Romantasy, the addictive mix of romance and fantasy, is having a moment. Of course, fantasy romances have been around for a long time, but right now, listeners can't seem to get enough of the intense battle scenes and romantic interludes that feel like they're made for audio. In a successful romantasy audio, narrators elucidate elaborate world-building while organically building a couple’s chemistry. And that’s happening amid the driving tension of death-defying adventures or political intrigue.
Social media and the bestseller lists are abuzz about FOURTH WING and IRON FLAME by Rebecca Yarros. Narrators Rebecca Soler and Teddy Hamilton explore the perilous world of a dragon academy where Violet can’t trust anyone, especially wing leader Xaden, despite his magnetic pull. These narrators give new meaning to the phrase kept on the edge of our seats. In the sequel, listeners return to Basgiath War College and Violet’s tumultuous partnership with Xaden. Soler and Hamilton never let listeners forget that death is part of the job description for dragon riders. Looking for more audiobooks along these lines? Read on for a variety of recommendations for your next listen.
In SWEEP OF THE HEART and ASSISTANT TO THE VILLAIN, narrators Nora Sofyan and Em Eldridge keep listeners locked in the uncomfortable reality of making a bargain with an unknown entity. In SWEEP, Sofyan juggles a cast of extraterrestrial species at a giant bachelor auction, and in ASSISTANT, Eldridge characterizes the ultimate unreliable employer whose every assignment is likely illegal.
Don’t miss Steve West’s sardonic reading of MASTERS OF DEATH, which draws listeners into a shifting landscape of magical maneuvering where the stakes couldn’t be higher. CITY OF THORNS features a full cast, sound effects, and splashes of humor as a mortal woman is forced into an immortal pact.
Is magical mayhem easier or harder when there’s no one you can trust? Listeners will have to decide in Jennifer L. Armentrout's A SOUL OF ASH AND BLOOD, narrated by Tim Campbell. In Armentrout's continuing series, Casteel shares his past dilemma over loving someone who could have been his greatest bargaining chip. His multi-faceted personality is fully expressed by Campbell. For a little redemption, listen to A POWER UNBOUND by Freya Marske and narrated by Josh Dylan. Jack bears the emotional scars of a past magical betrayal but finds new hope when a motley group of conspirators, joined by the alluring Alan, offer him a road back to the magical world. Dylan gives a stellar performance of a fantasy romance with many fascinating characters and a scorching romance.
Life or Death
When death is on the line, these narrators will keep you from skipping ahead and missing the good stuff. Emily Woo Zeller is as skilled as it gets when immortal assassin Rosalind tours 1930s Shanghai in the hopes of rescuing her husband and her country. Zeller’s performance in Chloe Gong’s FOUL HEART HUNTSMAN will make listeners feel exposed and out of options, just like Rosalind. War also lurks on the edges of FALL OF RUIN AND WRATH by Jennifer Armentrout, read by Soneela Nankani. In a world where death waits on the edge of every city, Nankani expresses Calista’s future visions as the double-edged sword of her happiness or her destruction.
Fitting in vs. Standing Out
These narrators excel at presenting characters whose different perspectives give them the power to do impossible things. In Moniquill Blackgoose’s TO SHAPE A DRAGON’S BREATH, narrator Charley Flyte presents an Indigenous teen’s journey from life on Masquapaug island to the mainland colonizer's dragon school, with all the cultural challenges that presents. A necromancer is forced into the unfamiliar world of court in THE FOXGLOVE KING by Hannah Whitten. Hear it come alive with narrator Emily Ellet delivering black humor and unique voices.
A hidden royal makes a deal with her enemy in THE JASAD HEIR, narrated by Rasha Zamamiri and Peter Ganim. Zamamiri makes the most of the first-person narration to move Sylvia from reluctant and cornered to fully claiming her magical agency. And if you like royals, you will love A FRAGILE ENCHANTMENT by Allison Saft, narrated by Fran Burgoyne. Seamstress Niamh faces an uncomfortable dilemma when her budding friendship with Avaland’s Prince Kit drags her into untenable waters. Burgoyne hits all the feels with this deeply romantic listen.