5 Awesome Fantasy and Science Fiction Audiobooks

I’m a big fan of audiobooks. I’ve previously told the story of how I fell in love with them on this blog. I still read hard copy books, but I like the flexibility audiobooks allow me to do other things while “reading” and how the story really comes to life when narrated by a great voice actor. I have an Audible subscription and I listen to between 1 and 2 audiobooks a  month, which may not sound like a lot, but when each one can last for between 8 and 30 hours (most being around the 10-18hr mark) it equates to a lot of time spent listening.

Amidst all of this listening, I find particular books stand out. These are ones where not only the story itself is brilliant, but where the performance of the voice artist (or artists) is so excellent and appropriate that it takes the book to new heights, and makes for an amazing listening experience.

So today I thought I would list my 5 favourite science fiction and fantasy audiobooks to date. If you are thinking of trying out an audiobook for the first time, or if you’re a fan looking for new listens, these are ones I highly recommend checking out:

1. The Lies of Locke Lamora

Audiobook Cover: The Lies of Locke LamoraAuthor: Scott Lynch
Narrated by: Michael Page
Publisher: Orion
Genres: High Fantasy, Grimdark Fantasy
Length: 22 hrs and 3 mins

Before I listened to this audiobook, I had no idea a voice artist could be so versatile and skilled with accents and voices. Michael Page voices a whole cast of characters, giving each one such an individual and perfectly suited voice that truly brings the world to life. The British accents suit the harsh, grubby fantasy world that is reminiscent of renaissance London or Venice. I truly feel if I’d read the hard copy of this, I would have missed out on a whole layer of fun, meaning and emotion brought to it by this voice actor.

2. Ready Player One

Audiobook Cover: Ready Player OneAuthor: Ernest Cline
Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
Publisher: Random House AudioBooks
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult, Dystopian Fiction
Length: 15 hrs and 40 mins

The narrator Wil Wheaton brings such fun, enthusiasm and energy to this brilliant book that I feel I would have missed out on an extra layer of enjoyment had I read it instead of listened to it (though the book itself is, of course, fantastic). He gets the teenage gamer character of Wade just perfect, delivering his sardonic responses, funny quips, geeky gamer comments and fanboy enthusiasm in such a way that he really just becomes the character. He had me laughing or smiling many times, knew exactly when a dramatic pause was required, and had me on the edge of my seat during the suspenseful parts (which were many!). He even reads the monotonous I.O.I Sixer gamer numbers brilliantly, so I can’t help hearing his voice every time I think of “IOI-655321”.

3. The Scorpio Races

Audiobook Cover: The Scorpio RacesAuthor: Maggie Stiefvater
Narrated by: Steve West, Fiona Hardingham
Publisher: Scholastic Audio
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Low Fantasy, Young Adult
Length: 12 hrs and 6 mins

Narrated by two voice artists who bring to it the perfect tone and mood, this book was such a pleasure to listen to. The story is enthralling and beautifully written, and both narrators give brilliant performances that really help to enhance the enchanting, rugged, somewhat Celtic island setting, with its small community and complex characters.  The understated but very sweet romance is also brought to life in this audiobook, and the voices suited the steely, strong characters.

4. The Martian

Audiobook Cover: The MartianAuthor: Andy Weir
Narrated by: R. C. Bray
Publisher: Podium Publishing
Genre: Hard Science Fiction
Length: 10 hrs and 53 mins

This is just a hands-down a great performance of a great book. The voice actor R C Bray gets the self-depreciating, funny, hard-working character of Mark Watney just right, delivering the amusing lines in the right way to make you laugh, and handling the more serious moments with equal skill. He even manages to read the scientific passages in a way that makes them interesting and almost comprehensible.

5. Throne of Glass

Audiobook Cover: Throne of Glass Author: Sarah J. Maas
Narrated by: Elizabeth Evans
Publisher: Audible Studios for Bloomsbury
Genres: High Fantasy, Fantasy Romance, Young Adult
Length: 12 hrs and 47 mins

The popularity of the Throne of Glass series is in no small part due to its deadly, sardonic and compelling central character, Celaena Sardothien. In the audiobooks, the narrator Elizabeth Evans really gets this character spot-on, completing the picture perfectly and drawing you into the story. The sarcastic tone, the anger, the snide comments – they are all beautifully delivered, and yet the performance also has its soft side, when we see the more fragile inner thoughts, flaws and fears of this ruthless assassin.

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Above are just my favourites from the ones I’ve managed to listen to so far, so if you’re after more audiobook recommendations, why not check out these sites:

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8 thoughts on “5 Awesome Fantasy and Science Fiction Audiobooks

    • Yeah Ready Player One is brilliant! Also it’s a perfect if you’re trying out audiobooks – suspenseful, well done, and not too long – so if you find you don’t like the experience then it might just mean audiobooks aren’t your thing.

      I’ve listened to some that are too long/slow – The Passage, for example, was 37hrs – and while the narrator did a decent job, it dragged, and I probably should have just read it instead. So I always hope those sort of ones are not the kind people first try out when testing audiobooks!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh that sounds absolutely perfect! I think that’s definitely a good thing to bear in mind when you try audiobooks- cos I certainly hadn’t even considered that some books wouldn’t be suited to audiobook form. This is slightly tangential, but I always thought plays on the radio were rubbish till I heard a good one- then a few years ago I heard a dramatization of Neverwhere and realised that it was just because they weren’t done well, rather than it not being the medium for me. I know that sounds a bit odd, but I think if I didn’t know this, I would easily have been put off by a bad version- so thanks for your tips 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • I know what you mean, it’s very easy to be put off something if you start with one that’s no good… I have been suspicious of whole genres simply because the first book I tried was terrible! (Until I found better ones and changed my opinion… well usually changed my opinion 🙂 )

          Liked by 1 person

        • Yes!! I know *exactly* what you mean. I used to like historical fiction for example, but was completely put off by some ridiculous ones (you know, retellings that are just riddled with historical inaccuracies). I’ve only just started reading them again 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

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