The Best Audiobook Series of All Time by Genre

From fantasy to romance, these are our favorite audiobook series of all time from every major genre.

What makes a good audiobook series? There are as many answers to this question as there are listeners. For some, it might be epic battles. For others, it might be ongoing romantic twists and tensions. For still others, it might be elongated character studies or an in-depth analysis of a particular time and place. But the universal element of a truly great series is that it sticks with you long after the last word. 

Translating the magic of a book series to audio can be a daunting—but thrilling—task. How do you capture the thrill of a good mystery, the sprawling worlds of a fantasy realm, or the strife of a literary fiction saga, all on a recorded format? How do you find the perfect narrator and achieve the perfect balance of accents, music, and sound effects? How do you capture the power of the story itself? 

Thankfully, many audiobook series have figured out this magic formula—in many cases coming up with something totally new. And whichever genre you prefer, there is no shortage of great listening for you to dive into.

Fiction

Gilead

Gilead

Book 1: Gilead

Books in Series: Gilead (Book 1); Home (Book 2); Lila: A Novel (Book 3); Jack (Book 4)

The Gilead series begins with the Pulitzer Prize-winning first installment that bears the same name. Gilead is a multigenerational account of a family of religious men. As Reverend John Ames nears the end of his life, he pens a letter to his son, as a way of telling the young boy about himself, his father, and his grandfather. Throughout the epistolary tale, the author thoroughly explores the fraught relationships sons and fathers form, as well as how they can be strengthened or broken by adversity.

My Brilliant Friend

The Neapolitan Novels

Book 1: My Brilliant Friend

Books in Series: My Brilliant Friend (Book 1); The Story of a New Name (Book 2); Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (Book 3); The Story of the Lost Child (Book 4)

The mega-popular Neapolitan Novels, penned by an author known by the pseudonym Elena Ferrante, begins with the news of a disappearance: the protagonist (also named Elena) receives a phone call that her best friend from childhood, Lila, is missing. This compels Elena to set to work writing down everything she can remember about her old friend, setting forth the action for this quartet of emotionally resonant and fascinating novels that explore the nuances and difficulties of lifelong friendship. Hillary Huber's narration is the perfect partner for Ferrante's vibrant prose, each element coming together to form a wonderfully fulfilling audio experience.

My Struggle, Book 1

My Struggle

Book 1: My Struggle

Books in Series: My Struggle (Book 1, Book 2, Book 3, Book 4, Book 5, Book 6)

This autobiographical series made massive literary waves with its brutally candid depictions of events based on the author's life. Across six books, My Struggle depicts scenes from Knausgaard's life, from a childhood in an unsteady home where he found comfort in music to his present literary ambitions, culminating with his struggle to be a decent and caring father. Written with pathos and narrated with a matching level of carefully paced focus, this is a heady series that makes for thoroughly engaging listening.

Gilead

Gilead

Book 1: Gilead

Books in Series: Gilead (Book 1); Home (Book 2); Lila: A Novel (Book 3); Jack (Book 4)

The Gilead series begins with the Pulitzer Prize-winning first installment that bears the same name. Gilead is a multigenerational account of a family of religious men. As Reverend John Ames nears the end of his life, he pens a letter to his son, as a way of telling the young boy about himself, his father, and his grandfather. Throughout the epistolary tale, the author thoroughly explores the fraught relationships sons and fathers form, as well as how they can be strengthened or broken by adversity.

My Brilliant Friend

The Neapolitan Novels

Book 1: My Brilliant Friend

Books in Series: My Brilliant Friend (Book 1); The Story of a New Name (Book 2); Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (Book 3); The Story of the Lost Child (Book 4)

The mega-popular Neapolitan Novels, penned by an author known by the pseudonym Elena Ferrante, begins with the news of a disappearance: the protagonist (also named Elena) receives a phone call that her best friend from childhood, Lila, is missing. This compels Elena to set to work writing down everything she can remember about her old friend, setting forth the action for this quartet of emotionally resonant and fascinating novels that explore the nuances and difficulties of lifelong friendship. Hillary Huber's narration is the perfect partner for Ferrante's vibrant prose, each element coming together to form a wonderfully fulfilling audio experience.

My Struggle, Book 1

My Struggle

Book 1: My Struggle

Books in Series: My Struggle (Book 1, Book 2, Book 3, Book 4, Book 5, Book 6)

This autobiographical series made massive literary waves with its brutally candid depictions of events based on the author's life. Across six books, My Struggle depicts scenes from Knausgaard's life, from a childhood in an unsteady home where he found comfort in music to his present literary ambitions, culminating with his struggle to be a decent and caring father. Written with pathos and narrated with a matching level of carefully paced focus, this is a heady series that makes for thoroughly engaging listening.

Science Fiction

We Are Legion (We Are Bob)

Bobiverse

Book 1: We Are Legion (We Are Bob)

Books in Series: We Are Legion (We Are Bob) (Book 1); For We Are Many (Book 2); All These Worlds (Book 3); Heaven's River (Book 4)

Wealthy businessman Robert Johansson elects to have his head cryogenically frozen after death, but when he wakes up 117 years after succumbing to a fatal car crash, he discovers his consciousness has instead been installed as the AI of a computer matrix—the Bobiverse. Now he’s to be deployed as an interplanetary probe, hunting for life in the deepest realms of space. Named Audible’s Best Sci-Fi Audiobook of 2016, We Are Legion (We Are Bob) is a wild tongue-in-cheek interplanetary romp that’s been followed by three more wildly popular installments. With a wide range of characters, ever-evolving generations of Bob, and an absolutely unmatched narration by the brilliant Ray Porter, this series has legions of listeners hooked.

Area X

The Southern Reach Trilogy

Book 1-3, Area X

Books in Series: Annihilation (Book 1); Authority (Book 2); Acceptance (Book 3); Area X (Books 1-3)

Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy is one of the finest tales of sci-fi horror in recent memory, depicting a fateful expedition by four women into the mysterious, abandoned patch of coastal land known only as "Area X." They are the 12th expedition to head into this uninhabited space, in the wake of suicides, disappearances, and other tragedies that befell the first 11 teams. At times a thoughtful depiction of nature, as well as psychological horror, this trilogy asks difficult questions about humanity and the effects our actions have on the world around us. Available both as a single omnibus audiobook and in its three separate installments, this is a must-listen entry for anyone seeking a great sci-fi book series.

MaddAddam

The MaddAddam Trilogy

Book 1, MaddAddam

Books in Series: MaddAddam (Book 1);The Year of the Flood (Book 2); Oryx and Crake (Book 3)

In the wake of a horrible pandemic called the Waterless Flood, an ensemble of colorful and memorable characters try to navigate life in a world ravaged by famine, war, and giant mutated beasts. Margaret Atwood's signature balance of adventure and social commentary are at their finest in this series, impeccably performed by a slew of talented narrators who excel at bringing Atwood's pointed prose to life.

Parable of the Sower

Earthseed

Book 1, Parable of the Sower

Books in Series: Parable of the Sower (Book 1); Parable of the Talents (Book 2)

The Earthseed duology is a true shining star in the wider bibliography of sci-fi master Octavia E. Butler. In this two-installment series, the Earthseed movement, a religious group formed in the chaos and violence of modern society, operates under the philosophy that God is Change, and we can Shape God. These audiobooks are structured as diary entries from the movement's unlikely leader and prophet, a teenage girl named Lauren Olamina. This short but powerful series imparts important messages about human nature and the necessity of adaptation. Between Butler's sophisticated prose and the gravitas of narrator Lynne Thigpen, this is a sci-fi series worth listening to over and over again.

We Are Legion (We Are Bob)

Bobiverse

Book 1: We Are Legion (We Are Bob)

Books in Series: We Are Legion (We Are Bob) (Book 1); For We Are Many (Book 2); All These Worlds (Book 3); Heaven's River (Book 4)

Wealthy businessman Robert Johansson elects to have his head cryogenically frozen after death, but when he wakes up 117 years after succumbing to a fatal car crash, he discovers his consciousness has instead been installed as the AI of a computer matrix—the Bobiverse. Now he’s to be deployed as an interplanetary probe, hunting for life in the deepest realms of space. Named Audible’s Best Sci-Fi Audiobook of 2016, We Are Legion (We Are Bob) is a wild tongue-in-cheek interplanetary romp that’s been followed by three more wildly popular installments. With a wide range of characters, ever-evolving generations of Bob, and an absolutely unmatched narration by the brilliant Ray Porter, this series has legions of listeners hooked.

Area X

The Southern Reach Trilogy

Book 1-3, Area X

Books in Series: Annihilation (Book 1); Authority (Book 2); Acceptance (Book 3); Area X (Books 1-3)

Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy is one of the finest tales of sci-fi horror in recent memory, depicting a fateful expedition by four women into the mysterious, abandoned patch of coastal land known only as "Area X." They are the 12th expedition to head into this uninhabited space, in the wake of suicides, disappearances, and other tragedies that befell the first 11 teams. At times a thoughtful depiction of nature, as well as psychological horror, this trilogy asks difficult questions about humanity and the effects our actions have on the world around us. Available both as a single omnibus audiobook and in its three separate installments, this is a must-listen entry for anyone seeking a great sci-fi book series.

MaddAddam

The MaddAddam Trilogy

Book 1, MaddAddam

Books in Series: MaddAddam (Book 1);The Year of the Flood (Book 2); Oryx and Crake (Book 3)

In the wake of a horrible pandemic called the Waterless Flood, an ensemble of colorful and memorable characters try to navigate life in a world ravaged by famine, war, and giant mutated beasts. Margaret Atwood's signature balance of adventure and social commentary are at their finest in this series, impeccably performed by a slew of talented narrators who excel at bringing Atwood's pointed prose to life.

Parable of the Sower

Earthseed

Book 1, Parable of the Sower

Books in Series: Parable of the Sower (Book 1); Parable of the Talents (Book 2)

The Earthseed duology is a true shining star in the wider bibliography of sci-fi master Octavia E. Butler. In this two-installment series, the Earthseed movement, a religious group formed in the chaos and violence of modern society, operates under the philosophy that God is Change, and we can Shape God. These audiobooks are structured as diary entries from the movement's unlikely leader and prophet, a teenage girl named Lauren Olamina. This short but powerful series imparts important messages about human nature and the necessity of adaptation. Between Butler's sophisticated prose and the gravitas of narrator Lynne Thigpen, this is a sci-fi series worth listening to over and over again.

Thriller

The Dark Tower I

The Dark Tower

Book 1, The Dark Tower I

Books in Series: The Dark Tower I (Book 1), The Dark Tower II (Book 2), The Dark Tower III (Book 3), The Dark Tower IV (Book 4), The Wind Through the Keyhole (Book 4.5), Wolves of the Calla (Book 5), Song of Susannah (Book 6), The Dark Tower (Book 7)

The Dark Tower is a series of eight installments penned by Stephen King. It blends together many genres, including horror, fantasy, and western, to tell the story of Roland of Gilead, aka The Last Gunslinger.Roland is on a physical and metaphorical journey towards the titular Dark Tower—the exact significance of which is unclear—a chilling grail quest that only intensifies the mood of looming mystery pervading the story. Four of the eight volumes in the series are performed by the masterful and prolific Hall of Fame Narrator, George Guidall. Stephen King himself narrates Book 4.5, The Wind Through the Keyhole. Throughout his 20-year career, he has performed more than 1,300 audiobooks, and he has received three Audie Awards for his exceptional work.

Apocalypse Scenario #683: The Box

Newsflesh

Book 0.5, Apocalypse Scenario #683: The Box

Books in Series: Apocalypse Scenario #683: The Box (Book 0.5); Feed (Book 1); Deadline (Book 2); Countdown (Book 2.5); Blackout (Book 3); Feedback (Book 4); All the Pretty Little Horses (Book 4.5)

In the beginning of Book 1, the zombie apocalypse has already happened. The planet, having once achieved the feat of curing cancer and eradicating the common cold, is now in the throes of a deep existential crisis. Its former prosperity begat an unrelenting virus which turns its carriers into mindless vessels with one directive: feed. Twenty years later, where the story begins, the uninfected and the zombified live in their own territories, where a great anxiety for the inevitable violence to come builds upon itself to a breaking point. Told through the point of view of a blog written by a journalist covering a presidential campaign, this series is a thrill ride of action, pathos, and horror, touching on everything from political intrigue to the morality of violence. With Grant's impeccable writing, and a brilliant cast of narrators bringing the characters to life, this series is a can't-miss for anyone seeking their next zombie fix.

Interview with the Vampire

The Vampire Chronicles

Book 1, Interview with the Vampire

Books in Series: Interview with the Vampire (Book 1); The Vampire Lestat (Book 2); The Queen of the Damned (Book 3); The Tale of the Body Thief (Book 4); Memnoch the Devil (Book 5); The Vampire Armand (Book 6); Merrick (Book 7); Blood and Gold (Book 8); Blackwood Farm (Book 9); Blood Canticle (Book 10); Prince Lestat (Book 11); Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis (Book 12); Blood Communion (Book 13)

Anne Rice’s name is near synonymous with the word vampire. Beginning with the iconic Interview with the Vampire, this expansive and long-running series is perfect for any listener who is a little thirsty for bloodthirst. Originating as a short story, Rice expanded it into a full novel about the life of a vampire, Louis de Pointe du Lac, who decides to tell his life story to a reporter. With 13 entries in this ongoing series, there is plenty to get into for those seeking a thrilling horror, including the travails of popular character Prince Lestat de Lioncourt.

The Dark Tower I

The Dark Tower

Book 1, The Dark Tower I

Books in Series: The Dark Tower I (Book 1), The Dark Tower II (Book 2), The Dark Tower III (Book 3), The Dark Tower IV (Book 4), The Wind Through the Keyhole (Book 4.5), Wolves of the Calla (Book 5), Song of Susannah (Book 6), The Dark Tower (Book 7)

The Dark Tower is a series of eight installments penned by Stephen King. It blends together many genres, including horror, fantasy, and western, to tell the story of Roland of Gilead, aka The Last Gunslinger.Roland is on a physical and metaphorical journey towards the titular Dark Tower—the exact significance of which is unclear—a chilling grail quest that only intensifies the mood of looming mystery pervading the story. Four of the eight volumes in the series are performed by the masterful and prolific Hall of Fame Narrator, George Guidall. Stephen King himself narrates Book 4.5, The Wind Through the Keyhole. Throughout his 20-year career, he has performed more than 1,300 audiobooks, and he has received three Audie Awards for his exceptional work.

Apocalypse Scenario #683: The Box

Newsflesh

Book 0.5, Apocalypse Scenario #683: The Box

Books in Series: Apocalypse Scenario #683: The Box (Book 0.5); Feed (Book 1); Deadline (Book 2); Countdown (Book 2.5); Blackout (Book 3); Feedback (Book 4); All the Pretty Little Horses (Book 4.5)

In the beginning of Book 1, the zombie apocalypse has already happened. The planet, having once achieved the feat of curing cancer and eradicating the common cold, is now in the throes of a deep existential crisis. Its former prosperity begat an unrelenting virus which turns its carriers into mindless vessels with one directive: feed. Twenty years later, where the story begins, the uninfected and the zombified live in their own territories, where a great anxiety for the inevitable violence to come builds upon itself to a breaking point. Told through the point of view of a blog written by a journalist covering a presidential campaign, this series is a thrill ride of action, pathos, and horror, touching on everything from political intrigue to the morality of violence. With Grant's impeccable writing, and a brilliant cast of narrators bringing the characters to life, this series is a can't-miss for anyone seeking their next zombie fix.

Interview with the Vampire

The Vampire Chronicles

Book 1, Interview with the Vampire

Books in Series: Interview with the Vampire (Book 1); The Vampire Lestat (Book 2); The Queen of the Damned (Book 3); The Tale of the Body Thief (Book 4); Memnoch the Devil (Book 5); The Vampire Armand (Book 6); Merrick (Book 7); Blood and Gold (Book 8); Blackwood Farm (Book 9); Blood Canticle (Book 10); Prince Lestat (Book 11); Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis (Book 12); Blood Communion (Book 13)

Anne Rice’s name is near synonymous with the word vampire. Beginning with the iconic Interview with the Vampire, this expansive and long-running series is perfect for any listener who is a little thirsty for bloodthirst. Originating as a short story, Rice expanded it into a full novel about the life of a vampire, Louis de Pointe du Lac, who decides to tell his life story to a reporter. With 13 entries in this ongoing series, there is plenty to get into for those seeking a thrilling horror, including the travails of popular character Prince Lestat de Lioncourt.

Fantasy

The Poppy War

The Poppy War

Book 1, The Poppy War

Books in Series: The Poppy War (Book 1); The Dragon Republic (Book 2); The Burning God (Book 3, forthcoming)

This debut series from author R.F. Kuang invites listeners into a historical fantasy world influenced by the war and bloodshed of 20th-century China, tackling the intersectional issues of race, gender, and poverty along the way. Rin, a poor orphan with dark skin, is accepted into an elite military academy after surprising everyone—the officials, her guardians, and herself—with brilliant marks on a recruitment test mandated by the Empire. Once in school, she faces prejudice from her wealthier, light-skinned peers and instructors, having to navigate the rigid social order of the school while learning to harness a great power that has been awoken in her.

Akata Witch

Akata Witch Series

Book 1, Akata Witch

Books in Series: Akata Witch (Book 1); Akata Warrior (Book 2)

This popular series revolves around a 12-year-old girl named Sunny, an American living in Nigeria. Sunny has albinism, which makes her vulnerable to sunlight and keeps her from exercising her athletic prowess on the soccer field. It isn't until she discovers her latent magical abilities that she begins to feel, for the first time, as if she has found somewhere she can fit in.

Fire & Blood

A Song of Ice and Fire

Prequel, Fire & Blood

Books in Series: A Game of Thrones (Book 1); A Clash of Kings (Book 2); A Storm of Swords (Book 3); A Feast for Crows (Book 4); A Dance with Dragons (Book 5)

Westeros was thoroughly well-imagined in the television show based on this epic series, but for fans craving more, there is still plenty of this world and these characters to experience. Roy Dotrice's narration is a particular highlight of A Song of Ice and Fire in audiobook form, as the narrator gives voice to more than 200 characters across the five books already published from this ongoing series. Martin's prose reads like it was meant to be heard out loud, delivered in an oral tradition befitting Westeros itself. Whether you're already a fan or stepping into this riveting series for the first time, it's easy to see why A Song of Ice and Fire is among the best fantasy book series of all time.

The Poppy War

The Poppy War

Book 1, The Poppy War

Books in Series: The Poppy War (Book 1); The Dragon Republic (Book 2); The Burning God (Book 3, forthcoming)

This debut series from author R.F. Kuang invites listeners into a historical fantasy world influenced by the war and bloodshed of 20th-century China, tackling the intersectional issues of race, gender, and poverty along the way. Rin, a poor orphan with dark skin, is accepted into an elite military academy after surprising everyone—the officials, her guardians, and herself—with brilliant marks on a recruitment test mandated by the Empire. Once in school, she faces prejudice from her wealthier, light-skinned peers and instructors, having to navigate the rigid social order of the school while learning to harness a great power that has been awoken in her.

Akata Witch

Akata Witch Series

Book 1, Akata Witch

Books in Series: Akata Witch (Book 1); Akata Warrior (Book 2)

This popular series revolves around a 12-year-old girl named Sunny, an American living in Nigeria. Sunny has albinism, which makes her vulnerable to sunlight and keeps her from exercising her athletic prowess on the soccer field. It isn't until she discovers her latent magical abilities that she begins to feel, for the first time, as if she has found somewhere she can fit in.

Fire & Blood

A Song of Ice and Fire

Prequel, Fire & Blood

Books in Series: A Game of Thrones (Book 1); A Clash of Kings (Book 2); A Storm of Swords (Book 3); A Feast for Crows (Book 4); A Dance with Dragons (Book 5)

Westeros was thoroughly well-imagined in the television show based on this epic series, but for fans craving more, there is still plenty of this world and these characters to experience. Roy Dotrice's narration is a particular highlight of A Song of Ice and Fire in audiobook form, as the narrator gives voice to more than 200 characters across the five books already published from this ongoing series. Martin's prose reads like it was meant to be heard out loud, delivered in an oral tradition befitting Westeros itself. Whether you're already a fan or stepping into this riveting series for the first time, it's easy to see why A Song of Ice and Fire is among the best fantasy book series of all time.


D.R. Baker is a writer and musician based in New York City. Their work has appeared at Book Riot, Submittable, HowlRound, and others. 

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