Top 10 fantasy audio-book downloads (July 2013)

The George R. R. Martin monopoly on the top 10 fantasy fantasy audio-book downloads is still very much in evidence but three titles can be found battling away gamely against the juggernaut. World War Z, no doubt due to a film adaptation just having hit cinemas, has stormed its way to number one and while I enjoyed it in parts I would struggle to actually recommend it to anyone else as too much simply didn’t work for me (just a personal opinion and I’m happy to admit to being in the minority). The other new entry is Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane, which has just been reviewed, and is read by the author himself (this is next on my to-listen list). And a re-entry into the top 10 is another Neil Gaiman book, American Gods, which is fantastically well read by Gaiman himself and one of my all-time favourite narrators, George Guidall (he of Dark Tower fame). Despite a rather slow start American Gods became one of the best audio-books I have listened to in the last 5 years – now this one is highly recommended.

So here is the current top 10, as seen on Audible.co.uk (I’d imagine Audible.com is quite different but still Westeros-themed). I am also busy compiling a list of my favourite audio-books and narrators and I’ll post this in the not too distant future. I’m finding it an interesting list as the best fantasy books do not always make the best audio-books. I have found that high/epic fantasy can be problematic in audio format due to the plethora of made-up names and locations, and I have also found that a good reader can make an average book good, and a bad reader can make a good book average. I hope the list will be useful.

  1. World War Z
    World War Z audio-book.UNABRIDGED
    By Max Brooks, narrated by Chris Ragland, Rupert Farley, Nigel Pilkington, Jennifer Woodward, David Thorpe, Adam Sims, Robert Slade
    The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched firsthand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living – or at least the undead – hell of that dreadful time. World War Z is the result. Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years.
  2. A Game of Thrones (Part One): Book 1 of A Song of Ice and Fire
    A Game of Thrones audio book.UNABRIDGED
    By George R. R. Martin, narrated by Roy Dotrice
    This first volume in the hugely popular and highly acclaimed epic fantasy series A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE is unabridged and split into two parts. Now a major Sky Atlantic TV series from HBO, starring Sean Bean. Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun. It will stretch from the south, where heat breeds plot, lusts and intrigues; to the vast and savage eastern lands; all the way to the frozen north, where an 800-foot wall of ice protects the kingdom from the dark forces that lie beyond. Kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars, lords and honest men… all will play the Game of Thrones. Winter is coming…
  3. The Ocean at the End of the Lane
    The Ocean at the End of the Lane audio book.UNABRIDGED
    By Neil Gaiman, narrated by author
    The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a fable that reshapes modern fantasy: moving, terrifying, and elegiac – as pure as a dream, as delicate as a butterfly’s wing, as dangerous as a knife in the dark – from storytelling genius Neil Gaiman. It’s about memory and magic and survival, about the power of stories and the darkness inside each of us. It began for our narrator 40 years ago, when the family lodger stole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Dark creatures from beyond this world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and a menace unleashed – within his family and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it.
  4. A Game of Thrones (Part Two): Book 1 of A Song of Ice and Fire
    UNABRIDGED
    By George R. R. Martin, narrated by Roy Dotrice
  5. A Clash of Kings (Part One): Book 2 of A Song of Ice and Fire
    A Clash of Kings audio book.UNABRIDGED
    By George R. R. Martin, narrated by Roy Dotrice
    The Iron Throne once united the Sunset Lands, but King Robert is dead, his widow is a traitor to his memory, and his surviving brothers are set on a path of war amongst themselves. At King’s Landing, the head of Lord Eddard Stark rots on a spike for all to see. His daughter Sansa is betrothed still to his killer’s son Joffrey – Queen Cersei’s son, though not the son of her late husband Robert. Even so, Joffrey is now a boy-king, Cersei is his regent, and war is inevitable. In Dragonstone, Robert’s brother Stannis has declared himself king, while his other brother Renly proclaims himself king at Storm’s End – and Eddard Stark’s fifteen year old son Robb wears the crown of the north at Winterfell. A comet in the night sky, red and malevolent, the colour of blood and flame, can only be an omen of murder and war. Stannis’s child Princess Shireen dreams of dragons waking from stone. And a white raven has brought word from the Citadel itself, foretelling summer’s end. It has been the longest summer in living memory, lasting ten years, and the small folk say it means an even longer winter to come…The first rule of war is never give the enemy his wish. But winter will be the biggest enemy. From beyond the Wall the undead and Others clamour for freedom, and from beyond the sea the long-dead Dragon King’s daughter hatches her revenge. Robb Stark will be exceedingly lucky to reach adulthood.
  6. A Clash of Kings (Part Two): Book 2 of A Song of Ice and Fire
    UNABRIDGED
    By George R. R. Martin, narrated by Roy Dotrice
  7. A Storm of Swords (Part Two) – Blood and Gold: Book 3 of A Song of Ice and Fire
    Blood and Gold audio book.UNABRIDGED
    By George R. R. Martin, narrated by Roy Dotrice
    The Seven Kingdoms are divided by revolt and blood feud, and winter approaches like an angry beast. Beyond the Northern borders, wildlings leave their villages to gather in the ice and stone wasteland of the Frostfangs. From there, the renegade Brother Mance Rayder will lead them South towards the Wall. The men of the Night’s Watch are ready for the coming of a great cold and the walking corpses that travel with it. But now they face a horde of wildlings twenty-thousand strong – hungry savage people steeped in the dark magic of the haunted wilderness – poised to invade the Kingdom of the North where Robb Stark wears his new-forged crown. But Robb’s defences are ranged against attack from the South, the land of House Stark’s enemies the Lannisters. His sisters are trapped there, dead or likely yet to die, at the whim of the Lannister boy-king Joffrey or his depraved mother Cersei, regent of the Iron Throne. Cersei’s ambition is unfettered while the dwarf Tyrion Lannister fights for his life, a victim of treachery. And on the other side of the ocean, the last of the Targaryens rears the dragons she hatched from her husband’s funeral pyre. Daenerys Stormborn will return to the land of her birth to avenge the murder of her father, the last Dragon King on the Iron Throne.
  8. A Storm of Swords (Part One) – Steel and Snow: Book 3 of A Song of Ice and Fire
    Steel and Snow audio book.UNABRIDGED
    By George R. R. Martin, narrated by Roy Dotrice
    The Seven Kingdoms are divided by revolt and blood feud, and winter approaches like an angry beast. Beyond the Northern borders, wildlings leave their villages to gather in the ice and stone wasteland of the Frostfangs. From there, the renegade Brother Mance Rayder will lead them South towards the Wall. The men of the Night’s Watch are ready for the coming of a great cold and the walking corpses that travel with it. But now they face a horde of wildlings twenty-thousand strong – hungry savage people steeped in the dark magic of the haunted wilderness – poised to invade the Kingdom of the North where Robb Stark wears his new-forged crown. But Robb’s defences are ranged against attack from the South, the land of House Stark’s enemies the Lannisters. His sisters are trapped there, dead or likely yet to die, at the whim of the Lannister boy-king Joffrey or his depraved mother Cersei, regent of the Iron Throne. Cersei’s ambition is unfettered while the dwarf Tyrion Lannister fights for his life, a victim of treachery. And on the other side of the ocean, the last of the Targaryens rears the dragons she hatched from her husband’s funeral pyre. Daenerys Stormborn will return to the land of her birth to avenge the murder of her father, the last Dragon King on the Iron Throne.
  9. A Feast for Crows (Part One): Book 4 of A Song of Ice and Fire
    A Feast for Crows audio book.UNABRIDGED
    By George R. R. Martin, narrated by Roy Dotrice
    The War of the Five Kings has ripped Westeros apart. The bloodthirsty, treacherous and cunning Lannisters occupy the Iron Throne, with allies as ruthless as themselves. Lord Frey was host at the Red Wedding, so called for the massacre of the guests, their screams unheard above the music of the feast. Euron Crow’s Eye is as black a pirate as ever raised a sail, sworn to deliver the whole of Westeros to the ironborn.No less to be feared are their enemies. The Starks of Winterfell and the Martells of Dorne seek vengeance for their dead. And the last of the Targaryens, Daenerys Stormborn, will bring fire and blood to King’s Landing when her young dragons reach their terrifying maturity. The last war fought with dragons was a cataclysm powerful enough to shatter the Valyrian peninsula, now a smoking, demon-haunted ruin half drowned by the sea.Against a backdrop of alchemy and murder, victory may go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel … and the coldest hearts.
  10. American Gods
    American Gods audio book.UNABRIDGED
    By Neil Gaiman, narrated by Neil Gaiman, George Guidall
    After three years in prison, Shadow has done his time. But as the days, then the hours, then the seconds until his release tick away, he can feel a storm building. Two days before he gets out, his wife Laura dies in a mysterious car crash, in apparently adulterous circumstances. Dazed, Shadow travels home, only to encounter the bizarre Mr. Wednesday, claiming to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god, and the king of America. Together they embark on a very strange journey across the States, along the way solving the murders which have occurred every winter in one small American town. But they are being pursued by someone with whom Shadow must make his peace…. Disturbing, gripping, and profoundly strange, Neil Gaiman’s epic new novel sees him on the road to finding the soul of America.

One thought on “Top 10 fantasy audio-book downloads (July 2013)”

  1. I’m pleased to see Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane doing well. It’s a beautiful short story that perfectly captures the main characters childhood memories. Recommended.

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