There’s something particularly engrossing about a well-narrated audiobook. When you get that perfect combination of narrator and story, it can be magical. The only thing that’s arguably better is when a novel gets the full-cast treatment. It doesn’t happen that often, but when you listen to your first audiobook with a full cast, it feels like a genuine game changer. The interplay of the different voices and the rhythm of the dialogue can put a whole new spin on even the most well-loved novel. Here are a few of what we consider the best audiobooks with a full cast.
Read by Fred Berman, Anne Bobby, Dennis Boutsikaris, Tim Cain, Richard Ferrone, Adam Grupper, and more
This is one of the full-cast audiobooks against which all others are invariably measured. It’s just that good. From Ron McLarty’s pitch-perfect Odin to Daniel Oreske’s beleaguered Shadow Moon, everything – and every voice – just clicks into place. It certainly doesn’t hurt that this is also Neil Gaiman’s preferred version of the novel and features sections he was forced to edit out on the initial publication. This tale of an ex-con caught up in a struggle between gods of the old and new World is a must read/listen.
Read by Cassandra Campbell, Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, Adenrele Ojo, Lorna Raver, and many more
George Saunders’s long-awaited first novel certainly didn’t disappoint. Thankfully neither does the audiobook – which we’re quickly counting as one of the best audiobooks with a full cast of all time. Voiced by an absurdly expansive cast that includes the likes of Nick Offerman, Julianne Moore, and Don Cheadle, this recording, much like the novel, is a surreal examination of grief and loss that just needs to be experienced.
Read by Andy Secombe, Eric Meyers, Laurel Lefkow, Charlie Anson, Liza Ross, William Hope, Christoper Ragland, Katharine Mangold, and Adna Sablyich
Given the narrative structure of Sleeping Giants, it’s a perfect candidate for the full-cast audiobook. Told through a series of interviews, journal entries, newspaper articles, etc., the use of multiple readers truly brings the story to life. Sleeping Giants is a beguiling piece of speculative fiction centering around the push to understand the discovery of a giant metal hand beneath the earth. Hearing multiple narrators give a voice to the deepening mystery lifts the story in some fascinating ways.
Read by Philip Pullman, Joanna Wyatt, Alison Dowling, Seán Barrett, and Stephen Thorne
For this one, you should really just check out the whole trilogy – the entire thing is fully cast and utterly captivating. Philip Pullman himself stands in as the narrator alongside a cast of veteran London stage actors who do a stunning job of bringing the characters to life. If you haven’t yet been introduced to story of Lyra Belacqua, Will Parry, and their journeys through a series of parallel universes, this is the perfect entry point.
Read by Jay Snyder, Brandon Rubin, Fred Berman, Lauren Fortgang, Roger Clark, Elizabeth Evans, and Tristan Morris
With its eclectic cast of vagabonds and thieves, it only makes sense for Six of Crows to get the full-cast treatment. Each of the characters – and their complex, sometimes interlocking motivations – really benefit from the talented voice cast that make the narrative jump of the page. It’s one part-fantasy, one part heist novel, and all thrills. This one is another must-listen.
An Oral History of the Zombie War
Read by Max Brooks, Steve Park, Frank Kamai, Nathan Fillion, Paul Sorvino, Ade M’Cormack, Carl Reiner, and Waleed Zuaiter
Given that World War Z is a sort of modern epistolary novel describing a zombie pandemic through a series of interviews with an agent of the United Nations, it just makes sense as a fully-cast audiobook. The inclusion of multiple narrators makes the interviews crackle and adds to the already breathless pace of the narrative. Also, Mark Hamill is in the cast and I really shouldn’t need to say anymore than that.
Read by Sarah Scott, Natasha Soudek, Susan Hanfield, Mike Chamberlain, and more
This novel is bizarre, hilarious, and thrilling. Thankfully, the audiobook is as well, due in large part to the full-cast recording. It’s the story of an organization of super-powered female assassins under attack by a group of defectors. Hearing the razor-sharp interplay of the characters really just makes the whole thing sing.
Read by Laura Aikman, Imogen Church, Daniel Weyman, Rachel Bavidge, Sophie Aldred, amd more
Into the Water is as addictive and twist-laden as you’d expect from the author of The Girl of the Train. Giving a great thriller the full-cast treatment carries the chilling suspense and secrets to a different level. The interplay of characters and the rhythm of dialogue is pitch perfect for this page-turning tale about the fallout that occurs when a single mother is found dead at the bottom of a river where a teenage girl drowned earlier in the summer. Be prepared for a marathon listening session.