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 imaginary sagas and characters.
Vivid details and extensive plot lines often make fantasy books particularly lengthy (especially since most are part of a series). The good news is, tuning into an audio version can be an especially good option for those who aren't the quickest readers. Plus, audiobooks can seriously spice up your commute or help you zen out when your eyes don't want to process reading one more word for the day. Have we convinced you yet?
Here are the best fantasy audiobooks to add to your list.
The Screwtape Letters by 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.
Red Sister by Mark Lawrence
Narrator: Heather O'Neill
Mark Lawrence's 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.
The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
Narrator: 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.
Spinning Silver by 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 descended 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 daunting creatures of the woods.
What We Like: There are six narrators in the book for distinct points of view.
Lock In by John Scalzi
Narrator: Amber Benson or Wil Wheaton
In the near future, a virus 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.
The Bear and the Nightingale by 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 Russian spirits with respect through 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 her concealed powers to protect those she loves.
What We Like: The vivid imagery renders the spooky village in medieval Russia almost within reach.
Warcross by 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 learn 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.
Storm Front by 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.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Narrator: Wil Wheaton
It's 2044, and Wade Watts escapes 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
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by 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 dark 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.
Her Majesty's Dragon by 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.
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
Narrator: Bahni Turpin
This New York Times bestseller was released in 2018, 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 helps a friend find his sister, it becomes unclear who the real enemy is: 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.
Brave New World by 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 satire challenges us to consider (or reconsider) our values, and our role in society.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Narrator: Madeleine L'Engle
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's search for their father in this quintessential YA book.
What We Like: That you can rent the 2018 movie version to see which you like best (the audiobook contains an intro by director Ava DuVernay.)
Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older
Narrator: Anika Noni Rose
Sara Santiago, an Afro-Boricua teen living in Brooklyn, comes from a family of "Shadowshapers," or someone who blends art with the ancestral spirit world. Dark, strange things begin to happen during a summer where all Santiago had planned to do was create art: Murals begin to literally weep, and shadowshapers are murdered.
What We Like: The blend of mystery, quest, and magic, and a determined heroine at the epicenter of it all.
Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord
Narrator: Robin Miles
With humor, magic and detail, Karen Lord retells a Senegalese folktale about Paama and the djombi—the undying ones. When Paama leaves her disgraced husband, she receives a gift from the djombi, a gift that one djmobi with indigo skin believes is theirs.
What We Like: A witty tale with Caribbean and Senegalese flair, and supernatural occurrences.
Crier's War by Nina Varela
Narrator: Kim Mai Guest
Ayla, a human servant to the Automae in the House of the Sovereign, plots murderous revenge on her family's killers. The intended victim is beautiful Lady Crier, the sovereign's daughter. Their paths converge on the brink of war, as growing human rebellion simmers across the land.
What We Like: A budding romance storyline amidst a revolution.
Before the Broken Star by Emily R. King
Narrator: Lauren Ezzo
Everley Donovan is running out of time. When Navy admiral Killian Markham leaves her for dead, she's out for justice (for her slain family, herself), and encounters hidden realms on a cursed island. On this island also lie family secrets, and the discovery that Markham may not be whom she originally thought him to be.
What We Like: The thrilling search for the truth.
The Refrigerator Monologues by Catherynne Valente
Narrator: Karis A. Campbell
If comics's dead, female voices could talk, Catherynne Valente's six protagonists would have a lot to say. Valente's subversive exploration into the superhero world zooms in on comic book women who've either been killed, disabled, raped, brainwashed, otherwise "refrigerated" in order for a male superhero's quest can move forward. The Refrigerator Monologues are their stories.
What We Like: The way Valente exposes the genre's tropes and empowers characters that have traditionally served as a backstory.
The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter by Theodora Goss
Narrator: Kate Reading
Dr. Jekyll's daughter, Mary, is financially strapped. She hears there's a reward out for Edward Hyde, her Father's former friend and murderer. Motivated, Mary tracks him down and meets Hyde's daughter, enlists the help of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, and uncovers a secret society of plotting scientists—that must be stopped.
What We Like: The mash-up of familiar monsters and mystery.