Winter is Here! Listens For Fans of ‘Game of Thrones’

While everyone else has spring cleaning and nice weather on the mind, we know what time it actually is…winter is finally here! AKA a new season of Game of Thrones!
I have to admit, I was a little late to the Game of Thrones bandwagon. As in, I wasn’t caught up until half-way through the seventh season airing, but the obsession is still real! Plus, who doesn’t love a good binge-watching session, am I right?

With the debut of the greatly-anticipated eighth and final season of Game of Thrones, we can only assume that you’re all caught up on what’s happened in Westeros thus far. If you’re just not ready to leave the fantasy world behind, don’t fret! We’ve pulled together an incredible book list of listens similar to the epic Game of Thrones series that’ll ease that “end-of-an-era” pain. Click here to view the full Fans of Game of Thrones book list.


The Raven Tower, by Ann Leckie narrated by Adjoa Andoh

A little on the nose with a title like The Raven Tower, and while this listen does have a similar setting complete with an usurper claiming the throne, blood rituals, invaders, and an all-seeing “Raven,” this award-winning and best-selling tale delves into a world where men and gods collide. A great gateway listen for sure!

Publisher’s Summary:
Gods meddle in the fates of men, men play with the fates of gods, and a pretender must be cast down from the throne in this masterful first fantasy novel from Ann Leckie, New York Times bestselling author and winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke Awards.
For centuries, the kingdom of Iraden has been protected by the god known as the Raven. He watches over his territory from atop a tower in the powerful port of Vastai. His will is enacted through the Raven’s Lease, a human ruler chosen by the god himself. His magic is sustained via the blood sacrifice that every Lease must offer. And under the Raven’s watch, the city flourishes.
But the power of the Raven is weakening. A usurper has claimed the throne. The kingdom’s borders are tested by invaders who long for the prosperity that Vastai boasts. And they have made their own alliances with other gods.
It is into this unrest that the warrior Eolo–aide to Mawat, the true Lease–arrives. And in seeking to help Mawat reclaim his city, Eolo discovers that the Raven’s Tower holds a secret. Its foundations conceal a dark history that has been waiting to reveal itself…and to set in motion a chain of events that could destroy Iraden forever.

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The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss narrated by Nick Podehl

In The Name of the Wind you follow orphan, Kvothe, who grows up to be a very powerful wizard. Kvothe’s story reminds me of Jon Snow’s similar yet unlikely rise to power despite his past. This is the first book in The Kingkiller Chronicle, so if you’re looking for another fantastic fantasy series to jump into look no further.

Publisher’s Summary:
My name is Kvothe.
I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
You may have heard of me.
So begins a tale unequaled in fantasy literature—the story of a hero told in his own voice. It is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man’s search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.

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The Fifth Season, by N. K. Jemisin narrated by Robin Miles

Death, betrayal, secret powers, and the end of the world? Sign me up! N. K. Jemisin was the first author to win three consecutive Huge Awards for each novel in this epic fantasy trilogy. Plus, the Fifth Season is currently being adapted into a TV series to be aired on TNT. If you’re transfixed by all of the Lannister’s family secrets, this read will have you hooked.

Publisher’s Summary:
This is the way the world ends…for the last time.
A season of endings has begun.
It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world’s sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun.
It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter.
It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester.
This is the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where the power of the earth is wielded as a weapon. And where there is no mercy.

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Sins of Empire, by Brian McClellan narrated by Christian Rodska

Sins of Empire follows multiple character’s stories and as the novel progresses you get to see how each story is intertwined with one another. The setting of Fatrasta, a magical world in turmoil, is all-too familiar to Game of Thrones buffs.

Publisher’s Summary:
A new epic fantasy series from highly acclaimed fantasy author, Brian McClellan, set in the same world as The Powder Mage trilogy.

A world on the cusp of a new age…
The young nation of Fatrasta is a turbulent place — a frontier destination for criminals, fortune-hunters, brave settlers, and sorcerers seeking relics of the past. Only the iron will of the lady chancellor and her secret police holds the capital city of Landfall together against the unrest of an oppressed population and the machinations of powerful empires.

Sedition is a dangerous word…
The insurrection that threatens Landfall must be purged with guile and force, a task which falls on the shoulders of a spy named Michel Bravis, convicted war hero Mad Ben Styke, and Lady Vlora Flint, a mercenary general with a past as turbulent as Landfall’s present.

The past haunts us all…
As loyalties are tested, revealed, and destroyed, a grim specter as old as time has been unearthed in this wild land, and the people of Landfall will soon discover that rebellion is the least of their worries.

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The Queen of the Tearling, by Erika Johansen narrated by Katherine Kellgren

This exciting debut novel from Erika Johansen sets in motion an intense trilogy that follows the rightful heir to her mother’s throne, princess Kelsea. For Game of Thrones enthusiasts, you’ll be pleased with the politics of ruling a kingdom and the bits of magic peppered throughout this read.

Publisher’s Summary:
Magic, adventure, mystery, and romance combine in this epic debut in which a young princess must reclaim her dead mother’s throne, learn to be a ruler—and defeat the Red Queen, a powerful and malevolent sorceress determined to destroy her.
On her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, raised in exile, sets out on a perilous journey back to the castle of her birth to ascend her rightful throne. Plain and serious, a girl who loves books and learning, Kelsea bears little resemblance to her mother, the vain and frivolous Queen Elyssa. But though she may be inexperienced and sheltered, Kelsea is not defenseless: Around her neck hangs the Tearling sapphire, a jewel of immense magical power; and accompanying her is the Queen’s Guard, a cadre of brave knights led by the enigmatic and dedicated Lazarus. Kelsea will need them all to survive a cabal of enemies who will use every weapon—from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic—to prevent her from wearing the crown.
Despite her royal blood, Kelsea feels like nothing so much as an insecure girl, a child called upon to lead a people and a kingdom about which she knows almost nothing. But what she discovers in the capital will change everything, confronting her with horrors she never imagined. An act of singular daring will throw Kelsea’s kingdom into tumult, unleashing the vengeance of the tyrannical ruler of neighboring Mortmesne: the Red Queen, a sorceress possessed of the darkest magic. Now Kelsea will begin to discover whom among the servants, aristocracy, and her own guard she can trust.
But the quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun—a wondrous journey of self-discovery and a trial by fire that will make her a legend . . . if she can survive.

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Twin Sisters Pen an All-Too-Plausible Dystopian America

Did you know today is National Siblings Day?

National Siblings Day was first recognized in 1998 and celebrated on April 10 every year since. Today we celebrate the strong relationships and unique bonds between siblings, and what better way to do that than honoring siblings who have written a book together?

Today we are featuring a wonderful fantasy audiobook, The Rule of One, written by twin sisters, Ashley Saunders and Leslie Saunders, and narrated by Karissa Vacker. The book started as a screenplay and eventually evolved into a novel, with Leslie, the younger of the pair, writing Mira’s chapters, and Ashley writing Ava’s.

In The Rule of One, identical twins Ava and Mira are secretly and illegally residing in the United States, which has instituted a strict one-child policy. Ava and Mira are trying their best to masquerade as the same person so their secret remains undiscovered. Unfortunately, it only takes a moment for their cover to be blown and their whole world turned upside down. What, exactly, will the twins have to endure to stay safe?

The Saunders sisters are currently developing their book into a TV series with producer Ginger Sledge (Where’d You Go, Bernadette, Miss Congeniality). The sequel to this book, The Rule of Many, is slated for release in the spring of 2019, so make sure to keep an eye out for it!

Publisher Summary:

In their world, telling the truth has become the most dangerous crime of all.

In the near-future United States, a one-child policy is ruthlessly enforced. Everyone follows the Rule of One. But Ava Goodwin, daughter of the head of the Texas Family Planning Division, has a secret—one her mother died to keep and her father has helped to hide for her entire life.
She has an identical twin sister, Mira.

For eighteen years Ava and Mira have lived as one, trading places day after day, maintaining an interchangeable existence down to the most telling detail. But when their charade is exposed, their worst nightmare begins. Now they must leave behind the father they love and fight for their lives.

Branded as traitors, hunted as fugitives, and pushed to discover just how far they’ll go in order to stay alive, Ava and Mira rush headlong into a terrifying unknown.

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STAFF PICK: The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

Title: The Gilded Wolves
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Narrator: 
P. J. OchlanLaurie Catherine Winkel

Paris, 1889. Underneath the façade of this dusty, churning city lies a world lush and ripe with mystery. A powerful secret society by the name of the Order of Babel runs rampant underground, throwing elaborate parties and harboring dangerous secrets.

It is the eve of the Exposition Universelle, and the excitement of the city is at a breaking point. The wonder and ugliness of a distant world over a century old are on display—Claude Debussy gathers inspiration from his first encounter with Javanese gamelan music, and some 400 people make up the main attraction in the “Negro village.” In the midst of this, Roshani Chokshi weaves a tale of pure enchantment, gifting select people with the ability to Forge, a power believed to come from the broken pieces of the Tower of Babel.

Wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie is trying to reclaim his inheritance and position as the patriarch of House Vance, one of the former reigning houses of the Order of Babel. When the Order seeks his help in finding an ancient artifact in exchange for his inheritance, listeners are thrown head first into a fast-paced heist that leads Séverin and his friends to discover some startling secrets.

The audiobook weaves together the stories of six characters: Séverin, a thief and heir to the dead House Vance; Laila, a dancer with a tragic past; Tristan, Séverin’s brother in all but blood; Zofia, a girl with a wicked sense for numbers and science; Enrique, a snarky, lovable history buff; and last but not least, Hypnos, the patriarch of House Nyx. The diversity of the cast in race, orientation, experiences, and perspectives is what truly makes this audiobook shine. Narrators P. J. Ochlan and Laurie Catherine Winkel embody each of the characters so thoroughly that I can’t help but become engrossed in their losses and triumphs. Their laugh-out-loud banter endears me to them, and their quirks and personalities make them feel so complex and real that you can’t help but fall in love with the entire cast.

Around them, 1889 Paris unfolds spectacularly. Chokshi’s lush descriptions lure you into an irresistible and mysterious world that is cocooned in a city on the cusp of transformation. The Gilded Wolves may be a tale of pure fantasy, but it is grounded in reality. Amidst the fast-paced plot and large cast of characters, Chokshi still finds the time to breathe depth into the story by bringing in honest discussions about colonialism, exploitation, and cultural erasure. She doesn’t hesitate to criticize and challenge—in fact, Chokshi aptly uses the post-industrial Parisian setting as an opportunity to deconstruct colonialism. That’s the true mark of a brave and astute writer. If you haven’t listened to Chokshi’s work before, there is no better place to start.

Whether you’re here for the characters, the gorgeous writing, or that one particularly lustful romance that will leave you swooning, The Gilded Wolves is a listen you won’t want to miss. Full of twists and delightful puzzles, this is an enchanting experience that will keep you on your toes until the very end.

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STAFF PICK: Sisters of the Winter Wood

Title: Sisters of the Winter Wood
Author: Rena Rossner
Narrator: Ana Clements

Inspired by Russian lore, Sisters of the Winter Wood is a mix of fairy tale, Ukrainian history, Jewish religion, and coming-of-age that tie together in ways I didn’t expect. Two sisters are left to fend for themselves just as mysterious things start happening in the woods where they live. With the girls facing challenge after challenge, this was one of those story lines that drew me in until it was done.

I was unfamiliar with many of the story’s themes, and that added to my surprise at each twist and turn. I wondered constantly how I might have dealt with their circumstances. When you need to feed yourself, protect yourself, and keep a life-changing secret, which takes priority? Weaved into the struggle is the obligation of sisterly duty; the sisters are opposites, and so are their ideas of the best solution, but they’re determined to protect each other. Rena Rossner separates the sisters even before the story starts by having one read in prose and the other in poetry. As the adventure progressed, I enjoyed listening to the characters balance the line between what their life was, and the fantastical world it became.

Ana Clements’ narration was well-paced and smooth. Her voice was well-suited to a fairy tale and it’s clear in her speaking when the prose and poetry changes with the sisters’ points of view. She was good at transitioning between different accents for different characters, and seamlessly integrated the Jewish words as she read.

This was a lovely tale of fantasy and family that kept my curiosity and imagination churning.

Sisters of the Winter Wood

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The Other Side of the Castle: 6 Fairy Tales as Told by the Villains

For centuries, fairy tales have delighted the young and the old. Passed down through fireside fables and aged storybooks, these stories have been told and retold, yet they continue to captivate readers. As the tales typically go, good triumphs while evil is punished. Yet, nothing is ever what it seems. There are stories untold even in the most classic and familiar tales. Step into the shoes of some of the most infamous villains with these new spins on classic fairy tales.

 

1. All the Ever Afters: The Untold Story of Cinderella’s Stepmother by Danielle Teller, narrated by Jane Copland

As rumors about the cruel upbringing of beautiful newlywed Princess Cinderella roil the kingdom, her stepmother, Agnes, who knows all too well about hardship, privately records the true story. The story of their relationship reveals that nothing is what it seems, that beauty is not always desirable, and that love can take on many guises. Read more and sample the audio.

 

 

 

2. Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust, narrated by Jennifer Ikeda

Frozen meets The Bloody Chamber in this feminist fantasy re-imagining of the Snow White fairy tale.
After the death of her mother, Mina forms a plan: win the king’s heart and become queen. The only catch is that she’ll have to become a stepmother to fifteen-year-old Lynet. Girls Made of Snow and Glass traces the relationship of two young women doomed to be rivals from the start. Read more and sample the audio.

 

 

3. Caroline: Little House, Revisited by Sarah Miller, narrated by Elizabeth Marvel

In this novel authorized by the Little House estate, Sarah Miller vividly recreates the beauty, hardship, and joys of the frontier in a dazzling work of historical fiction, a captivating story that illuminates one courageous, resilient, and loving pioneer woman as never before—Caroline Ingalls, “Ma” in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved Little House books. Read more and sample the audio.

 

 

 

4. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao, narrated by Kim Mai Guest

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns reimagines The Evil Queen legend as a tale of one peasant girl’s quest to become Empress. Growing up in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has seen glimmers of Xifeng’s majestic future. But, in order to achieve greatness, Xifeng must embrace the darkness within her. Read more and sample the audio.

 

 

5. Hiddensee: A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker by Gregory Maguire, narrated by Steven Crossley

Hiddensee recreates the backstory of the Nutcracker, re-imagining how this entrancing creature came to be carved and how it magically guided an ailing little girl named Klara through a dreamy paradise on a snowy Christmas Eve. It also brings to life the mysterious godfather Drosselmeier, the ominous, canny, one-eyed toymaker who presents the Nutcracker to Klara, his goddaughter. Read more and sample the audio.

 

 

6. Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes, narrated by Moira Quirk

Dinah, the future Queen of Wonderland, has not yet seen the dark depths of her kingdom; she longs only for her father’s approval and a future with the boy she loves. But when a betrayal threatens her throne, she is launched into Wonderland’s dangerous political game. Queen of Hearts brings to life the epic origin of Wonderland’s infamous villain. Read more and sample the audio.

 

 

 

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Nebula Award Finalists

The Nebulas, a prestigious science fiction award, has just announced the list of finalists for 2017, and the ballot is out of this world! Take a look at the full list of novels under consideration, with the results to be announced in May. I’ve already devoured all of them, and have no idea how they will ever decide. Give them a listen for yourself here, and feel free to leave your thoughts below!

 

Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly

“Trust no one with anything especially in Amberlough City.”

From author Lara Elena Donnelly, comes a debut spy thriller, Amberlough, where a gay double-agent schemes to protect his smuggler lover during the rise of a fascist government coup

Combining the espionage thrills of le Carré with the allure of an alternate vintage era, Amberlough will thoroughly seduce and enthrall you. Listen to a sample.

 

 

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss

 

“Now it is up to the monsters to finally triumph over the monstrous.”

Based on some of literature’s horror and science fiction classics, this is the story of a remarkable group of women who come together to solve the mystery of a series of gruesome murders–and the bigger mystery of their own origins.

Listen to a sample.

 

 

Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory 

 

“Hilarious, heartfelt and brimming with humanity.” -Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, author of The Nest

Harnessing the imaginative powers that have made him a master storyteller, Daryl Gregory delivers a stunning, laugh-out-loud novel about a family of gifted dreamers and the invisible forces that bind us all.

Listen to a sample.

 

 

The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin

“She has seen the evil of the world, and accepted what her mother will not admit: that sometimes what is corrupt cannot be cleansed, only destroyed.”

The remarkable conclusion to the post-apocalyptic and highly acclaimed trilogy that began with the multi-award-nominated The Fifth Season. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly suggest you drop everything and get on that immediately.

Listen to a sample.

 

 

Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty

 

“It was not common to awaken in a cloning vat streaked with drying blood.”

A space adventure set on a lone ship where the clones of a murdered crew awake with with no memory of how they died, and somehow must find their murderer — before they kill again.

Listen to a sample.

 

 

Jade City by Fonda Lee

“FAMILY IS DUTY. MAGIC IS POWER. HONOR IS EVERYTHING.”

Award-winning author Fonda Lee explodes onto the adult fantasy scene with Jade City , an epic saga reminiscent of The Godfather with magic and kungfu, set in an Asia-inspired fantasy metropolis. Lose yourself in this tale of family, honor, and those who live and die by the ancient laws of jade and blood.

Listen to a sample.

 

Autonomous by Annalee Newitz

From award winning tech-journalist and io9 founder Annalee Newitz comes a highly anticipated science fiction debut, 

Autonomous will pull listeners into a dark and dirty world that feels, at times, a bit too familiar to readers today. And underlying it all is one fundamental question: Is freedom possible in a culture where everything, even people, can be owned?

Listen to a sample.

 

 

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