Are you looking for the absolute best audiobook series? Look no further. These ten series absolutely shine as audiobooks. Truly superb narrators elevate them to a whole new level. Incredible voice actors bring the characters to life in ways that make it basically impossible to stop listening. I’ve even listened to some of these series twice; they are that good. If there’s something better than a beloved series, it’s a beloved series on audio: there’s nothing like getting to experience great books in more than one way.
Without further ado, some of the very best audiobooks series in a variety of genres: science fiction, fantasy, mystery, and realistic fiction. Get ready for many hours of fantastic listening—there are a total of 28 books on this list, with four more on the way!
Robin Miles captures all the messy exuberance of this charming middle grade series about a big mixed raced family (and their many pets) living in Harlem. This book is full of easy humor and old-school shenanigans, yet still explores lots of issues that kids today have to deal with. Miles gets all the voices of the many characters just exactly right.
This action-packed series, based on Hindu mythology, has got everything I want in a middle-grade fantasy: a badass heroine, diverse characters, great world-building, and lots of silliness. Nankani is the perfect narrator to bring it all to life. She not only captures all of Aru Shah’s shifting emotions, but the essence of all the mythological and magical beings she meets throughout her adventures.
This is the audiobook series that made me fall in love with audiobooks. Will Patton’s utterly perfect and spellbinding narration of this series is the one I measure all other narration against. He inhabits the book. The setting, the magic, the characters: they come so wildly alive in his voice that I actually can’t imagine reading this series in print. It’s so good that I honestly don’t have the words to describe. Go listen, and see for yourself.
If you haven’t yet had the joy of listening to January LaVoy, this series is a superb place to start. Her talents are on fully display. The series takes place in a supernatural 1920s New York, and flits in and out of the POVs of almost a dozen characters of different races, genders, ages, and cultural backgrounds. Over the course of four books, LaVoy flawlessly uses distinct voices for every character, like it’s just…oh, another day at the office. Which it is, for her. Luckily for us.
Anika Noni Rose is one of the many narrators I really wish would record more books-—she’s just so good. Her warm voice becomes the voice of Brooklyn teenager Sierra Santiago, who finds herself enmeshed in a world of spirts and magic that her family has long been hiding from her. Rose gives a unique and captivating voice to every character in this series and she excels at creating tension with her vocal skills during the battles. Her performance transforms this already excellent series into something extraordinary.
This is one of those dystopian series that is so creepy because all the awfulness is hidden just below the surface. Camellia is a Belle, one of the elite women who controls beauty in the rich and luxurious world of Orleans. But she soon finds out that beauty is not what she’s been taught to believe it is all her life; disillusionment and rebellion ensue. Rosie Jones is incredible here—her voice is smooth, exact, and refined. It makes for an eerie, visceral listening experience, as it soon becomes clear that the world she’s describing is not nearly as lovely as her soothing voice.
I fell in love with this series in print, and while I love rereading books on audio, I was worried that hearing their voices might somehow change the characters I’d fallen so hard for. I should not have been worried; Robin Miles hasn’t failed me yet. Happily, this fantasy–science fiction hybrid is not only one of the best series I’ve ever read, but also one of the best audiobook series. I didn’t think it was possible for anything to make it better, but Miles’s narration does just that. She puts everything these characters go through, all their traumas and triumphs—into her voice. I could not stop listening.
People have strong feelings about this series—some people love it; others hate it. I enjoyed all three books, and I’m pretty sure that’s because the audiobooks are spectacular. Bramhall is great at character voices, and he’s especially great at capturing all of protagonist Quentin’s youthful malaise and annoying habits. Quentin changes a lot over the course of the series, and Bramhall conveys that perfectly, too. It’s always nice to have a steady, confident voice to guide you through magical worlds, and Bramhall delivers. If you’re on the fence about this series, go for the audio: listening makes all the difference.
This is a two-book alternate history series set in an 1890s America overrun with hippos. Yup, hippos. Hippos imported to Louisiana by the U.S. government in an attempt to start a hippo meat industry. Also, it’s super queer. Obviously, this is all you need to know about this series. But in case you need more convincing, Peter Berkrot narrates the whole adventure in this hardened Southern drawl that you just want to curl up in. This is a series full of outlaws, misfits, and criminals, and Berkrot gives each of them a unique voice. His narration practically drips with the heat of the Louisiana bayous. It is marvelous.
JD Jackson is one of my go-to narrators, and his work on this series is an example of why he’s so good. Darren Matthews is a Black Texas Ranger who not only has to solve crimes, but deal with the racism that runs rampant in East Texas. The two books in this crime series are as much about Darren’s character as the crimes he solves, and JD Jackson is so good that it’s easy to forget it’s him, and not Darren himself, narrating the story. Jackson’s voice holds all the tension and suspense that makes a good mystery audiobook, but he’s also great at capturing Darren’s emotional state.