By Cameron Phillips, Sarunicka Satkuruparan and Nuria Berbel Torres
With summer dwindling and the leaves starting to go brown, we have been preparing for those cosy autumnal listens. We would argue that autumn is the most suitable season for listening to audiobooks, so here are our picks for the coming weeks.
The Lost Bookshop, written by Evie Woods, narrated by Avena Mansergh-Wallace, Olivia Mace and Nick Biadon
Getting in from long copper and orange walks, curling up on the lamp-lit sofa and settling in with a good novel; heaven. The Lost Bookshop is the wonderful tale of Martha, Opaline and Henry, who are put under a spell by a magical bookshop in Dublin. It is wonderfully uplifting and cosy, matched with Avena’s expressive narration. It’s witty, with a lot of heart and a dash of magic. What is so nice about the themes and story of this particular book is that no matter how ordinary your life may seem, there are parts of us that will always be unique and extraordinary. It’s about tapping into those parts of us to fill out our days. Self-discovery is a huge part of humanity, and the three protagonists in Woods’ novel go through it in their own vastly different but somehow intertwined ways. The dual timelines felt a little convoluted at first, but once I was settled into the book it started to click. One brilliant, encapsulating line from the book is that “books help you imagine a life bigger and better than you could ever imagine.” This is so true of the book and reading in general.
Gone Girl, written by Gillian Flynn, narrated by Julia Whelan and Kirby Heyborne
Gone Girl took the world by storm in the years between 2012 and 2014 and its popularity remains. It is a thriller novel by American writer Gillian Flynn and centres around the disappearance of Amy Dunne, the wife of the, now, number one suspect in her disappearance, Nick Dunne. This is the story of a missing wife, a devastated husband and the unravelling of a web of lies that leaves you at the edge of your seat the entire way through. Gripping, twisted and at times, sickening, Gillian does an excellent job at having constant twists and turns, unpredictability and good pacing throughout.
Aside from the fact that this listen is a thriller, getting you perfectly in the mood for Halloween and the spooky season, the engaging nature of this listen and the easy-to-understand way it’s told, makes it an easy-to-binge audiobook for those cosy nights in. The narration is shared by Julia Whelan and Kirby Heyborne who voice Amy and Nick, respectively. The dual perspective always keeps the story interesting, especially in the case of a thriller. Julia and Kirby do a stellar job of embodying the dynamic between the characters and even though we don’t have the visuals, we can sense the mood of the situation clearly from their articulation.
Ultimately, Gone Girl is an atmospheric and eccentric listen that has the potential to evoke visceral feelings. If you can stomach a bit of insanity and sadism, then this might be one worth checking out.
Zodiac Academy, written by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti, narrated by Bridget Bordeaux
This new adult series follows a pair of twins who discover they are heiresses to the throne in a fae world; they must learn to harness their powers and defend their claim to the throne in a ruthless world where there’s no room for weakness. Now, this is technically a fairy tale, but don’t expect a cute story of magic and rainbows. It’s full of cutthroat characters and powerful twists that will get you hooked. However, a word of warning, this series is a big commitment since the audiobooks are long, and additionally, there are three separate novellas to add to your experience. The authors of this series have an incredible talent for creating amazing characters and interactions which will always leave you wanting more. They have also created a very intricate and well-crafted world with an interesting magical system that seems to mix most folktales we know as supernatural beings into various subspecies of fae. While they may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and we thoroughly recommend checking trigger warnings before starting them, they are a great listen if you have been thinking of getting back into audiobooks, are easy to follow along with, and they will make you laugh, cry and love alongside the characters.