Free Friday: Today’s top free Amazon sci-fi and fantasy books for April 12, 2024

Reading Time: 12 minutes
Free Friday: Today’s top free Amazon sci-fi and fantasy books for April 12, 2024

Did you know that Amazon has a list of the top-selling and free sci-fi and fantasy books? The list changes constantly — authors and publishers set their books to free temporarily to promote their work, and, of course, books move up and down in the rankings. Read on to find your fun free read for this weekend! And grab the books quickly because they don’t always stay free for long.

This week’s list is completely different from those of the previous weeks. So if you’re a fan of free books, there are going to be new things to read all the time. If you want to get this list in your inbox every Friday afternoon, subscribe to the MetaStellar weekly newsletter.

There are a lot of books to go through, so this week I’m being helped out by a couple of other members of our MetaStellar community. If you’d like to join me in doing these reviews — and taping our regular Free Friday videos — email me at [email protected].

5. The Faders Trilogy by E. G. Bateman

This is a complete box set of The Faders Trilogy, a young adult urban fantasy series. This is the author’s first time on our Free Friday list.

From Maria Korolov:

Jenna is nearly 16, and a normal teenager except for the fact that people are watching her. When she looks around and catches them at it, they pretend they’d been looking at something else all along and wander off.

Her dad was on the verge of taking her to see someone when she finally stopped telling people about it.

We learn all this because she’s writing about it in her diary when the book opens. And yes, she should definitely see someone about her paranoia. Or, at least, enlist someone to be a second pair of eyes for her so she’d at least know if she was imagining things.

I’m all about mental health these days.

But, since this is a sci-fi or fantasy book, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that she isn’t imagining it, people are actually watching her, and it’s because she’s a long-lost princess of faerie or something. I don’t know yet — I haven’t read the book’s description or even looked closely at the cover.

After writing in her diary, Jenna heads off to enjoy the start of summer vacation with her best friend Gill. They meet up at a café that also sells art and vinyl records. Gill brought a pack of tarot cars, so they read each others’ fortunes.

Jenna finds out that she’ll achieve her heart’s desire — maybe finally figure out why people are watching her. But also, that she would marry a hunchbacked elf, and Gill was going to become the bearded lady in a traveling circus and give birth to a monkey.

Should I believe that? I mean, this is a spec fic book — all of those things could come true! To be honest, I’ll feel a little let down if they don’t.

Jenna’s dad joins the two of them in the café and then Jenna gets that prickly feeling that someone is watching her again. This time, when she turns around, she catches the person staring at her. And it’s a cute boy just a little older than she is. He winks at her, she blushes, and her dad asks if she’s okay and whether she’s taken her pill this morning.

So maybe her dad did take her to a therapist and she’s on anti-anxiety meds? There’s nothing wrong with getting help if your brain chemistry goes wonky. Mental health is important, folks.

Nope, she’s not on anti-anxiety medication. It’s an iron pill for her anemia, and she ran out two days ago. She had to go to a supermarket and buy some random brand instead the one she normally had.

After the cafe, the three of them go to a bookstore, where the two girls find a dirty book. They take turns reading it while the other stands guard. They put the dirty book inside a Harry Potter for camouflage, but Jessa actually reads the Harry Potter. Then the boy from the café appears behind her and makes fun of her for her reading tastes. She blushes again, and the boy goes away.

Then Gill wants her turn with the dirty book while Jenna stands lookout. After a few minutes, she starts feeling hot and hears a buzzing in her ears, so she goes outside for some fresh air. She starts to pass out, and the boy catches her before she falls. But instead of taking her to the nearest bench to sit down, he starts dragging her towards a back fence.

She struggles, falls to the ground, and then she feels like her brain has exploded. There was a loud bang, electronic wails, wind. She’s also having trouble seeing — it looks like the world lost its colors. Then the boy disappears into a cloud of yellow mist.

Her dad comes out, helps her up, they go back to their hotel, and she confesses that the ran out of pills and bought replacements. Her dad says that they have to pack and go home. Right away.

So that’s the beginning of the book. I don’t usually like young adult stories — young people these days just annoy me — but I’m caught up in this one. The mystery grabbed me, and I like the banter between Jenna and her friend. I might stick with it this weekend.

Get the Kindle ebook box set free from Amazon here.

4. The Fire in the Glass by Jacquelyn Benson

This is the first of four books in The London Charismatics gothic historical fantasy series. The other books are $5.99 to $6.99 each and are not in Kindle Unlimited. This is the author’s first time on our Free Friday list.

From E.S. Foster:

The story begins in 1914, with Lilith Albright, or Lily, racing through the English countryside on her motorcycle. She’s trying to escape from something, though we have no clue what it is. We only learn that the threat takes place in the future, and Lily hasn’t yet discovered a way to stop it.

The scene then shifts to Lily in front of her bathroom mirror. As she stands there, the world around her changes. She has a vision of the outside of an apartment in the middle of a blizzard. Against her will, she’s swept inside and upstairs to her friend Estelle’s room. She witnesses frightening visions such as a green dog, because she’s clearly had to deal with visions like these for a long time. But when Lily is dragged to Estelle sitting by her vanity, she sees a mysterious shadow leap out of the closet and stab Estelle with a long silver knife and drag her away.

Lily’s vision then shifts to some kind of underground lab, where she sees Estelle strapped to a table, bleeding, and pointing to the shadows, where she mutters the word “Alukah.”

We return to Lily on her motorcycle, driving as fast as she can over the heath. She desperately tries to figure out a way to stop this vision from coming true. But some exposition reveals that, no matter what she does, these visions seem inevitable. As she frantically tries to get to Estelle to warn her, she crashes her motorcycle. Fortunately, a strange man appears on his horse to help her. This character actually appears nice, given his insistence on making sure Lily is fine and taking her to a nearby cottage to receive stitches. However, Lily recognizes his name, Lord Strangford, and she’s put off by it.

It’s when she’s receiving stitches from the woman at the cottage that she sees a newspaper headline titled “Spiritualist Vampire Claims Another Victim,” and Lily’s memories of Estelle’s impending death return. She starts to believe that this killer stalking the streets has something to do with her visions, and she decides to do everything she can to keep them from killing her friend, or anyone else.

I was immediately invested in all of the different parts of this story—the killer in the London streets, the occult, the eugenics movement. All of it put together felt fresh, mysterious, and engaging, and the first chapter started luring me in the more I read. I also enjoyed the characters, especially Lily’s determination to help others despite there being no payoff, and how Lord Strangford actually felt like a nice guy compared to a lot of obvious love interests.

If you love mystery, historical fiction, and the occult, I would definitely check this out! I, for one, plan on getting ahead with the story to figure out what happens.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

3. Fates Divided by J. Barnard

This is the second of four books in the Halven Rising paranormal romance series — but it’s the first book by publication date. The other books are $3.99 to $6.99 each and are not in Kindle Unlimited. This is the author’s first time on our Free Friday list.

From Maria Korolov:

Elena is a college student. We meet her as she runs into an off-campus apartment she shares with a roommate. She fills a pot with water, puts it on the counter, stares at it, thinks about how water gets hot — and the water started boiling. Same thing that happened in chemistry class earlier that day.

She decides she needs to get back to a lab and run more experiments. Everything is closed now, but she’s anxious to figure out what’s going on, even though her roommate wants her to go out, instead, to celebrate her 18th birthday. Also, the roommate scored some fake IDs. Instead, she asks her neighbor, a cute chemistry major, if he knew of a lab she could use after hours. He offers his mentor’s lab, since the mentor is out of town. But he demands that he go with her. She’s not happy about that — she’d rather not have witnesses.

So they go there together, and the lab is very cool. We also find out that the chem major, Derek, is some kind of genius with near photographic memory, which is why he has access to this lab as an undergrad.

Then we switch to Derek’s point of view, and he also things that Elena is hot. He’s noticed her months ago.

While Elena experiments, he sits and tries to study, but then Elena makes something explode. He makes her get under a decontamination shower, even though she insists that the stuff that exploded wasn’t anything dangerous. Still, it exploded, so he’s not taking any chances. He makes her take off her shirt so that they can get off the stuff that dripped down her neck.

There’s a lot of sexual tension in that shower.

Then he kicks her out of the lab. He doesn’t want to lose his lab privileges and she did just blow something up. He offers to walk her home, to make sure she’s safe. She’s angry and walks off without him.

But he follows her, anyway. Because, ever since Derek turned 18, he’s been able to turn invisible. Or well, do something that made people not able to see him.

So that’s the premise of the book. There’s a little bit too much teenage drama here for me to stick with it, but other than that, it’s readable, and does pull you in. If you’re a fan of drama — and, really, aside from me, who isn’t? — you might enjoy this book.

From Lilivette Domínguez-Torres:

Elena just turned eighteen and her life has started to change. Why? Because, suddenly, she can make water boil with just a movement of her hands. And things only get worse the moment she meets her brilliant and gorgeous neighbor Dereck.

Everything started the moment she turned eighteen, so we all know this is a supernatural coming of age story. And at this point of my life I’m not a fan of these types of coming of age stories.

I didn’t really like the writing, didn’t really like our main character or the way forced proximity comes into play right after the two main characters meet. This just wasn’t my kind of book and I definitely won’t be moving on with it.

Yet if you’re a fan of fae, the supernatural, and elemental magic, then you might want to check this romance out.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

2. Wraithwood by Tarah Benner

This is the first of three books in The Wraithwood Trilogy fantasy adventure series. The other books are $4.99 each and are both in Kindle Unlimited. This is the author’s first time on our Free Friday list.

From Kristin Noland:

Though Brinnie’s mother has never even mentioned she has a brother, she sends her teenage daughter off to Uncle Merlin’s house. Brinnie arrives at Wraithwood Mansion with only a few clothes and no idea what she’s in for.

The sprawling house has no electricity or running water, save for a small building outside for washing. On her first night in the dark mansion, she hears footsteps outside her bedroom door. She opens the door, and with a flash of lightning, she sees a man dressed in an overcoat and boots treading the hallway. Alone and frightened, she returns to bed.

The next morning, she meets the Wraithwood staff. While most of them are nice to her, they are very secretive. No one knows, or at least isn’t telling her, what her uncle does for a living. The housekeeper takes her for a tour of the mansion, specifically pointing out the rooms she must not go into because they aren’t safe.

Brinnie finally meets Uncle Merlin, but he’s not what she expected. He seems nice enough, yet she gets an odd feeling about him, especially when he seems to move without actually moving. One second, he’s in front of her; the next, he’s behind her. This happens again when they are at church. Brinnie hides in the bathroom at the church and overhears people talking about her and her uncle. They think she is a witch and hint that Uncle Merlin may have killed his parents.

Dark mysteries and secrets are abundant at Wraithwood, and young Brinnie is stuck there for the whole summer.

This book has me excited! As a mystery fan, I’m loving it so far. Everyone wants to know a secret, and I’m intrigued as to what the secrets Wraithwood, Uncle Merlin, and Brinnie’s mother are keeping hidden from everyone.

It’s well written and fast-paced. Fans of YA mysteries will love this book.

This book too good for my TBR list. I’ll be reading it now!

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

1. The Upgrade by Wesley Cross

This is a box set of all six books in The Upgrade cyberpunk science fiction series. The books are normally $4.99 each and are all in Kindle Unlimited. This is the author’s first time on our Free Friday list.

From Terri Wells:

In the prologue, we meet Travis Smith, a formerly up-and-coming boxer who went to prison for ten years ago because three armed assailants attacked him and he, unarmed, killed two of them in self-defense. He fell in with bad company in prison; now out for two years, he’s doing some mugging on the side. Only this mugging, against a very rich man with military bearing, doesn’t go as planned. The victim’s reactions seem inhuman. Before losing consciousness, Travis notices the man is wearing a pin with three stars in a straight line.

In chapter one, we meet Jason and Rachel Hunt, an accountant and scientist, who live in Florida and own a duplex in New York. Rachel has received a job offer from Guardian Manufacturing. The owner at the helm of this pharmaceutical company is worth more than three billion dollars and fits the “playboy billionaire” stereotype, but seeing the man’s picture on the cover of a magazine, Jason thinks the man has the eyes of a shark: a hard, cold-blooded killer with no sense of humor.

A courier shows up with several binders covering the agreement between Rachel and Guardian, including multiple non-disclosure and security documents. Rachel’s salary will be amazing, and she’s excited about the work she’ll be doing with prosthetics that will be better than healthy limbs. The only fly in the ointment they can see at this point is that they’ll have to move back to their New York apartment so Rachel can work in Guardian’s Brooklyn lab.

Rachel and Jason have an engaging discussion about technology trickling down to the masses and whether people would want to replace healthy limbs with prosthetics, even if the prosthetics are superior. They don’t pay much heed to the two large men in off-the-rack suits that enter the restaurant and appear to be watching them.

Flying back to New York, Rachel and Jason notice a suited but creepy man tailing her, but he goes away as they leave the airport. The couple grab a cab, which the author alternates between calling a town car and a limousine, with a cheerful driver who we learn has served active duty in the military and just came back home two months ago. Good thing, too, since someone starts shooting at them! It’s quite a chase scene, but the cabbie manages to lose them. He pries one of the bullets out of the car and identifies it as a military grade bullet typically used by Special Forces.

If that’s not enough to get you intrigued about what’s going on, this book clearly isn’t for you. Nearly all the characters I’ve read so far seem well fleshed out, including the limousine driver, who I have reason to believe we’ll meet again. Jason and Rachel have a good marriage; they tease each other during dinner about their different points of view, but Jason clearly supports his wife’s decision even though it means a move and he might need to find another job.

Will I stick with it? Very probably, though not right away; this kind of story has a way of sucking me in. The book’s description on Amazon hints that things will get much more desperate for Jason.

If you’re into action, mystery, corporate intrigue, and a one-man fight against a cabal of the rich, this might be the book series for you.

Get the Kindle ebook box set free from Amazon here.

See all the Free Friday posts here. Do you have other free books for us to check out? Comment below or email me at [email protected].

Have you read any of these books? Are you planning to? Let us know in the comments!

Or watch Terri, Emma and Maria discuss all five books in the video below:

Kristin Noland is a developmental and line editor who works with women authors of speculative and crime fiction. At Noland Editing, she expertly guides authors through the writing and editing process to strengthen their storytelling skills, so their readers are entertained and immersed in their stories from cover to cover. With over seventy manuscripts edited, including two bestsellers, and her caring and encouraging editing style, she helps her clients create captivating novels. Follow her on YouTube at @KristinNoland.

E. S. Foster is a writer and graduate student at the University of Cambridge. Her work has been featured in a variety of literary journals and small presses. You can find out more about her and what she does at her blog, E. S. Foster.

Terri Wells (she/her) has been writing stories ever since she could hold a pencil, and editing written work of all kinds for nearly half her life. When not editing, she can be found eyeballs-deep exploring other worlds, or elbows-deep in her latest fibery project.

MetaStellar editor and publisher Maria Korolov is a science fiction novelist, writing stories set in a future virtual world. And, during the day, she is an award-winning freelance technology journalist who covers artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and enterprise virtual reality. See her Amazon author page here and follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, and check out her latest videos on the Maria Korolov YouTube channel. Email her at [email protected]. She is also the editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business, one of the top global sites covering virtual reality.

Lilivette Domínguez-Torres is MetaStellar's marketing assistant and an aspiring book editor based in Puerto Rico. You can find her talking about fantasy books or K-dramas on Twitter at @lilivettedt.

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