Museum of Thieves - Lian Tanner Museum of Thieves is a great middle-grade to young adult novel, but can most definitely be enjoyed by all. I suppose it would technically fit into the category of dystopian fantasy, but while reading it I sensed more of a "magical" and "fairy-tale-like" vibe coming off from it.

Do yourselves a favor: if you ever get the choice between reading the book or listening to the audio version, choose the latter. Back when I was still an audiobook noob, I could never understand what the big deal was. So instead of reading the words off the paper, you're just listening to someone read them back to you. No huge difference, right?

Except there is. Now that I've had more than a hundred audiobooks under my belt, I can understand how the choice of narrator can make or break a story. Claudia Black, the narrator for Museum of Thieves is probably best known to sci-fi fans for her role in the show Farscape, but I recognize her more from her voice work for video games like Dragon Age: Origins or Uncharted 2. And knowing her talent for voice acting, I guess I really shouldn't have been surprised what a brilliant narrating job she did here.

Still, just because you have a seasoned actor doing the narrating, does not mean they will do a good job. In fact, I find that some of my favorite Hollywood actors and actresses have made for the absolute crappiest audiobook narrators. That talent they have on screen somehow doesn't translate well to this format. Because if the experience with audiobooks had taught me anything else, it's that, no, narrating a book is NOT just like reading back the words on paper out loud. You can easily screw it up.

However, Claudia Black handles it all like the pro she is. She's got the different voices down with her use of tones and accents, so never once was I confused as to which character in the book was speaking. She's also great with other effects like infusing her voice with emotion or varying her volume. She's also got the most sensual voice, and even as a straight and happily married woman I must admit that listening to her always gives me pleasant tingly chills down my spine. I think I could listen to her read forever.

But enough gushing about Claudia Black. Like I said, the book itself is a fantastic read, but this is one of the few cases where the audiobook narration makes it even better. Maybe it's the fact this book was meant for young audiences, but I just didn't find the characters to be that deep or well-constructed -- but again, one of those shortcomings that a good narrator can make up for. The setting is suitably fantastical, especially descriptions of the museum and all the wonderful treasures and places within. The story itself is fun and entertaining, even for adults, though its message of growing up and independence is admittedly more appropriate for younger readers.

Seriously, though, if you're interested in this and can get your hands on the audiobook...do it.

Full review at The BiblioSanctum.