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Top 25 Best Fantasy Audiobooks

The Best Fantasy Audiobooks (Updated 2016)

Listening to an Audiobook is a popular way to 'read' a book these days -- especially for those who are always on the move and don't have time to site down and 'read.'

For many (such as myself), Audiobooks are the primary and preferred method of 'reading' a book. 

So for the uninformed, what is an audiobook? Pretty simple: an audiobook is a book that's read aloud by a narrator -- usually a professional voice actor who embellishes the text with additional inflection and tone as he or she reads, extracting a whole new level of nuance from the characters and story, depending on how good the narrator is.  

Because this 'new' book format is rapidly growing in popularity, we want to bring you a dedicated list of our picks for the Top 25 Best Fantasy Audiobooks. Note that we've had an  'Top 10 Fantasy Audiobooks' post kicking around on our blog since 2012, but it's old, not recently updated, and much smaller in scope than this new list.

So if you are looking for fantasy audiobook recommendations, this current list is for YOU. 

Note: An audiobook is read by a talented human narrator and is NOT the same as using software to 'read' the book for you. There is a world of difference between the two. A machine-read book completely lacks the rich layer of life a good narrator adds to a book through his interpretation and voice acting of the text and characters. While  there are benefits to using say your Kindle to 'read aloud' your book, this has nothing on a real audiobook that's read by a professional narrator.

Why Listen to Audiobooks?

Because Audiobooks, with the right narrator reading the book, can add a whole new dimension to the story and really bring the story and the characters to life. 

Indeed, book characters are, in the hands of a talented narrator, given their own unique voice and mannerism which helps bring them more fully to life in your mind.

Hands down, I prefer the audiobook version to the printed version. The reading experience is much richer when listening to a narrated book vs reading the book yourself. 

Listening to an audiobook also frees you up to do other tasks while you listen -- chores, driving, walking around, etc.

If you have never listened to an audiobook before, I highly, highly recommend you try this format out and see what you think. There's a very, very good chance you may never go back to 'reading' a book again!

Almost all new books (and many, many older books) are now immediately released in audiobook form (usually through Amazon's Audible.com) the same time the book is released in kindle ebook and print.

Because of how popular audiobooks are in 2016, a lot of people what to know what are the best fantasy audiobooks.

Audiobooks vs Books

It's more difficult to recommend a good audiobook than a book because you have to keep in mind the quality of narrator as well as the quality of the book. Both the narrator and the book are equally important. 

A bad narrator can easy ruin a fantastic book while a good narrator can breathe new life into a mediocre book. So the audiobook narrator is crucial.

However, the best fantasy audiobooks happen when you have that magical combination of a fantastic fantasy tale merged with the perfect narrator. I'm a huge audiobook fan -- in fact, it's the main way I consume almost all the books I read. As such, I've put together the most detailed list on the web for the Top 25 Best Fantasy Audiobooks list. Top 25 Best Fantasy Audiobooks (as of 2016)

You can go to our list below to see my top 25 picks if you want an overview of some of the best. Keep in mind that there is a lot of personal preference to what you may consider a good audio book. I give a few criteria below for what qualities we use to judge an audiobook and some tips on how to get (legal) audiobooks for free at the bottom.

What Makes a Good Audiobook?

Here are a few qualities that define an audiobook and may contribute to how good it is: 1) the narrator's actual voice (i.e. how good the narrator's voice sounds)

2) the type of accent (British or American)

3) the voice acting skill (the unique voices/inflections/mannerisms used for each character by the narrator)

4) the use of a male and female narrator for the gender of each character

5) sound effects added to the narration to increase realism (music, background effects, etc)

A good audiobook narrators must have a very pleasant sounding voice to start with. However, what makes a good narrator great is their skill at using voice acting to bring the individual characters to life through the inflections, voices, and character mannerisms. Great narrators BECOME the characters they read and are utterly convincing.

Not all narrators have this skill.

The type of accent makes a difference (most people prefer the British accent). But there are other qualities as well such as how deep or baritone the narrator sounds. Some audiobooks add additional immersive qualities by having both a male and female narrator narrate the gender specific roles (so the female narrator narrates the female characters while the male narrator does the male voices).

There is also a trend to make audiobooks more like a 'movie in your mind' by adding special background noise effects in key points of the novel. This really adds another dimension. These are often called 'graphic audiobooks' and are a special kind of audiobook.

Best Way to Get FREE Audiobooks

You may be wondering how to get your hands on audiobooks. Specifically, how to get AFFORDABLE audiobooks (the issue with audiobooks is they can be expensive). 

Do NOT Pay full price for audiobooks on a website as you'll pay something like 20 to 40 USD for a single audiobook.

1) The Audible.com 2 Audiobook FREE Trail Offer

The best way to get FREE audiobook right away is to sign up for Audible.com two free audiobook deal here

How This Works: You basically sign up via this link and get any 2 free audiobooks you wish from Audible once you confirm your membership (it takes a credit card, though they do NOT charge it). You are given 2 free audiobooks credits you can use to download any two audiobooks you wish. You have 1 month the cancel your trial, and if you cancel, you keep your 2 audiobooks you downloaded and you are not charged for the membership. 

If you like the experience, you can keep the membership and get TWO audiobooks each month for 22 bucks each month. If you can swing it, keep the membership -- it's always nice to have a few credits to buy an audiobook you are waiting for whenever you want. You also get 20 percent off buying audiobooks at the the regular price as well if you need more than 2 books.

If you want to know how to get steep discounts, free audiobooks with audible, then check out article: The Ultimate Guide to Audible Savings: 26 Ways to Save Money on Audible Audiobooks.

2) Overdrive (via Local Library Card)

Short of the free audiobook trial with audible, you may be able to check out FREE audiobooks via Overdrive if you have a local library membership. Overdrove is a app / website that lets you checkout new and old audiobooks from the overdrive website via your library card. It's a great way to get new or old audiobook titles for FREE. However, the only issue is that you may have to wait your turn to check out the book if it's available or your library / region may not have a specific audiobook in stock. It's worth checking out though!

3) Audible.com Membership Discounts

This is not a free method, but if you sign up for audible, you pay each month and you get credits (either one credit per month for 14 USD or 2 credits for 22 USD). Those credits can be traded for audiobooks or stored and cashed in for books later. However, Audible also offers 'deals' on audiobooks where you can buy audiobooks outright for only $7 dollars.

British narrator Michael Page has won a slew of awards with good reason: he's one of the best narrators in the business. and he brings all his formidable skill to the character of Locke Lamora, that infamous smooth-talking thief who targets the rich to enrich himself.

The story of Locke Lamora and his friends is one of the best fantasy series out there. But the fantastic story is brought to even a higher level by the performance of the narrator Michael Page.

So deft is this performance of Locke (and friends) that Michael Page IS Locke Lamora; so complete is the embodiment of Locke by Page's startling performance that it is not possible to think of any other voice inside your mind once you hear Page's rendition of Locke Lamora.

This is perhaps the best fantasy audiobook performance there is...and in a genre with some outstanding audiobook narrators doing the fantasy genre some serious justice, Michael Page stands out as my absolute favorite British speaker of the bunch. 

Page is also much more than a plain and impartial 'narrator'; he's also one of the best voice actors who channels the personality, voice, and mannerisms of the characters he reads. 

So if you love a British accent and a narrator with some serious voice acting skills, Michael Page is the man. Hell if you don't like audiobooks, give this audiobook series a go -- it will convert you to the wonders of the audiobook format, showing you just how superior the experience is over reading a book.

For one of the best renditions of a character (one that's perfection personified), listen to The Gentleman Bastards by Michael Page.

Listen to a sample of Michael Page's voice

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Red Rising is one of the most exciting science fiction books to come out in the past decade. The fully completed trilogy borrows from a wide range of science fiction influences include Dune, Ender's Game, Harry Potter, Lord of the Flies, Star Wars, taking many elements yet still managing to combine the many disparate parts into something great and arguably unique.

It's a coming-of-age story that you won't easily forget: the rise of Darrow, a member of the lowly "Red" slave caste working in the mines far below the surface of Mars, as he grasps at a greater destiny in which he will lead a bloody rebellion against the oppressive 'Golds' -- the race of superior humans oppressing all lower classes -- to the surface of Mars and beyond to free his people...and humanity itself.

The audiobook version of Red Rising is magnificent, featuring a perfect performance by Tim Gerard Reynolds (who also narrates Mark Lawrence's Red Queen's War series and Michael J. Sullivan's Rivera series). Reynolds brings his somber, yet intense voice to the character of Darrow keeping it powerful when needed, yet at the same time pensively thoughtful in the moments of narrative solitude and deep reflection by the hero. 

The story truly comes to life through Tim Reynolds' efforts. Without a doubt, the audiobook version of the Red Rising Trilogy should be the definitive way to experience one of the best books to come out this decade. It's a powerful, evocative performance that wrings additional poignancy out of an already emotional story. It is this depth of emotional the narrator brings out -- the highs, the lows, the tragedy, the pride, the power, the rise...and the falls of the hero -- that comes off with a perfect beat by Reynolds as he voices Darrow.

So if you are in the mood for fantastic book that transcends the genre, then absolutely pick this audiobook up -- it has the feeling of a modern Greek epic.

Listen to a sample of Tim Reynolds reading Red Rising

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One of the best fantasy book series period and one of the best audiobook performances to boot. This is one of those rare reading performances by a master narrator where the audiobook makes a great book into something grand.

The Blade Itself (first in the First Law series) is brutally dark book interspersed by moments of dry humor something that is performed perfectly by Steven Pacy in his narration of it. 

Pacy nails down the cynicism and dry humor of the characters perfectly: the dry humor and sarcasm of the characters is blended seamlessly with the gritty world.

The author's powerful voice and engaging British accent give each character a certain gravitas -- you FEEL the emotional complexity of The Bloody Nine (the philosophical barbarian psychopathic killer ); you empathize with the plight of the tortured-turned-torturer Glokta as he unwillingly plies his dark trade while trying to do what is right. Pacy brings out the best -- and worst == in his characters through his nuanced and striking narration of them.

Do yourself a favor and listen to the audiobook over reading the book.The audiobook version IS the way you should experience Abercrombie's work -- not only his astounding First Law trilogy, but his other books in the series as well. Steven Pacey is at his best and The First Law trilogy is his magnum opus performance. 

Don't even think about skipping this one. And if you've had the pleasure of reading it, do yourself a huge favor and listen to these audiobooks -- a whole new story will come to life from Pacey's reading.

Listen to a sample of Steven Pacy's voice

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With a Martin-esque plot and Jim Butcher pace, The Axe and the Throne audiobook is a definite "must listen" for even the pickiest fantasy fans.

In his stunning debut, Ireman has built the type of world so vivid and engrossing that leaving it at the end is agony. In spite of leaning toward grimdark, where authors often enshroud every scene in depressing darkness, there is no lack of cheerful moments or brilliant scenery. Yet the pangs of near-instant nostalgia that come after you put down a book like this have less to do with the inspired setting, and far more to do with those who inhabit it.

From savage, unremorseful heroes, to deep, introspective villains, the cast of this story is comprised of believable characters capable of unthinkable actions, and all of them are portrayed marvelously by veteran voice actor Matt Cowlrick. It takes some serious range to be able to convincingly act both viking-esque Northmen and young highborn girls, but Cowlrick does so with apparent ease. And his deep, rumbly narration voice gives Michael Kramer a run for his money.

The Axe and the Throne is a complex read, involving many POVs and subtle intrigue that makes for an audiobook that requires more focus than some. The South is comprised of characters whose every utterance is a means of deception. Cassen is one of the most complex villains in fantasy, rivaling those of ASoIaF -- he lies as much to himself in his inner dialogue as he does to those he is attempting to subvert. And even in the North, where listeners might assume that the bass-voiced Galatai are the stereotypical simple-minded warriors, there is a disquiet brewing beneath the surface as troublesome as any political duplicity.

Each short chapter leaves you wanting more, and Ireman's masterful use of misdirection leads to an abundance of "oh shit" moments. Do not be fooled (or do -- perhaps that's part of the fun) by storylines that may appear trope-ish at first. This is no fairytale.

Available on Amazon & Audible, and iTunes.


Though the 2000s are considered a golden age of Fantasy, one novel that has stood out among the greats is The Name of the Wind a remarkable book that remains one of the greatest modern fantasy books ever written. The Name of the Wind has topped many of our best fantasy book lists -- and for good reason.

If you havent read this remarkable book (and the followup sequel), make this book your next read.

A good book can be made an even better audiobook with the right narrator at the helm. And  Rupert Degas, veteran narrator of some of the best fantasy books ever written (including The Road and Ghormanghast) puts his considerable skill into the character of Kvothe, the hero of the Kingkiller Chronicles.

Note that there are TWO different narrators, Nick Podel (the original) and Rupert Degas as an updated narrator. Between the two, Degas is far superior and reads the definitive version of The Name of the Wind and the sequel book.

Listen to this masterpiece of fantasy novel with one of the greatest performances youll ever hear in an audiobook. Without a doubt, Rupert Degas IS Kvothe -- and so good is Degas that youll likely find ANY audiobook narrated by him and download it just to hear his voice again.

Don't pass this fantastic audiobook up. The Kingkiller Chronlicles is one of the best fantasy series ever written and the audiobook versions by Degas lives up to the book in every way, adding an additional dimension of reality to the story. 

If there is one audiobook to listen to before you die, The Name of the Wind narrated by Degas is that book.

Listen to a sample of Rupert Degas's voice

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Take one part of the Wheel of Time and two-parts Mistborn adding in more character building, an even grander vision of the world, a sophisticated magic system, and you have The Way of Kings THE epic high fantasy series of our generation. 

If Wheel of Time was big, Sanderson aims to do bigger and better on every front with his Stormlight Archive saga.

The narration sees shared voicing by both Michael Kramer (THE man with the deepest voice in the narration business) and Kate Reading to narrate a diverse cast of male and female characters.

Both Kramer and Reading are also the same pair that narrates the Wheel of Time mega series. And they repeat their magic here in The Stormlight Archive, bringing the same magical voices to this epic fantasy tale. Kramer has also narrated many other fantasy books including Mistborn, The Rithmatist, The Grace of Kings, The Iron Elves series, the Felix Caster series, and more)

The Way of Kings leaps from the pages to become something akin to a movie in your mind. Like the Wheel of Time series, Kate and Michael rotate their narrations from chapter to chapter, depending on the gender POV. Keeping female POV with the female narrator and the male POVs with the male POV add an extra dimension of realism that a single narrator cannot achieve alone.

In fact, The Stormlight Archive is, so far, a better and bigger story in every sense of the word over the WOT series. I also feel the audiobook version is better too with the two narrators now at the peak of their craft and doing and even better job with the story and characters in this series than the WOT. 

Especially of note is Michael Kramer's narrative ability who when he opens his mouth is just about the best thing to listen to since The Beatles. This guy has narrated hundreds of audiobooks and is one of the most popular (and best) narrators on the planet.

Kramer is  my favorite audiobook narrator. Though I usually prefer the British accent for fantasy book narration, Kramer's unique deep voice is the quintessential male voice you imagine for any hero.  

If you are looking for epic fantasy in the style of Wheel of Time or Mistborn, The Way of Kings audiobook is going to be your new best friend. There are two books out so far and they will take you nearly 40 hours to get through each audiobook, however. So be prepared to sink a lot of time into getting through the audiobooks. Fortunately, it does not feel like a chore and you'll likely be giving up a serious amount of your sleep time to the effort!

Listen to a sample of Michael Kramer's voice

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If you want some seriously good fantasy (extremely gritty, grimdark fantasy), The Broken Empire Books are some of the best out there (the books top our Top 25 Best Fantasy Books list and make quite a few of our other lists. 

Those phenomenal books become even BETTER when you listen to the audiobook version by British narrator James Clamp who manages to nail down exactly what you expect the characters to sound like in the story.

Indeed, once in a while you listen to an audiobook and the narrator BECOMES the characters so utterly that you cant pull apart the story from the voiced narration. This is one of those examples, and it's an audiobook that MUST be listened to if you can get your hands on it

James Clamp does a stand out performance here; his performance of Lawrences Prince Jorg is pitch perfect perfection itself, embodying exactly how the character would be. The broken story of troubled Prince Jorg of Ancraft is stripped from the dry pages of the book and raised to life through Clamps powerful and compelling narrative powers. 

It's a story and voiced narration that you feel deep into your bones with Clamp's handling Jorg's gentle introspective soliloquies about the nature of man to his cocky and brash confidence as a leader hell bent on revenge in absolute perfect voice and style. It's a rather philosophical reading of the character and the overall feeling is one of an introspective character observing the character around him but never connecting to it on a personal level, which is exactly the character of Jorg himself.

Clamp's style has a melancholy note to it and is often dry and reserved rather than enthusiastic. Little weight is given to voice acting inflections, which is usually a negative point on part of the narrator. But in this rare case, such lack of inflection and acting on the narrator's part fits perfectly the character of Jorg perfectly.

Note that the sequel trilogy is narrated by Tim Curry, who also does a stand up job (albeit with a more voice-acting style suitable for the character of the conniving rogue Jalan).

Listen to a sample Joe Clamp's voice

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This is a series thats conquered both the literary world and now the cinematic world. People call Martin the 'American Tolkien' for good reason -- he's getting to be that popular at this point.

A mountain of words could be written about the state the series is in now -- be it good or bad. The common sentiment is that Martin has lost his way with the last two books and his glacial writing pace does not make it look like he will be finishing the series (2 or 3 more books left?) anytime soon, and maybe before he passes. Such is the state of things that even the massively popular HBO show in Season 5 finally parted ways with the narrative thread of the books and is inventing their own plot-lines, for better or for worse.

Regardless of the state of Martin's series, A Song of Ice and Fire is the series thats launched a literary and cinematic franchise and has been highly influential on the fantasy genre as a whole, inspiring countless new authors and crafting the shape of the fantasy landscape we know.

The series (especially the early series Book 1 to 3) are magnificent and an example of just how powerful a intricately detailed fantasy story can be. With a huge caste of characters you love, hate, learn to hate and hate to love, A Song of Ice and Fire is a story you will never forget.

And its brought to life through Roy Dotrice captivating performance. Dotrice's narration of such a large cast actually set a Guinness Book of World Records for single-handedly voicing the most characters in a narrative production (hundreds over the Song of Ice and Fire series), each with a different voice! If this is not a testament to Roy Dotrice's skill as an audiobook narrator, then I don't know what is!

Now there is a lot said about how good a job Dotrice does on the first three books but many people dislike his performance of the last two books, so keep this in mind. The first three books (both the books and audiobooks) are the strongest in the series with a decline after.

With this in mind, I still highly recommend you listen to the audiobook versions of A Song of Ice and Fire. Dotrice does a remarkable job voicing the characters, bringing them to life just as strongly as the HBO series has done through the cinema. If the series falters a bit after, it still does not take away how remarkable a job Dotrice does.

Listen to a Sample of Roy Dotrice's voice

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One of my favorite fantasy trilogies of all time and one of the best audiobook trilogies. 

Youll fall in love with the characters and their stories thanks to Robin Hobbs ability to draw you into her richly portrayed world. The story and characters truly come to life thanks to the cultured British voices of Paul Boehmer and James Langton. 

The narration is so good, so perfect, that you may want even want to listen to the trilogy, again and again, just to lose yourself in it. The skill of the narrators combines with Hobbs ability to paint realistic characters to perfectly bringing out the flavor of the characters and their full power of their relationships the bond between animals, mentors, friends are fully realized here. 

This is not a tale full of non-stop action (though its there, scattered around in key areas), but a coming of age story of relationships and how a young bastard tries to find the nook and crannies to fit into a world that does not want him, yet utterly needs him.

I absolutely recommend this audiobook series for those who want a slower-paced, character driven fantasy about relationships. There is no other fantasy story out there that's as poignant drawn as The Farseer. One of the best fantasy series ever written and one of the best audiobook narrative performances to boot.

Listen to a Sample of Paul Boember and James Langton Here

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If you like scary stories, Abhorsen Trilogy (now called 'The Old Kingdom' as Garth Nix is expanding the universe with more tie in books) is one of the best dark fantasy tales in the genre. It's not only scary, it's also touching in a way that few fantasy novels are. The world-building is great, full of mystery, magic, and danger -- a once magical kingdom now crumbling to ruin, haunted by creatures of the night.

The Abhorsen Trilogy is the story of a family of sorcerers who become the Abhorsen -- an anti-necromancer who's responsible for controlling death and ensuring the dead, well, stay dead. 

Toss in a land that's fallen into ruin, magic gone wild, a world divided into an Old World (a ruined, crumbling kingdom where magic haunts the land) and a New World (a modern world where magic does not exist), and throw in strong, headstrong women on a mission to set things right (and perhaps find their missing family) and you have a ridiculously good tale for all ages.

Garth Nix creates an absolutely compelling, highly developed world that's packed with mystery, magic, and a lot of creepy darkness. The fantasy elements are deep, but it's also the story of family, of relationships, of a father's enduring love.

If you love epic fantasy this series is an absolute treat to read. And if you have not read the book or better yet, listened to the audiobooks just yet, well, you are in for a real treat indeed. The audiobook version narrated by Tim Curry is like the best Christmas come early.

Curry's masterful narration of the story will have you eager to turn off the lights and curl up by the fireplace just listen to this creepy, yet utterly captivating tale. 

Curry's ability to draw the characters with his rich British voice, bringing out every nuance and mannerism of each character to full effect, is a wonder. 

The three books (each a related yet different tale) come life through Curry's performance. The Abhorsen audiobooks are one of the great audiobook performances and you absolutely should NOT miss listening to these.

If you haven't read the books yet, make the audiobook version your next listen. You won't regret it.

Listen to a Sample of Tim Curry's voice

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The Vagrant was one of my top five favorite fantasy books of 2015

Its compelling, its deftly written, and its something like youve never read before. 

Those who appreciate a very well written, yet understated style of storytelling (think Hemingway), a darkly macabre world, and a narration that doesn't hold your hand at the beginning of the story will especially find this book something remarkable.

The book has gone on to make waves garnering quite a lot of critical praise (I recently saw the author of The Prince of Thorns shout out the book after reading it). The sequel to The Vagrant is my most anticipated book this year.

Now the book is good, but the audiobook narration nails the story, the mood, and the characters down perfect.

The narrator Jot Davies brings a sense of mournful humanity to his voicing of the characters. As the characters struggle through the tragic world, Davies adds that human depth to the characters fully bringing to life the characters. 

Absolutely one of the best audiobooks of 2015 hands down, and a standout performance by a talented narrator whos voicing captures the all the character quirks you would imagine that a character would...no SHOULD, have.

Listen to a sample of Jot Davies Narrating The Vagrant

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Comments (11)
Awards Won:2005 BFS

The Dark Tower is Stephen Kings masterpiece, his magnum opus. The series is wildly uneven, starting strong, lagging in the middle, going strong again, then finishing on a bit of a whimper. But as a whole, its something marvelous a wild ride from start to the very finish.

It's also showcases the talents of one of the greatest audiobook narrators: the late, great Frank Muller.

The story of the audiobook narration of The Dark Tower itself is just as twisty and as windy as the story of Rolland's quest of the Dark Tower and Stephen King's own personal journey to write it. 

The original audiobook narrator was Frank Muller who narrates the first four books of the Dark Tower series. Tragically, Muller died in 2008 after a six-year recovery battle from a serious motorbike accident and was never able to complete the last three books in the series. 

So good, so majestic, so nuanced was Mullers rendition of the first four books that Stephen King himself credits Frank Mullers original reading of the first four Dark Tower books for helping King get back into The Dark Tower story to finish writing the last 3 books after the years and years of delay between the forth and fifth book. 

King credits Muller with this in the acknowledgement section in The Wolves of Cala (Book V of the Dark Tower).

In essence, Muller becomes part of the story of the Dark Tower itself and becomes an essential element of both King and King's hero Roland journey to the Dark Tower.

George Guidall took over from Muller, finishing the last three books. But it left a broken continuity to the series with Mullers narration of the first four then Guidalls voice for the last three. To fix this, Guidall goes back and narrates new versions of the first four books. As such, the most common version of the Dark Tower audiobooks are Guidall's modern reading of them.

However, while Guidall does a good job, he never lives up to the mastery that was Muller. 

To ignore the power that was Frank Muller's original reading (back in the infancy of the audiobook movement when audiobooks were distributed as tape cassettes) is to lose something vital, something powerful, something primal to the reading of The Dark Tower. Frank Muller's voice was the voice of Roland of Gilead  and Sussana and Detta Walker. 

So. For one of the best audiobook performances ever to grace the world, listen to Frank Mullers The Dark Tower (the first four books). Additionally, Muller also narrates the tie-in novel The Talisman and a number of King's older books (Shawshank Redemption, The Green Man, etc). To find Muller's version, you may have to search wide and far online. I don't believe you can buy this version directly from Audible / Amazon.

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Love or hate The Wheel of Time series, you can't deny the impact it's had on the fantasy genre as a whole. It's large, it's bloated, it loses it's way part way through, yet at the same time it's one of the most comprehensive and richly detailed fantasy worlds ever built. It's a series that spanned a generation  of readers over the twenty years it took to complete the series.

It's a series that should be read -- if you can must the formidable time and patience to wade though the ten or so thousand pages required. And for those who can and do, there are amble rewards scattered between the pages.

The audiobook version is an example of what the format is capable of and how much more life a good audio narration can breathe into the story.

The Wheel of Time audiobook is a standout performance by Kate Reading and Michael Crammer two of the best (American) narrators in the business. The Wheel of Time has a huge cast of characters (both male and female) and having both a male and female narrator cycle through the gender specific POVs helps to bring the story to life.

The male narration of Rand al Thor by Michael Crammer is perfect Crammers rich, deep baritone voice bringing to life the hero and his journey in a way thats believable and right. Crammers got one of the best voices in the narration business; once you hear that voice youll never forget it. Hes my personal favorite narrator.

Id argue that The Audiobook Version of WOT IS the way the book is meant to be experienced and it wrings out a lot of extra nuance from the story that you wont get by just reading. 

At 13 books long, WOT draws up one of the most complex and well-developed fantasy worlds ever put to pen. The series lags in the middle for many volumes and Brandon Sanderson comes to the rescue to finish the series by the end. But a strong performance with one of the deepest voice narrators in the business.

If you want to lose yourself for WEEKS in one of the largest, most developed fantasy worlds ever created, read to you by two of the best male and female narrators out there, listen to The Wheel of Time.

Listen to a Sample of Michael Krammer reading The Wheel of Time

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One of the best fantasy books (this book and the sequel book too our best fantasy book of 2014 & 2015) is made even better by a perfect performance by Simon Vance, a rising star of a narrator. I've already said a lot about how damn good the book itself is and now I want to tell you how much better the audiobook is!

Vance becomes each characters, delivering a startling performance and completely captivating you from start to end in both the first and second book in the series. What especially stands out here with his performance is that Vance voices each character and their individual nuances perfectly giving each character the unique character voice and portrayal they rightly deserve. And this makes the audiobook something pretty special. 

Ive talked a lot about how damn good The Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne is as one of the best new epic fantasy series to come out this decade. And the audiobook version is BETTER than the book. So don't you dare miss this one. Hell, if youve already read the series, LISTEN to the audiobook version its really that good!

Listen to a sample of Simon Vance narrating The Emperor's Blades

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The Dresden Files is pretty much THE detective urban fantasy series that's spawned a thousand lesser imitators but few peers. Kick-ass wizard detective. Check. A noir setting. Check. Non-stop action. Double check.

If you haven't started The Dresden Files, you are missing out on something powerfully good. While the series is a bit uneven, it's one of those that starts off slow, but gathers some serious momentum. Expect a lot of sleepless nights if you start it.

And the audiobook is the best way to experience this series.

James Marsters narration of The Dresden Files is fantastic, giving added depth and humanity to the character of Harry Dresden. It's such a good narration of the books because James Marster pitches Harry Dresden with the perfect blend of world-wariness, sarcasm, and brazen devil-may-care heroics. Exactly the characteristics you would expect of the detective, all of which are nailed into Marster's voice as he reads.

Listen to an audio sample of James Marster's voice

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A phenomenal novel that you just dont want to finish made even better on the strength of an outstanding audiobook performance by  Alma Cuervo. The novel starts off slow, but once it picks up steam, it never slows. There's also some fantastic world building by Bennett with a whole world, lore, history, and mythos that's slowly revealed as the story progresses.

The characters too are strong indeed. Bennett has always been an author who imbues his characters with complexity and City of Stairs is no exception to that. The characters leap from the story as real entities and you really care for them.

The audiobook is superbly narrated by Alma Cuervo who proves she's got the voice to stand peer to peer with the best in the business. A remarkable reading on her part for both the male and female character voices.

Alma manages to capture every nuance of the female protagonist, wringing out emotion in the right times, and giving the right kick to the action scenes. One of the best performances and one of the best female narrators out there, hands down.

She also narrates the sequel, City of Blades.

Listen to a sample of Alma Cuervo's voice

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If you love grimdark, Scull is putting out some of the best stuff in the genre right now equal in every way to Abercrombie. 

Scull's Grim Company series is currently my one of my favorite fantasy tales (book 2, The Sword of the North was in my top five picks for 2015) and the audiobook is a powerful thing on it's own, with the characters and narration honed sharper than a razor by the powerful narration of Gerard Doyle who becomes every bit the tortured characters he reprises in his narration.

Doyles callus British accent and voice acting skills when voicing different characters especially complement the tone of the novel. Doyle does that thick cockney accent on some of the characters to perfection which helps flesh out the dark and gritty state of things in the war-torn world falling apart.

If you are looking for a powerful grimdark tale that rings all those bells that Abercrombie, Lawrence, and Cook ring, then this books is not to be missed. Keep in mind the world -- and events -- are some of the darkest and most brutal you will likely read. This is not a series for the faint of heart. But man, it's a hell of a series so far, made so much more impacting in the audiobook version by the awesome narrative prowess of Gerard Doyle who will have you cringing as the cast of characters are brutalized by the world and each other.

This is British cockney accent done so right, and so perfectly fitted for the context and characters of the novel.

Listen to a sample of Gerad Doyle's voice

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A remarkable series of novels that helped defined what it means to be 'Gothic.' The novels are not so much about plot or story, but experience and setting. The locations, the characters, the setting, the descriptive language are all lush, rich, and poetic by design.Ghormenghast is one of the great early fantasy works and a masterpiece of English literature. It's a series that every fantasy lover (with the patience) should read. It's a trilogy where the castle Ghormenghast is itself every much a character as the actual humans who inhabit it.The audiobook does justice to Mervyn Peake's masterpiece. The reading of it is powerful, with Robert Whitfield giving a poetic and Shakespearean-like performance to how he voices the descriptions and the characters. The audiobook brings to life all the poetic richness of Peake's marvelous language -- the Gothic descriptions, the creepy characters, the haunting castle all come to life under his narrative powers.A remarkable performance for a remarkable work of writing.Listen to a sample of Robert Whitfield's powerful voice

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One of the best fantasy series currently out there thats quickly making some serious waves in the fantasy world. 

This is fantasy like youve never read it before full of detailed minutia, packed with a huge cast of characters, and full of non-stop action from cover to cover. There's sorcery, there's sword fights, there's knights, there's ladies, there's monsters, there's heroes, and there's an expanding and intricate plot that keeps on getting deeper with every novel.

The Red Knight is what you get if TS Eliot's The Once and Future King was mated with Mazalan Book of the Fallen. 

And it's good. Bloody damn good.

The powerful intensity of the series is perfectly brought to life by narrator Matthew Wolf who transports you to a medieval world on the brink of war, destruction, annihilation. Cameron writes a lot of medieval military minutia into his series. Everything is lavishly drawn, based on realistic Medieval history, from the weight of the armor to the layout of the military camps to knightly battles and tournaments. 

Mathew Wolf somehow manages to pack all this detail into his narration without missing a beat -- and to keep you utterly captivated on the story all the while. A few hours into the books, youll feel like youve written all day in a saddle on your war steed yourself. The narrator has quite a bit of experience narrating Shakespearean literature and this powerful voice, and the author's experience voicing Shakespearean characters, is brought fully to bear upon this story giving the narration a depth, power, and presence.

Listen to a sample of Mathew Wolf's voice

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Comments (2)
Award Nominations:2009 BFS, 2009 WFA

The Graveyard Book is absolutely one of the most touching fantasy tales to grace the genre. It's such a poignant and emotional tale that you will fall helplessly in love with it.

The audiobook version adds that extra emotional juice to the story. Even more, Neil Gaimen is one of the only authors who also narrates his own audiobooks, but does so with some serious panache and succeeds here. Gaimen knows his characters best and brings his story and characters to life in the most accurate way possible. 

Its rare to have the author double as the voice actor -- and actually do a good job of it -- but in the case of The Graveyard Book, Gaiman gives a master performance to a a masterful story.

This is one of those books that you will entrance both children and adults at the same time. It's perfect to listen to by yourself or with your kids before bed.

Listen to a sample of Neil Gaimen narrating The Graveyard Book

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This highly regarded novel is something magical: the story of two magician friends -- both who want to restart English magic after a magic-less dormancy of several hundred years -- who are pushed to conflict by circumstance. It's a conflict that may destroy each magician, England, and the very world itself.The time and setting is unique: an alternate Napoleonic period with the setting taking place in the English countryside among the country estates of the upperclass. It's a fantasy version of a Jane Austen novel, with all the eloquence of language and manners. Quite simply, there is nothing really out there that's like it, either before or since the book was released.BBC recently created a well-received TV mini series based on the book. I quite liked it myself and was impressed with how well the book was made into TV. Still, there is a lot in the book that is left out (it is a book full of pedantic, yet fascinating details that a movie or TV series could not possible hope to capture). The audiobook performance by British narrator Simon Prebble with his upper class English accent and magnificent rendering of the source material is outstanding. Prebble imitates the upper-class British manners perfectly in his voicing, capturing Jonathan Strange's rash impetuosity and Mr. Norrell's neurotic tendencies all the while maintaining the posh courtly manner of a upper class gentleman. Perhaps this is no surprise since Prebble has narrated many of the classics of literature such as Dickens, Vern, and HG Wells.Listen to a sample of Simon Prebble's voice

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If you are looking for some of the best military fantasy to come out the past decade, look no further then Django Wrexler's Shadow Campaigns series. The series has all the things you want in a good military fantasy: on-the-march squad life, tactical battles, genius commanders, military battles against the odds, and epic battles of sorcery. If you like Glen Cook's The Black Company, you'll probably find a lot you'll like about The Shadow Campaigns books. Even better, the prose is very sharp, the tactics and battles logical, and there's complex characters who develop over the series. This is military fantasy with a lot of heart -- and magic.

The audiobook version of the story is narrated by Richard Poe who does a crackling job of telling the story. Poe has almost a Shakespearean quality to his voice while reading which adds presence and charisma to the key characters. Many of the top fantasy narrators have a strong British accent, but Poe's powerful yet almost poetic American accent works wonderfully for this story. Poe, along with Michael Krammer, has one of the best American accent male voices. 

You really feel like you are marching the trenches with the characters, you feel earth shake as the magical battles erupt, and you are pulled along the highs and lows as the characters struggle to survive a world struggling amidst the chaos of magic and war. Poe really gets the military voice beat down perfectly. You feel as though you are part of the military, you can feel the wind whip by as swords sweep down and feel the tremble as cannons boom.

So for a top notch military fantasy tale that gets better and better with each book, give The Shadow Campaigns a listen. Book one starts with The Thousand Names and will rock your world.

Listen to a sample of Richard Poe narrating The Shadow Campaigns

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The Magicians trilogy is a series that's been critically acclaimed and rates very high on our own Top 25 Best Fantasy Books list. It's a trilogy that's perhaps divisive -- you either 'get' what Lev Grossman is doing and love it or you absolutely hate the story and the characters. There is very little ambivalence regarding this series.However, it's a series that's made serious waves with the critics and it's now moved into the realm of cinema as a very strong TV series by the SyFy channel (which has also garnered critical praise as a hit).The Magicians is a subversion of the fantasy genre, an anti-Harry Potter, and anti-Narnia of sorts. It draws on a wide variety of literary influences and seeks to undermine a lot of the established fantasy tropes. I've heard it described as 'Harry Potter for grownups', which is a pretty good description.The Magicians is one of those rare fantasy novels that transcends the fantasy genre to be considered a literary novel on it's own.  But literary merits aside, it's a pretty damn compelling story of a couple of teenagers who set out to find their way in the world and in the process end up fucking things up for themselves and the rest of the world. It's a series though that must be read from book one to book three as each book details the journey and the changes that journey inflicts upon the characters. They grow, they mature, they become better and wiser. And in the case of Quinton Coldwater, he actually becomes likable and heroic as opposed to the selfish, whiny dick that he is in the first book.Mark Bramhall's narration of the tale is remarkable and accurate to how you imagine the characters should be. His performance is perhaps more 'dry' than you may be used to (the author does not voice act each character for the most part), but given the types of characters he's narrating (mostly, selfish, spoiled pricks who are full of themselves), it works. Most of the story is told from the perspective of Quinton, a fellow that seems to be hardly in touch with his own feelings, so the dry, rather impersonal narration does reflect this and is stronger for it.If you haven't read this trilogy yet (shame on you!) I highly recommend you start with these audiobooks. Listen to a sample of Mark Bramhall's Voice

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The Goblin Emperor is a standout book that shocked us in 2014 with just how good it was. It's a poignant character- driven story that wrings your emotions dry then wrings them some more. It's the simple tale of a young unwanted 'half goblin prince' who's last in the line of succession with his Elvish side who through a misfortune of fate, becomes the emperor of an Eleven empire. Woefully unprepared and completely untrained to be empire, and facing a royal court -- and people -- who utterly detest him, the young goblin finds that' he's remarkably good at being emperor and must navigate the tricky waters of a royal court that wants to see him ousted, or worse...

The audiobook version of The Goblin Emperor absolutely awesome, due in part to the heart-wrenching narrative performance of Kyle McCarley.

Listen to a sample of Kyle McCaley reading

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A dark world needs a certain, dry narration combined with a narration that emphasizes how horrible the world really is.

This is delivered on point with Pete Bradburys perfect narration of this outstanding book. While the first book in the series was (mostly) great read, the three sequel books completely dropped the ball (and in my opinion, bringing what might have been a great series down to a mediocre one), this does not take away from the majesty of the first book...and the absolutely pitch perfect narration by Bradbury of a world bound by darkness with a few souls who dare to stand up and take back their world from the creatures who haunt the world at night.

There is a lot of power in the first book and the narration brings this captivating, chilling story to life. If you are looking for an epic fantasy with a dark twist to it, with powerful heroes and an unique magical system, and a story that won't let you go from start to finish, The Warded Man is the book you are looking for. The sequels are pretty meh, but the first book is still absolutely worth the read.

Listen to a sample of Pete Bradbury's voice

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This indie-fantasy hit all the right notes to become a worldwide best seller, launching Ryan into the stratosphere of the fantasy elite -- at least for a time.

The following two sequels proved to be serious disappointments for most readers, and Ryan became a sort of one-hit-wonder, never regaining the voice he found with his remarkable debut fantasy book The Blood Song. 

Still, the narrative power and martial thrill of the first in the series, Blood Song, stands out as one of the better fantasy books released the past decade and gets my recommendation due to the strong emotional performance of Steven Brand and the compelling source material. While the audiobook may not be as good a performance as some of the other books on this list, the quality of the first book make it a book you should absolutely read, or better yet, listen to.

If you love The Name of the Wind, you will almost certainly enjoy The Blood Song.

The audiobook edition solidifies this book as a great fantasy tale that must be experienced. 

And there is no better way to experience The Blood Song than the audiobook. 

Listen to a sample of Steven Brand's voice

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