseller’s work will enjoy her newest novel. Fans of similar novels such as: Maid’s War by Jeff Wheeler, Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor, The Hero and the Crown by Rob McKinley, and Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman. For those reluctant readers, fans of TV shows and movies with warrior women, Xena, Vikings (Lagertha), Game of Thrones (Arya, Daenerys), Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Marvel and DC female superhero movies like Wonder Woman and Ms. Marvel. Fans of video game heroines from Resident Evil, Uncharted, The Legend of Zelda series, Tomb Raider, The Last of Us, Final Fantasy VII and X.