5 Audiobooks to Take You Into Whole New Worlds

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Kendra Winchester

Contributing Editor

Kendra Winchester is a Contributing Editor for Book Riot where she writes about audiobooks and disability literature. She is also the Founder of Read Appalachia, which celebrates Appalachian literature and writing. Previously, Kendra co-founded and served as Executive Director for Reading Women, a podcast that gained an international following over its six-season run. In her off hours, you can find her writing on her Substack, Winchester Ave, and posting photos of her Corgis on Instagram and Twitter @kdwinchester.

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As someone with a disabling chronic illness, I frequently find myself ill, unable to do more than lie on the couch or in bed for days at a time. To help me pass the time, I listen to audiobooks, preferably a long series that gives me a chance to spend hours and hours in the same fantastical universe. Here are a few of my all-time favorite immersive SFF audiobooks that keep me company when I’m sick and that I love to escape into again and again.

Sabriel by Garth Nix, Narrated by Tim Curry

I must confess, I have a soft spot for necromancers, and Sabriel and her family are the best kind: they keep the dead down. The Abhorsen is an honored position in the Old Kingdom. Abhorsens use necromancy to fight necromancers, their powers allowing them to protect the kingdom and lay the dead permanently to rest. The Abhorsen series spans five books and one short story, making it an excellent choice for anyone wanting to dive into a dark, fantastical series. Tim Curry (yes, THE Tim Curry) narrates the first three books in the series, giving these books a perfect, creepy atmosphere.

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi, Narrated by Soneela Nankani

The moment I read about Aru, I knew she was a kindred spirit. In the first book, she accidentally wakes up The Sleeper, an evil force destined to be her enemy. Soon, she learns that she is a demigod, a reincarnation of one of the five Pandava brothers, but this time, they’re being reincarnated as girls. Prepare yourself for this fantastical adventure full of badass, problem-solving heroines who have a long journey ahead of them. Soneela Nankani gives an all-star performance of this story, as always. The fifth and final book is scheduled to be released in 2022.

Lockwood and Co.: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud, Narrated by Miranda Raison

There’s nothing like a creepy ghost story, so when one of my favorite kid lit authors decided to tell a few of his own ghost stories in his new series, I knew I had to listen to it myself. I ended up loving the first book, which introduces us to Lucy Carlyle, who has just joined Anthony Lockwood’s new Psychic Detection Agency. She helps him solve mysteries of the supernatural and to capture ghosts and other apparitions. Miranda Raison narrates this series with all of the creepy, spooky mood required.

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin, Narrated by Robin Miles

Audiobook narrator superstar Robin Miles performs The Fifth Season and the other two books in the series, bringing to life this story of a woman whose husband has just murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. What’s worse is that the world is ending. Every book in this trilogy won the Hugo Award for best novel, making it a landmark fantasy series. I loved every minute of this incredible story, which is filled with so many twists and turns that will have you holding your breath to see what happens next.

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, Narrated by Jenny Sterlin

Diana Wynne Jones is the author I desperately wish I had read as a child. Her stories possess that unique ability to make me nostalgic for stories I’ve never read before. Possibly her most famous work, Howl’s Moving Castle follows a young woman cursed to live as an old lady. When she finds a job at the infamous Howl’s moving castle, a house that moves on a set of magical legs. This novel is the first in a series of books set in a whimsical world full of mysterious magicians, flying carpets, and captured demons. Jenny Sterlin adds this beautiful quality to the story, narrating this story such ease and skill.