Earlier this month I confessed my out-of-control love of audiobook series. When a narrator clicks with an author’s work, the results virtually transport me to another place or another time and introduce me to my new best friends. It’s such a joy to know I can return to that world again and again in each audiobook installment.
As I said a few weeks ago, I couldn’t stop at just five series, so here’s another batch of serial reading that I can wholeheartedly recommend.
Historical fiction done right gives us a down-to-earth view of the past, and Ken Follett’s Knightsbridge trilogy, read by John Lee, is one of the best. The books are all set primarily in the same fictitious British town and trace the fate of a handful of families in three different time periods (medieval through the Elizabethan era). Lee is brilliant with accents and is able to give each of the many characters his or her own voice, ripe with personality. This 117-hour-long trilogy starts with THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH and ends with A COLUMN OF FIRE.
If you want to get in near the ground floor of a British mystery series, then give Robert Galbraith’s Cormoran Strike books a chance; they’re read by Robert Glenister. These private investigator mysteries feature two complicated, troubled protagonists: he’s ex-military police and she’s finding her place after dropping out of college. Glenister does a great job contrasting the characters’ inner and outer lives. In about 51 hours, you’ll be caught up with these audiobooks, awaiting the next Cormoran Strike adventure. The first book is THE CUCKOO’S CALLING; the third is CAREER OF EVIL. Note that Robert Galbraith is a pen name for J.K. Rowling, and there’s also a new TV series based on the books.
One of my favorite fantasy/paranormal series is the Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater and not just because Will Patton’s performance is phenomenal. The four books center on a group of teens, each of whom has a different quest or driving force, from finding their true nature to tapping into the power of the local ley lines to resolving family issues. Using sensitive pacing and emotionally accurate characterizations Patton captured my attention throughout all 45 hours, from THE RAVEN BOYS to THE RAVEN KING.
I’m often drawn to series that cross genre lines, like N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy read by Robin Miles. The books have sci-fi elements but they’re mixed with fantasy, dystopia, and a deep history, all set in a unique version of Earth and exploring many issues that are relevant to our own lives. Listen to appreciate Miles’s ability to fade into the background, so her performance immerses you in the story seamlessly. Start with THE FIFTH SEASON; 63 hours later you’ll be at the end of THE STONE SKY. If you want to learn more about this series, check out the video discussion from N.K. and Robin.
Like pretty much every audiobook mystery lover, my list of favorites includes Craig Johnson’s Walt Longmire series. I mean, who can resist George Guidall’s performances of these Wyoming-set police procedurals? I love the friendships, the office and town politics, and the sometimes uneasy interplay between the town and Native American reservation. Listen for Guidall’s spot-on comedic timing as well as his skill at building tension; great characterizations too. Start with THE COLD DISH and end with THE WESTERN STAR. After about 118 hours, you’ll be ready for fall’s new Longmire book.
My audiobook series addiction is an ongoing, incurable affliction. While I catch up on some of the series I highlighted this month (I’m behind on the Longmire books and the In Death series), I’m looking forward to discovering many more perfect narrator-author match-ups. What are some of your favorite audiobook series?