Free Friday: Today’s top free Amazon sci-fi and fantasy books for Dec. 1, 2023

Reading Time: 9 minutes
Free Friday: Today’s top free Amazon sci-fi and fantasy books for December 1, 2023

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. Deadly Awakening by G.K. Lund

This is the first of four books in The Ashdale Reaper Series of urban fantasy. The other books are $4.99 each, and are not in Kindle Unlimited. This is the author’s first time on our Free Friday list.

From Maria Korolov:

From the cover and description, I’m getting the feeling that this might be a Dresden Files-style urban fantasy. In which case — awesome! I’m a big fan.

Spoiler alert: It’s not like the Dresden Files at all.

The book starts with Ben on a bridge, about to jump off. But he’s not our protagonist. Well, not yet. Kind of.

Our protagonist is Death itself. And, for some reason, Death is drawn to Ben. Besides the obvious reason — that he’s about to jump off a bridge.

And when Ben jumps, Death jumps after him, into his body. Why it did that, it doesn’t know. And when it wakes up, it’s Ben, back from the dead, with everyone very confused around him.

Except Death doesn’t remember anything of Ben’s life. Death tries to leave the body, and can’t. It’s stuck. It’s stuck being Ben, and doesn’t know why or what’s going on.

Ben’s doctor and friends think he’s got amnesia, and death decides not to argue about this. However, the police officer who shows up doesn’t buy it. She’s interested in another dead body — that of a mobster — that was found near where Ben died. Or nearly died. And she thinks that Ben has something to do with it.

Then Ben has the urge to get up and walk around in the hospital where they’re keeping him, trying to figure out his memory loss. He’s drawn to the room of another patient, who immediately dies.

Eventually, he’s allowed to go home. One of his friends takes him back to his apartment — well, to Ben’s apartment — and he starts trying to figure out what’s going on.

I’m seven chapters in and the plot still hasn’t gotten going, and nothing exciting has happened. I do love the premise, though, and think it’s got a lot of potential. Maybe Ben has super powers now that he’s possessed by Death. But, so far, we haven’t seen any evidence of this. All we’ve learned is that the police are frustrated and have no leads, and Ben likes his coffee black and is right-handed.

I might stick with it to see if the pace picks up any. But if you like your urban fantasy slower-paced, check it out.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

4. In Plain Sight by Dan Willis

This is the first of ten books in the Arcane Casebook noir urban fantasy series. The other books are $1.99 to $4.99 each, and are all in Kindle Unlimited. The tenth book is not out yet but is scheduled to be released in April of 2024 and is available for pre-order. This is the author’s first time on our Free Friday list.

From Terrence Smith:

This is a classic noir story set in an alternative 1930s New York, where magic exists. The standard noir detective, Alexander Lockerby is a struggling private investigator who uses rune magic to examine crime scenes. His only employee is the perceptive Leslie Tompkins, who struggled to find steady work for years until Alex gave her a fair chance. While Alex hired her, Leslie is the one calling the shots in the office, and Alex is okay with that.

Alex is called in one day by his friend and advocate at the police station, Danny Pak, to investigate a charred body in an apartment building. He brings out several steampunk-inspired gadgets, including a lantern that casts light through runes, and a visor that allows him to see the evidence that these runes show, something like an arcane black light.

Since this is a magical New York City, the rules are a bit different. Instead of using power cables for electricity, giant rune circles are drawn around the city, with Empire Tower, formerly the Empire State Building, at the center, acting essentially as a transmitting antenna. Also, sorcerers have castles floating up in the sky.

As cliché as the detective tropes are, I am intrigued by the mystery at hand, so I might continue with this. Fans of steampunk and magic might want to check this out as well.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

3. Empire of Shadows by Vincent Valentean

This is a standalone book of EMP survival. Vincent Valentean has been on this list before. We reviewed his book Descent into Darkness this past June and Out of the Shadows in November of 2022. 

From Maria Korolov:

First, a disclaimer: I’m not the target reader for this book. I can tell just from the cover. But the target reader, Alex, isn’t around today. If you love EMP survival books and want to get into the book reviewing line of work — and don’t mind not getting paid for it! — email me. I’m at [email protected]. We’re always looking for more people to join our book review team.

But, anyway, the book starts with Vincent holding his gun on a guy who owns him money, a gambler who tried to skip out on his debts. Vincent is a mob boss, and he can’t let people get away with disrespecting him. He’s the boss of one of the five major mafia families in New York and has an image to maintain.

He’s ruthless, but also a man of principle and honor, who has a policy against selling drugs to minors or human trafficking. Also, he loves his wife and daughter. Well, loves them in his own way.

I don’t like Vincent at all. He seems to think he’s honorable but he’s just a murdering criminal. And he thinks he’s a loving father but he’s awful to his daughter. And his wife is no better.

Then he’s raided by the FBI. Good. I hope they lock him up for ever. There’s the dead body right there, and Vincent’s fingerprints on the murder weapon.

He’s being driven away by the FBI when a shockwave hits. I was wondering when that was going to happen.

All the power goes out everywhere in the city and the car’s engine dies. So do all the other cars around them. Vincent immediately knows what happened — an electromagnetic pulse has taken out electronics. He knows that civilization is about to collapse and only the strong will survive.

As I mentioned earlier, I’m not a fan of this genre of book. I hate the premise that people will immediately descend into savagery if something bad happens. And I hate the smug sense of self-satisfaction that the protagonists have, being proved right. So I’m not going to keep reading.

But these books are super popular. I guess the idea of something taking out all electronics can be a fun fantasy. If you’re into that, I think you’d love this book. Also, I think it would make a great movie. The writing feels very cinematic, well-paced, and action-packed.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

2. Fresh Blood by Angela Roquet

This is a box set of the first three books in the eight-book Blood Vice urban fantasy series by a USA Today bestselling author. The other books are $3.99 each, and are not in Kindle Unlimited. This is not the author’s first time on our Free Friday list. In July of this year, we reviewed Lost In Limbo, a box set of the first three books in the seven-book Lana Harvey, Reapers Inc. urban fantasy series. 

From Maria Korolov:

Jenna is dying on the floor of an abandoned warehouse basement. Her partner is already dead. She finds the strength to squeeze off another round into the meth head gnawing on her throat, and then she dies.

But she wakes up again – naked in the county morgue, with the coroner about to slice into her. Instead of letting him call her captain — or a doctor — she makes him drive her home. She’s in a bad state. She’s lost her partner, and doesn’t know how she’ll break the news to his family. And her mother died on the job as well.

Then when she comes home, she discovers someone already there — a girl who had been at the warehouse as well, and stole Jenna’s keys and broke into her apartment. The girl knows something about the case that Jenna and her partner had been on. They’d been looking for some missing girls — and this girl was one of them. She might know where the others are.

Jenna drinks some orange juice, and vomits it up. The girl, Mandy, tells Jenna that she’s a bloodsucker.

Jenna doesn’t believe her and tries drinking water. Same thing happens. Jenna freaks out, thinks she’s caught some weird contagious disease and that Mandy is nuts.

Then Jenna’s captain shows up. She doesn’t want him to find Mandy. She’s Jenna’s only lead. And Jenna knows that she no longer has the case. So she tells Mandy to hide in the bedroom while she talks to her boss.

He yells at her for not going to the hospital, then tells her that the FBI is taking over the case. Also, she’s on leave and needs to get cleared by the department shrink before she can go back on duty.

Then he says she should go to the emergency room, but she talks him out of it. I don’t understand why she doesn’t go. I would. In fact, I’d be yelling for a doctor the minute I woke up in the morgue. I’d want all the tests. Even if meant that I’d be a guinea pig in some science lab somewhere. At least then, I wouldn’t have to worry about AIs taking my job.

Which is nuts, actually. Our real life is currently more science-fiction-y than the books I’m reviewing. Crazy, huh?

Get the Kindle ebook box set free from Amazon here.

1. Frozen Earth by Jasper T. Scott

This is the first of two books in the Rogue Star science fiction series by a USA Today bestselling author. The other book is $3.99, and is not in Kindle Unlimited. This is the author’s first time on our Free Friday list.

From Noreen Brenner:

The prologue describes the discovery of a brown dwarf star by an astronomer working with the James Webb Telescope, in 2021. The dwarf star is a burnt-out cold cinder that originated in a very distant galaxy, and has been traveling through space for eons.

Chapter one is about the situation ten years later, in 2031. Logan, a magazine editor, is on his way home from his job in Manhattan. He lives with his wife and two kids in an affluent suburb. The problem is that Logan has just been fired from his position and has to break the news to his wife. On the train home, he happens to glance at a newspaper someone is reading. The headline trumpets that NASA has discovered “Nibiru” and it’s heading for earth.

Logan shrugs off the seemingly outrageous headline with a laugh. Instead, he focuses on how he will break the news about his job to his wife. When he gets home, he is shocked to discover her in bed with a neighbor.

The next couple of chapters are all about Logan confronting his wife and then driving away to get drunk at a motel. He wakes up from inebriated sleep when the phone rings shrilly. It’s his wife, and she repeats to him what she heard on the news, that aliens are purportedly headed for Earth. She urges Logan to hurry home to protect his family from looters, as the news has caused a mass panic.

It turns out that the astronomer who originally discovered the rogue star is the wife’s brother – and the story gets even more complex. The rogue brown dwarf star’s massive weight is predicted to shift the Earth’s orbit further away from the sun, and cause our planet to plunge into an ice age.

This is how the story begins, but later, according to the blurb, a billionaire plans to create a refuge for one thousand of the most intelligent individuals on Earth, so that they can make it through the ice age. Nations prepare to go to war over access to the lands where the climate is warmest. But then there will be a surprising discovery that complicates things.

I think this book will appeal to lovers of sci-fi, especially dystopian futuristic science fiction. I prefer utopian science fiction, but this dystopian novel is written skillfully, reads well and is wonderfully suspenseful, so it’s a winner in my opinion as well. I can’t wait to read more of this exciting story.

Get the Kindle ebook 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 Maria and Terrence discuss all five books in the video below:

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.

MetaStellar essays editor Noreen Brenner is a science fiction writer with masters degrees in molecular biology and bioinformatics. Her Kobo author page is here. She's currently working on a novel featuring an intergalactic human civilization, time travel, and aliens. Follow her on Facebook at Noreen Brenner Author.

Terrence J. Smith is MetaStellar's assistant fiction editor. He has contributed his writing to nonprofits and both print and digital publications. He enjoys all things technology, but remembers to meditate and appreciate the outside world.

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