11 Best New Fantasy Audiobooks Released in 2020 

Looking back on 2020, what amazing new fantasy stories did this year bring us? Well, if you’re curious, look no further, because this post has a list of captivating audiobooks just for you.

Here are 11 exciting new fantasy audiobooks released in 2020:

I’ve included audiobook descriptions, readers’ ratings and summaries of positive and negative comments for each audiobook below. If you’d prefer a quick summary, here’s a comparison chart.

The Girl and the Stars by Mark Lawrence


In the ice, east of the Black Rock, there is a hole into which broken children are thrown.

On Abeth the vastness of the ice holds no room for individuals. Survival together is barely possible. No one survives alone.

To resist the cold, to endure the months of night when even the air itself begins to freeze, requires a special breed. Variation is dangerous, difference is fatal. And Yaz is not the same.

Yaz is torn from the only life she’s ever known, away from her family, from the boy she thought she would spend her days with, and has to carve out a new path for herself in a world whose existence she never suspected. A world full of difference and mystery and danger.

Yaz learns that Abeth is older and stranger than she had ever imagined. She learns that her weaknesses are another kind of strength. And she learns to challenge the cruel arithmetic of survival that has always governed her people.

Only when it’s darkest you can see the stars.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.92

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

First on our list of new fantasy audiobooks released in 2020 is The Girl and the Stars. This fast-paced, action-packed novel seized fans’ attention with its survival thriller plot, vivid world-building and likable protagonist, Yaz.

These readers often praised the character cast overall, saying that it was populated with many fascinating and distinct characters. However, several highlighted Yaz in particular. While powerful, she came across as relatable and easy to sympathize with.

Aside from that, readers enthused over the world in The Girl and the Stars. The cultures, politics, aesthetics and more made this an atmospheric and imaginative setting, one that was easy to get absorbed into.

Negative Comments

What did critics say about The Girl and the Stars?

In general, these readers said that several of the story elements and characters were familiar Young Adult Fantasy ones. Other readers said that the world and magic system were complex, which confused them at times.

Shielded by KayLynn Flanders


The kingdom of Hálendi is in trouble. It’s losing the war at its borders, and rumors of a new, deadlier threat on the horizon have surfaced.

Princess Jennesara knows her skills on the battlefield would make her an asset and wants to help, but her father has other plans.

As the second-born heir to the throne, Jenna lacks the firstborn’s – her brother’s – magical abilities, so the king promises her hand in marriage to the prince of neighboring Turia in exchange for resources Hálendi needs. Jenna must leave behind everything she has ever known if she is to give her people a chance at peace.

Only, on the journey to reach her betrothed and new home, the royal caravan is ambushed, and Jenna realizes the rumors were wrong – the new threat is worse than anyone imagined.

Now Jenna must decide if revealing a dangerous secret is worth the cost before it’s too late – for her and for her entire kingdom.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.95

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Second on our list of new fantasy audiobooks released in 2020 is Shielded. Fans praised this novel for its lightning-fast pace and easy-to-love characters. The audiobook kept them locked to its pages thanks to its ever-building suspense and a thrilling, action-packed plot.

Moreover, Jennesara won them over with her bravery and fierceness. A blend of a bookworm and a warrior, she impressed them with her strength – both inside and out – as well as her vulnerable side. Overall, she struck them as sympathetic and believable, and fans were rooting for her throughout Shielded.

Negative Comments

If readers didn’t enjoy Shielded, what did they say? Overall, critics had one of two reasons. The first was that the story struck them as simplistic, with plot and character tropes presented in a straightforward manner. The second was that Jenna had moments where she came across as selfish or spoiled.

The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu


Born with a gift for music, Nannerl Mozart has just one wish: to be remembered forever. But even as she delights audiences with her masterful playing, she has little hope she’ll ever become the acclaimed composer she longs to be. She is a young woman in eighteenth-century Europe, and that means composing is forbidden to her. She will perform only until she reaches a marriageable age — her tyrannical father has made that much clear.

As Nannerl’s hope grows dimmer with each passing year, the talents of her beloved younger brother, Wolfgang, only seem to shine brighter. His brilliance begins to eclipse her own, until one day a mysterious stranger from a magical land appears with an irresistible offer. He has the power to make her wish come true — but his help may cost her everything.

In her first work of historical fiction, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu spins a lush, lyrically told story of music, magic, and the unbreakable bond between a brother and sister. 

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.73

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of new fantasy audiobooks released in 2020 is The Kingdom of Back

This novel blends Fantasy and Historical fiction, something that delighted fans. Many described it as a beautiful melding of both genres, one that was unique and full of atmosphere, both magical and historical. Fans were easily absorbed into The Kingdom of Back‘s world. 

Along with that, they also connected deeply with Nannerl. Fans described her as immensely easy to empathize with: fighting for recognition in a world set again her, she struck them as very human.

Moreover, they often said that her mixture of love and rivalry with Wolfgang was sweet and heartwarming. 

Negative Comments

If readers didn’t enjoy The Kingdom of Back, what did they say? In general, critics had two reasons.

The first had to do with the story’s genre. Those who preferred it be more Historical were bothered by the Fantasy elements, while whose who preferred the Fantasy genre thought it wasn’t fantastical enough.

Apart from that, some described the plot as episodic rather than growing organically. Critics thought that this made it seem like the story was more a series of events rather than building in a clear direction.

All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace


Set in a kingdom where danger lurks beneath the sea, mermaids seek vengeance with song, and magic is a choice.

She will reign.

As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer — the master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but for Amora, it’s never been a choice. To secure her place as heir to the throne, she must prove her mastery of the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic.

When her demonstration goes awry, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule, if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic.

But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder — and more peril — than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stow-away she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever.

I am the right choice. The only choice. And I will protect my kingdom.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating3.74

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Fourth on our list of new fantasy audiobooks released in 2020 is All the Stars and Teeth. This thrilling oceanic adventure captivated fans, many of whom were pirate-lovers, with its excitement and likeable characters.

Featuring an epic, sea-faring tale, this story impressed its readers with how immersive it was. Several described it as breathing new life into the traditional pirate story and vividly transporting them into the Heel Haul, the pirate ship.

In particular, fans mentioned that the entire cast delighted them. Not only did they connect with the characters, but the bond between the crew was one of the highlights of the story.

Amora, the protagonist, also won their praise for her relatability and determination. Fans said it was a treat to follow this fiery lead as she fought to save her kingdom.

Negative Comments

What did critics say? In general, these readers had two reasons for disliking the story.

The first was that they felt the beginning was slow-paced because of the descriptions and world-building.

The second was that they didn’t thought that Amora, the protagonist, was unlikeable. These critics said she came across as spoiled or selfish, and it made it difficult for them to get invested in what happened to her. 

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik


Lesson One of the Scholomance: Learning has never been this deadly.

A Deadly Education is set at Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death (for real) — until one girl, El, begins to unlock its many secrets.

There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships, save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won’t allow its students to leave until they graduate…or die!

The rules are deceptively simple: Don’t walk the halls alone. And beware of the monsters who lurk everywhere.

El is uniquely prepared for the school’s dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school. The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students. 

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.23

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Next our list of new fantasy audiobooks released in 2020 is A Deadly Education. This novel enthralled fans with its fantastic characters and its rich world-building.

These readers described the entire character cast as likeable in their own ways. For instance, some entertained them with their wit, others with their nobility.

In particular though, fans praised El, saying she was a smart, tough protagonist. She had a chip on her shoulder, but her reasons for it stirred their sympathy.

As for the world-building, fans were delighted with how the world fleshed out, deepened and gained nuance with each page. It kept becoming more fascinating, completely transporting these readers into A Deadly Education’s world.

Negative Comments

No story is without its critics, including A Deadly Education. If readers disliked this audiobook, what did they say?

For the most part, critics said it featured heavy exposition. While this information provided world-building, these readers thought it came across as tangential.

The Lost City by Amanda Hocking


Nestled along the bluffs of the forested coast lays the secret kingdom of the Omte—a realm filled with wonder…and as many secrets. 

Ulla Tulin was left abandoned in an isolated Kanin city as a baby, taken in by strangers and raised hidden away like many of the trolls of mixed blood. Even knowing this truth, she’s never stopped wondering about her family.

When Ulla is offered an internship working alongside the handsome Pan Soriano at the Mimirin, a prestigious institution, she jumps at the chance to use this opportunity to hopefully find her parents. All she wants is to focus on her job and the search for her parents, but all of her attempts to find them are blocked when she learns her mother may be connected to the Omte royal family.

With little progress made, Ulla and Pan soon find themselves wrapped up in helping Eliana, an amnestic girl with abilities unlike any they have ever seen before — a girl who seems to be running from something. To figure out who she is they must leave the city, and possibly, along the way, they may learn more about Ulla’s parents. 

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.78

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of new fantasy audiobooks released in 2020 is The Lost City. This coming of age story enchanted readers with its sympathetic protagonist, Ulla, as well as its vivid world.

While many fans praised the entire character cast, they especially highlighted Ulla. Her past as an abandoned child and quest to find her true identity made her someone they immediately connected with and cheered on. Moreover, seeing her grow from uncertain and insecure to a more confident young woman touched their hearts.

In addition, fans also praised the world, describing it as immersive and rich with history. Whether it was due to the troll tribes, the different magical creatures, the settings or something else, these readers were captivated.

Negative Comments

What did The Lost City‘s critics think?

In general, these readers tended to say that the story’s plot seemed thin, giving them the impression that the story was primarily as a setup for a sequel.

Others, though, said that the characters’ different personalities didn’t come across strongly enough. As a result, they thought the cast seemed indistinguishable from one another.

A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians by H. G. Parry


A sweeping tale of revolution and wonder in a world not quite like our own, A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians is a genre-defying story of magic, war, and the struggle for freedom in the early modern world.

It is the Age of Enlightenment – of new and magical political movements, from the necromancer Robespierre calling for revolution in France to the weather mage Toussaint L’Ouverture leading the slaves of Haiti in their fight for freedom, to the bold new Prime Minister William Pitt weighing the legalization of magic amongst commoners in Britain and abolition throughout its colonies overseas.

But amidst all of the upheaval of the early modern world, there is an unknown force inciting all of human civilization into violent conflict. And it will require the combined efforts of revolutionaries, magicians, and abolitionists to unmask this hidden enemy before the whole world falls to darkness and chaos.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.90

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Next on our list of new fantasy audiobooks released in 2020 is A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians. Blending historical fiction and fantasy, this novel dazzled fans with its intriguing blend of story elements as well as its rich, thematically gripping world.

These readers described A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians as packed with everything they enjoyed about fantasy and historical fiction. For some, this involved magical creatures or character types, such as vampires, necromancers and mages. For others, the story’s reimagining of the French Revolution and the abolition of the slave trade in the British Empire, were the aspects that captured their imaginations the most. 

Overall, they described it as an epic, sweeping tale with all the wonder of fantasy and all the gravity and complexity of historical fiction.

Negative Comments

No story is without its critics, including A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians. What did they say?

Overall, these readers focused on two aspects. The first was the story’s pace, which they characterized as slow. The second was that they thought the blend of fantasy elements with historical ones diminished the seriousness of real life events.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab


A life no one will remember. A story you will never forget.

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.27

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of new fantasy audiobooks released in 2020 is The Invisible Life of Addie LaRueThis evocative novel captivated fans with its lush prose, immersive atmosphere, and character-drive story. These readers praised the story for how the writing style drew them in, giving them a comforting, mesmerizing literary fantasy experience.

Negative Comments

No story is without its critics, including The Invisible Life of Addie LaRueWhat did they say?

For the most part, these readers said that they thought the plot didn’t impart a sense of momentum or that they found Addie unlikeable.

In the first case, they said that the slow-burn plot meandered, rather than worked toward a clear goal or moved in a clear direction. In the second case, critics described Addie as self-centered or jarringly disinterested or uninvolved in the extraordinary historical events she lived through. For example: World War II, emmancipation, civil rights, and more. because of this, they found it difficult to connect with her.

The Obsidian Tower by Melissa Caruso


The mage-marked granddaughter of a ruler of Vaskandar, Ryx was destined for power and prestige at the top of Vaskandran society. But her magic is broken; all she can do is uncontrollably drain the life from everything she touches, and Vaskandar has no place for a mage with unusable powers.

Then, one night, two terrible accidents befall her: Ryx accidentally kills a visiting dignitary in self-defense, activating a mysterious magical artifact sealed in an ancient tower in the heart of her family’s castle.

Ryx flees, seeking a solution to her deadly magic. She falls in with a group of unlikely magical experts investigating the disturbance in Vaskandar — and Ryx realizes that her family is in danger and her domain is at stake. She and her new colleagues must return to the family stronghold to take control of the artifact that everyone wants to claim — before it destroys the world. 

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.97

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Next on our list of new fantasy audiobooks released in 2020 is The Obsidian Tower. This suspenseful character-driven novel gripped fans with its captivating world-building and likeable characters.

Readers enthused over The Obsidian Tower’s world, impressed by how unique it was. Moreover, different facets and nuances made it feel both magical and immersive. Whether it was the castles, the politics, lore or magic, fans felt as if they could live and breathe in the world.

On top of that, they often described the characters as entertaining. Some fascinated them because of their humor, while others caught their attention with their thoughtfulness or quirkiness. Overall, they praised Ryx and the rest of the cast as great to spend time with.

Negative Comments

If readers didn’t enjoy The Obsidian Tower, what did they say? In general, critics pointed to the story’s pacing or Ryx as their reasons for disliking it.

Those that described the pace as slow suggested this was because the story’s plot centered around political intrigue. Since they expected a more action-packed tale, The Obsidian Tower struck them as uneventful.

As for critics who disliked Ryx, they described her as a passive character without goals of her own. Rather than driving the plot, she seemed dragged through the story by other characters.

Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko


Nothing is more important than loyalty.

But what if you’ve sworn to protect the one you were born to destroy?

Tarisai has always longed for the warmth of a family. She was raised in isolation by a mysterious, often absent mother known only as The Lady. The Lady sends her to the capital of the global empire of Aritsar to compete with other children to be chosen as one of the Crown Prince’s Council of 11.

If she’s picked, she’ll be joined with the other Council members through the Ray, a bond deeper than blood. That closeness is irresistible to Tarisai, who has always wanted to belong somewhere.

But The Lady has other ideas, including a magical wish that Tarisai is compelled to obey: Kill the Crown Prince once she gains his trust.

Tarisai won’t stand by and become someone’s pawn — but is she strong enough to choose a different path for herself?

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.48

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of new fantasy audiobooks released in 2020 is Raybearer. Fans praised this complex, epic-scale novel for its fresh world-building and wonderful characters.

Inspired by West Africans legends, the story’s world struck these readers as creative and multifaceted. Whether it was the magic system, legends, customs or belief systems, Raybearer’s many layers won their praise.

In addition, fans enthused over the characters. While many described Tarisai as a relatable protagonist, they generally remarked that the entire cast was full of complex characters. Both the heroes and villains had virtues and vices, along with complicated loyalties and relationships. Readers were delighted, saying this made it easy to empathize with all of them.

Negative Comments

What did critics say? Overall, these readers tended to say that Raybearer’pacing was uneven, with some places seeming too fast while others lagged.

On the other hand, some critics said that the characters didn’t seem fleshed out.

The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart


In an empire controlled by bone shard magic, Lin, the former heir to the emperor will fight to reclaim her magic and her place on the throne. The Bone Shard Daughter marks the debut of a major new voice in epic fantasy.

The emperor’s reign has lasted for decades, his mastery of bone shard magic powering the animal-like constructs that maintain law and order. But now his rule is failing, and revolution is sweeping across the Empire’s many islands.

Lin is the emperor’s daughter and spends her days trapped in a palace of locked doors and dark secrets. When her father refuses to recognise her as heir to the throne, she vows to prove her worth by mastering the forbidden art of bone shard magic.

Yet such power carries a great cost, and when the revolution reaches the gates of the palace, Lin must decide how far she is willing to go to claim her birthright – and save her people. 

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.31

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Last on our list of new fantasy audiobooks released in 2020 is The Bone Shard Daughter. Fans praised this novel for its refreshing and intriguing mix of story elements, as well as its likeable characters.

These readers said that the story featured multiple points of view, each of which had a captivating character. While this tale was full of plot twists and emotions, the characters kept them glued to The Bone Shard Daughter’s pages. Each had their own distinct personality, moving struggles and authentic relationships. Fans were eager to stay with them through their triumphs and struggles, wanting to find out what would happen.

Negative Comments

What did critics of The Bone Shard Daughter say?

In general, these readers didn’t feel an emotional investment in the characters. Some of them said this was because of the multiple points of view. Since there were several, these readers didn’t feel they had enough time to get to know the cast.

11 Best New Fantasy Audiobooks Released in 2020

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N.S. Mirage

I'm Natalie, an avid fantasy reader here to help readers find exciting, otherworldly books.

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