14 Best Fantasy Audiobooks to Stream When You Don't Have Time for Summer Reading

Updated 07/23/18
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best fantasy audiobooks

For all the dreamers out there, fantasy books, movies, and TV shows are one of the best ways to get outside of your head and be transported to another world. Using your imagination can give you relief from the stresses of everyday life—maybe that's why Game of Thrones is so good—and the best fantasy audiobooks happen to make it that much easier to fall in love with the imaginary sagas and characters. There's just something about listening to the tales of faraway places that lets you take a journey without ever having to step out your front door.

It's worth noting that the vivid details and extensive plot lines often make these books particularly lengthy (and most are part of a series), so listening can be an especially good option for those who aren't the quickest readers. Plus, audiobooks can seriously spice up your commute anywhere or calm you down when you feel like your eyes don't want to process reading one more word for the day. Have we convinced you yet? Download one of the 14 best fantasy audiobooks and see where the story takes you.

best fantasy audiobook

Author: C.S. Lewis

Narrator: Joss Ackland

We're betting that you're probably already familiar with C.S. Lewis as the author of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. Well, The Screwtape Letters is much more mature. The story revolves around 31 letters written by a head demon named Screwtape (yes, it takes place in hell) to his apprentice as they work to damn a man for eternity.

What We Like: It's humorous and says a lot about humanity at the same time.  

fantasy books

Author: Mark Lawrence

Narrator: Heather O'Neill

Mark Lawrence's newest fantasy series revolves around Nona, an 8-year-old who is falsely accused of murder and sent to a convent. At these convents, girls are trained in magic, religion, or combat—and when Nona is trained as a warrior in Red Sister, she uses her skills not just to save her people, but herself, too.

What We Like: The in-depth description of Nona's world.

fantasy reading

Narrator and Author: Mary Robinette Kowal

When a meteorite in the '50s devastates the world as we know it, there's a need for individuals to help colonize outer space. Elma's work as a pilot and mathematician qualifies her to help put a man on the moon as a trial. But Elma begins to question why she and the rest of her female colleagues won't have the same opportunity in The Calculating Stars.

We What We Like: Elma's fight for all women

feminine fantasy audiobook

Author: Naomi Novik

Narrator: Lisa Flanagan

If you liked the Rumpelstiltskin fairytale as a kid, you'll like Spinning Silver, a modern-day version that follows the life of Miryem, a woman that descends from a family of moneylenders and is so successful she's said to turn silver into gold. When she makes an ill-advised claim, she ends up face to face with the scary creatures of the woods.

What We Like: There are six narrators in the book for distinct POVs.

futuristic audiobook

Author: John Scalzi

Narrator: Amber Benson or Wil Wheaton

In the near future, a virus takes over that infects one percent of the population—five million Americans alone. As the title of Lock In suggests, they're deemed "locked in," which means they're still fully awake but unable to move or respond to others. Years later, two detectives try to solve a murder related to the disease, only to discover it's far worse than they imagined.

What We Like: There are two audiobook versions, one narrated by Amber Benson and the other by Wil Wheaton.

best audiobooks

Author: Katherine Arden

Narrator: Kathleen Gati

The Bear and the Nightingale, the first book in the Winternight Trilogy is told similarly to a Russian fairytale. Vasilisa and her siblings follow in her mother's footsteps and treat the Russian spirits with respect via rituals around the home, until their father marries a religious woman who bans their practices. Danger comes for the family, and it's up to Vasilisa to use powers she has been concealing to protect those she loves.

What We Like: The vivid imagery renders the spooky village in medieval Russia almost within reach.

top fantasy audiobooks

Author: Marie Lu

Narrator: Nancy Wu

So many people play the digital game Warcross that it's become part of life—and Emika works as a bounty hunter to catch people who illegally gamble on its outcomes. When she hacks the system, she's shocked to find out that the game's creator wants to hire her as a spy for its yearly tournament. What she finds is a world of secrets and lies in Warcross.

What We Like: The book has a strong female protagonist in Emika.

fantasy book series

Author: Jim Butcher

Narrator: James Marsters

Storm Front, the first book in The Dresden Files series, introduces you to Harry Dresden, a wizard/private investigator who is tasked by the Chicago police department to help with a case of the magical variety. The only thing is that the double murder he must solve has been committed with black magic, and the perpetrator has his eyes on Harry.

What We Like: There are more than a dozen books in this series, so you can go on an audiobook binge if you like this debut.

classic fantasy books

Author: Ernest Cline

Narrator: Wil Wheaton

It's 2044, and Wade Watts escapes from the tragic hardships of real life in a world of virtual reality called OASIS in Ready Player One. But when Wade comes across a puzzle leading to what is the equivalent to the golden ticket in this alternate reality, he's not the only one who's craving the power that will come with it. And he must make amends with his own reality before he can succeed.

What We Like: The Charlie and the Chocolate Factory vibe

audiobooks about magic

Author: Susanna Clarke

Narrator: Simon Prebble

In Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, the title characters, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, are two very different practicing magicians trying to keep England's history of magic alive. When Mr. Norrell accepts the younger Strange as a student, he doesn't know about his pupil's obsession with the darker arts, but it soon becomes evident that their values don't align. The question becomes whether Strange will turn his back on his partnership with Mr. Norrell or change his ways.

What We Like: That this 800-plus-page book doesn't feel nearly as long with a narrator.

favorite fantasy audiobooks

Author: Naomi Novik

Narrator: Simon Vance

The Napoleonic wars get a fantastical twist when soldiers take to the skies on the back of dragons for armed combat in His Majesty's Dragon. When Captain Laurence finds a dragon egg on his ship, he knows his fate (once dragons match with a human, it's a connection for life). The pair must learn to work together to ensure their safety during battle.

What We Like: The portrayal of the undeniable connection between animal and human.

new fantasy audiobooks

Author: Justina Ireland

Narrator: Bahni Turpin

This New York Times bestseller was just released this year, and wow, is it an interesting one. The main character in Dread Nation was born just before the dead rose from their graves in Gettysburg, and as an African American, she's "freed" from slavery but forced to protect white families from the undead as an attendant. When she goes to help a friend find his sister, it becomes unclear who the real enemy is: the zombies or the racist government.

What We Like: That this story reimagines a key point in history in a totally different way, but with a POV that resonates

classic fantasy novel

Author: Aldous Huxley

Narrator: Michael York

Narrated by British actor Michael York, this literary masterpiece about what happens when a few people control society is a must-listen. Go along for the ride as Bernard—quite possibly the only unhappy person in a world of sex and drugs—tries to shield himself from conformity in Brave New World.

What We Like: How you're forced to think about how different your life would be if the government dictated everything

young adult fantasy audiobook

Author: Madeleine L'Engle

Narrator: Hope Davis

Chances are that you read A Wrinkle in Time as a kid and remembered you liked it, but can't recall the plot. Listen to the familiar tale of Meg and her brother trying to find their father in this quintessential YA book.

What We Like: That you can rent the newly released movie to see which you like best (the audiobook contains an intro by director Ava DuVernay).

If you want to play private investigator, download one of these true-crime audiobooks

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