audio books are perfect for listeners that just can’t get too much of a good thing.
These fiction series are the books we can’t stop reading, again and again. We get lost in the worlds, whether fantastic and magical or dystopian and sobering. The characters develop more deeply because we have longer to get to know (and love) them. And the narrators who bring a series to life are talented beyond description. (Looking at you, Jim Dale.)
These are the fiction series we cannot recommend highly enough.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, narrated by Carolyn McCormick
Description: In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before-and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, narrated by Tim Curry
Description: Like a car alarm, bagpipe music, or a doorbell ringing in the middle of the night, hearing this audio edition of The Bad Beginning will only upset you. This unique multi-voice recording brings the first book in Lemony Snicket’s alarming A Series of Unfortunate Events to such terrible life that no one should really have to experience it. Unless you have an ear for such ghastly details as a tragic fire, a nefarious villain, itchy clothing, and cold porridge for breakfast, all narrated in chilly detail by the distinguished, and disturbed, Tim Curry with a team of talented readers, you would be better off listening to something else.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, narrated by Davina Porter
Description: Outlander, Diana Gabaldon’s landmark novel of Scottish lore has captured the hearts of millions of readers around the world and catapulted her to the top of the New York Times best-seller list. Intrigue, danger and desire merge in this lush novel of loyalty and time travel. In 1945, Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon. Their blissful reunion is shattered when she touches a boulder in one of the ancient stone ruins and is instantly transported to a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans … in 1743. Will Claire find her way back to her own time, or is her destiny forever linked with Clan MacKenzie and the gallant James Fraser? Davina Porter’s lyrical narration will launch listeners into an exhilarating world of heroism, pulse-pounding adventure, and breathtaking romance as one woman is torn between past and present, passion and love.
Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire Series) by George R. R. Martin, narrated by Roy Dotrice
Description: Winter is coming. Such is the stern motto of House Stark, the northernmost of the fiefdoms that owe allegiance to King Robert Baratheon in far-off King’s Landing. There Eddard Stark of Winterfell rules in Robert’s name. There his family dwells in peace and comfort: his proud wife, Catelyn; his sons Robb, Brandon, and Rickon; his daughters Sansa and Arya; and his bastard son, Jon Snow. Far to the north, behind the towering Wall, lie savage Wildings and worse—unnatural things relegated to myth during the centuries-long summer, but proving all too real and all too deadly in the turning of the season.
Yet a more immediate threat lurks to the south, where Jon Arryn, the Hand of the King, has died under mysterious circumstances. Now Robert is riding north to Winterfell, bringing his queen, the lovely but cold Cersei, his son, the cruel, vainglorious Prince Joffrey, and the queen’s brothers Jaime and Tyrion of the powerful and wealthy House Lannister—the first a swordsman without equal, the second a dwarf whose stunted stature belies a brilliant mind. All are heading for Winterfell and a fateful encounter that will change the course of kingdoms.
Meanwhile, across the Narrow Sea, Prince Viserys, heir of the fallen House Targaryen, which once ruled all of Westeros, schemes to reclaim the throne with an army of barbarian Dothraki—whose loyalty he will purchase in the only coin left to him: his beautiful yet innocent sister, Daenerys.