my favorite audiobooks of the past while

August 31, 2021

written by
Joren Mathews

These are my favorite audiobooks pulled from the last 20 pages of my Audible library. This list isn’t reserved for the “best” books, or for books that “break new ground” or any other metric a literature major might concoct. These are simply the books I enjoyed most. That might mean they were pure stupid fun or it might mean the ideas in them were fascinating or thought-provoking.

Cradle Series – Will Wight

This is the meth of fantasy series. You start with the protagonist being a pathetic failure, and by the last book he’ll be able to beat up God for his lunch money. It’s set in a far-east kung-fu typesetting, and takes all possible advantage of it.

The Sandman – Neil Gaiman

This is an audio play version of Neil Gaiman’s famous graphic novel series. The narration and sound effect production are incredible, and it really transports you into another world.

Scythe – Neal Shusterman

Interesting vision of the future that investigates a solution to the problem of human immortality. Humanity has solved aging, and virtually no death is irreversible. With finite resources death must be restored to the world. Enter the Scythes – trained in all forms of homicide, they alone are empowered to kill, and they do so in a pattern seeking to emulate how deaths occurred historically. But what happens if the Scythedom becomes corrupt?

Blindsight – Peter Watts

Fascinating investigation of perception and the limits of the human mind. This book explores a first-contact situation with a crew engineered to be neurodivergent in ways which allow them to be useful in a time when basic human thought processes are outclassed.

14 – Peter Cline

Peter Cline’s Lovecraftian universe is mysterious and creepy in all the best ways. You are kept guessing by weird, unexplained happenings until the full-blown cosmic horror comes to the fore.

Riyria Revelations – Michael J. Sullivan

If I had to pick a single favorite fantasy series, this is it. Incredible world building, fun characters, and an action-packed adventure. This series has incredible highs and lows, and won’t let you put it down.

Prince of Thorns – Mark Lawrence

Excellent prose and first-class world-building are key features of this series. The protagonist is an absolute bastard, and somehow by the end you can’t help but root for him. Spoilers are best avoided for this one because it’s awesome to see the true nature of the world revealed as you read.

The Mystwick School of Musicraft – Jessica Khoury

Hogwarts but music is magic. Simply a delight to listen to. It’s a simple story but the journey it takes you on is heartwarming and sweet. Takes perfect advantage of the medium with original music composed so you can hear the spells as they are cast.

Second Hand Curses – Drew Hayes

This book has an awesome, unique hodge podge setting. The world pulls from a plethora of old stories and fairy tales. Did you ever want to read a tale about a roving band of adventurers composed of Jack (of beanstalk fame), a princess (Happens to be a werewolf), and Frankenstein’s monster? 

The Gone World – Tom Sweterlitsch

A heavier read than most on this list. A mystery/thriller of a time-traveling investigation set against a backdrop of an imminent species-ending calamity. In all the best ways it shares a thematic tone with True Detective season 1.

The Milkweed Triptych – Ian Tregillis

An incredible alt-history sci-fi/fantasy series where British warlocks make blood pacts with extra-planar entities to combat the London blitz and Hitler’s paranormal special forces.

Earthcore – Scott Sigler

Starts out as a combination of corporate thriller and spelunking adventure, but quickly evolves into sci-fi horror. This book is an incredible romp and kept me at the edge of my seat the whole way through.

Spinning Silver / Uprooted – Naomi Novik

I’m combining these into one because I have the same things to say about both. They are both whimsical fairytale-fantasy, and they both involve worlds and protagonists that operate more on a dreamlike and emotional level than most fantasy.

Johannes Cabal The Necromancer –  Jonathan L. Howard

Quirky series. The first book has Johannes managing a hellish carnival to steal souls for the devil in exchange for restoring his own. Full of unsettling scenes and imagery, dry humor, and witty banter, there really isn’t anything like this series. Each book has a very distinct setting and arc, so you’re always kept interested.

Red Rising – Pierce Brown

A military sci-fi drama. Has a society with the trappings of the Roman empire but in a space-faring setting. The character development and relationships are very well done in this. It is extremely dramatic and has incredible crescendo moments, but also devastating lows.