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The best fantasy series (audiobooks especially!) can take us out of the world we live in and introduce us to perspectives we perhaps hadn’t considered before. The role of fantasy (and sci-fi), after all, is to allow us to explore new ideas and worlds we cannot yet reach on our own. Similarly, audiobooks allow readers to experience books through a different sense than sighted people might usually access.
When I’m looking for an audiobook, I generally seek something in the fantasy or cozy mystery realm; I am looking for a book I can listen to with most of my attention while I do other things like chores, commute, or paint. I tend to look for fantasy audiobooks in particular, since they often come as a series and I have loved a long, drawn-out story since forever. (Despite neither being a fantasy series, I blame both Sweet Valley High and The Babysitters Club.)
Today, we’re exploring the intersection of fantasy and audiobook. Why not pop on your favorite headphones, download Book #1, and see where your mind and a great narrator can take you? I promise the best fantasy series audiobooks will make sweeping your floor or vacuuming out your car a far more enjoyable task.
The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss
Series: The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club
Mary Jekyll is penniless and trying to find her way in late 19th c. London after the death of her parents. With the help of her friends Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, she is led to her half-sister, Diana Hyde, who was abandoned and left to be raised by nuns.
This is a delightful gathering of your favorite late Victorian British/European tales with a cast of young ladies I’d love to have tea with.
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin
Yeine Darr has been summoned to the city of Sky when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances. Upon arrival, she is named heir to the kingdom, but power is never easily won and she has a lot to learn.
Inheritance is some of N.K. Jemisin’s early work and if you’re not yet ready for her Broken Earth trilogy, I’d recommend starting here. Note: while called a trilogy, it has 4.5 books.
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
Series: All Souls
Diana Bishop accidentally requests a magical text from the Bodleian Library that hasn’t been seen for many years. She has eschewed her family’s ties to witchcraft, but the text that is now tied to her has set a number of fantastical creatures on her trail.
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The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
Series: Thursday Next
The book that taught me what “surrealist writing” could be. I love this example of Jane Eyre‘s influence on literature. It’s hilarious and absurdist and if I had a child, it’s possible I’d have named them Thursday.
Witchmark by C. L. Polk (AOC)
Series: The Kingston Cycle
Miles Singer has been marked for magic since he was born. He has successfully hidden his birthright for 32 years, but when a patient of his dies mysteriously, he must reach out to both the family he despises and the most gorgeous man he’s ever met.
White Trash Warlock by David R. Slayton
Series: Adam Binder
Ten years ago, Adam’s brother Bobby had him committed for hearing voices. The joke is on Bobby, though, when his wife is possessed by a murderous spirit— one dangerous enough to attract the notice of Death herself. To save his estranged brother’s wife, Adam must bargain with those he’s been actively avoiding— including the elf who broke his heart.
The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
Series: The Invisible Library
Behind the world we know is an invisible library that harvests fiction from different realities. She and her assistant, Kai, are posted to an alternative London to retrieve a dangerous book – which has already been stolen. To add difficulty, the world is chaos-infested, and Irene already has a lot on her plate.
The Famished Road by Ben Okri
Series: The Famished Road
Azaro is an abiku, a spirit child, who exists between life and death. Born with a smile on his face, the tale he tells is one of sadness and loss. A modern-day Lazarus tale, The Famished Road won The Booker Prize in 1991.
The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard
Series: Dominion of the Fallen
Paris has barely survived the Great Houses War. Notre Dame is a burnt out shell, and House Silverspires is a shattered ruin of its previous glory. Inside the ruined House, a Fallen, an alchemist, and a spell-wielding young man from the Far East must come together to either bring the pieces back together or seal the House’s doom once and for all.
A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
Series: The Earthsea Cycle
Ursula K. Le Guin was, along with Tolkien, one of the first fantasy authors to tackle major world-building. Her works have had an incalculable effect on fantasy, and she belongs on any “best of fantasy” list. Published in two three-book cycles between 1968 and 2001, the Earthsea series follows a young mage tasked with bringing balance to the world. He learns his craft, tames a dragon, and returns from the realm of death to carry out his destiny.
I confess that I haven’t read/listened to all of these, but the ones that aren’t on my “read” shelf are all nestled together on my TBR. I can’t wait to dive in. Find even more fantasy audiobook recommendations here!