Free Friday: Today’s top free Amazon sci-fi and fantasy books for Feb. 16, 2024

Reading Time: 10 minutes

Free Friday: Today’s top free Amazon sci-fi and fantasy books for February 16, 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 will 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. Trial by Fae by Linsey Hall

This is the first of five books in Dragon’s Gift: The Dark Fae fantasy romance series. The other books are $4.99 each and are in Kindle Unlimited. This is the author’s first time on our Free Friday list.

From Kristin Noland:

The story kicks off in an exciting fashion, with Mari killing a demon. What’s not to like?

Mari and her sister are demon slayers. With dragon blood coursing through their veins, they can create new magic, which makes them highly sought after and very good at their jobs. They escaped from home long ago and have hidden themselves by using glamor to change their appearances.

A strange, yet exquisite man shows up on their doorstep and asks for a difficult blood magic spell. While Mari is intrigued and attracted to him, she is also leery because of the immense power he exudes and his willingness to pay double what she asks for. She knows he’s trouble, but she needs the money. And what’s a little more trouble for magical women hiding from the powers that be?

The book hooked me from sentence one. It’s fast-paced and well-written. I’m fascinated by the world the author created, and I’m curious to find out where the story goes. I will continue reading this novel.

And I’m sure fans of magical fantasy romance will enjoy it.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

4. Outcasts of Earth by James David Victor

This is the first of nine books in the Outcasts of Earth military sci-fi series. The other books are $0.99 each and are in Kindle Unlimited. This has been on our Free Friday list before. We reviewed this book in December of 2022 and Mercury Blade, the first of nine books in the Valyien Far Future space opera series, in June of 2022.

From Alex Korolov:

Outcasts of Earth is a sci-fi story about a bunch of convicts turned space marines.

In the prologue, Solomon Cready is hiding out in Hong Kong when his hotel room door is knocked down by police robots, or maybe cops in exosuits, not totally sure, but they do have robot dogs. He’s been arrested for murder and is getting sent to a penal colony on Titan as punishment.

The first two chapters follow Solomon as he and some other inmates go up a space elevator to a spaceship and also meet their warden, a big jerk named Coates, who electrocutes one of the prisoners to exert his authority.

It turns out the Department of Justice and Defense has other plans for Solomon, who’s put into hibernation on a spaceship, but wakes up on Jupiter’s moon Ganymede and finds out he’s part of a work rehabilitation program, called the Marine Expeditionary Force, or MEF, also known as the Outcasts. It also means that instead of his original life sentence on Titan, he’ll be free in 12 years — if he survives being a space marine.

While this story doesn’t seem particularly unique or outstanding so far, I think it could be a fun read for someone looking for a space adventure story. I’m on the fence about whether I’d keep reading, but maybe I’ll pick it up again if I’ve got nothing else going on.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

3. Fires of Alexandria by Thomas K. Carpenter

This is the first of seven books in the Alexandrian Saga historical fantasy series. The other books range from $5.99 to $6.99 and are not in Kindle Unlimited. This is the author’s first time on our Free Friday list.

From Terrence Smith:

This is a book for the classics geeks. It takes place in the great city of Alexandria, Egypt, and surrounds the mystery of a fire that took place at Alexandria’s Great Library. It also has a well-realized world that is a vivid imagining of what life might have been like in this city.

The novel follows dual protagonists. The first protagonist, Heron, a machinist, is a young woman pretending to be her own brother and trying to pay off his debt. She has a niece, Sepharia, who longs to explore the city, but is forbidden by her aunt, for fear that men would want to buy her for marriage.

The second protagonist, Agog, is a man from northern territories who is a bit of a “noble savage,” preferring heathen gods who ask little of their worshipers, as opposed to the gods of the Egyptian temples, which constantly require money for their so-called miracles. Agog has ventured to Alexandria for reasons of his own and seeks what he calls a miracle worker — a machinist — to assist him in conquering the city of Alexandria.

So far, Agog is the most interesting of the characters in the story. While he has no issues with breaking the wrist of a pickpocket, he is willing to help those who request it if they help him. He sits down with a Roman scholar in a bar to exchange information, and he makes the Roman laugh, even when the Roman in question has what can be called primitive views of the so-called barbarians. The memories of Agog’s life linger in his mind, pointing to a potential tragedy that may drive his actions.

The themes are pretty typical for a young adult novel centering on a female protagonist: the restraints of the patriarchy, the inequality of women, and the difficulties of competing in a man’s world. Heron’s garments that conceal her feminine features are referred to as a literal symbol of the restraints that she must bear.

The writing does a good job of depicting the city’s atmosphere: crowded streets, the heat of the sun, and the smells of perfumes and street foods. Scents are a particular emphasis in the descriptions. I’m hungry.

I was initially going to read the first two chapters only, but I was interested enough to continue to the third chapter and had to restrain myself from reading further lest I miss the deadline to write this review. This will be on my “to be continued” list.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

2. Frost by C.N. Crawford

This is the first of two books in the Frost and Nectar paranormal romance series. Book two is $4.99 and is in Kindle Unlimited. This is the author’s first time on our Free Friday list.

From Maria Korolov:

As the host of this particular segment, it’s my job to take the books that our other reviewers haven’t grabbed, so it often means that I read outside my genre. Sometimes, that’s far outside my genre — like spicy romances featuring Big Foot — and sometimes, it’s not too far off. I enjoy epic fantasy, and romantic fantasy is a close relative — especially if the plot takes precedence.

This book starts out with romance right in the first sentence. Oh, no!

Now, for those readers who don’t have a cold, cold heart like I do, this shouldn’t be an obstacle! But for me… well, you should definitely take the rest of my review with a grain of salt!

Anyway, Ava is a fae who prefers humans because the fae are violent, capricious, and arrogant. She’s in love with Andrew, a kind human who writes her poems and makes her tea. And they planned a future. She was going to pay his mortgage while he finished his MBA. And then they’d work on her dream — opening a cocktail bar. It turns out this was all a lie.

I could have told her that as soon as she said she was paying the bills while he was getting his degree. Also — she thinks humans aren’t violent, capricious, and arrogant? Hah! But let’s give her the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she’s young and innocent, not old and jaded like I am.

Yup — she’s 26. Okay, it’s forgivable then. We all fall in love with jerks in our twenties.

Anyway, she comes home and catches him in bed with another woman and throws a container of hot curry on them.

She storms out and goes to a bar, where her best friend suggests that Tinder hookups can help her get over the guy. She also offers her a place to stay — and to invest in the bar she wants to open.

So far, the only thing magical about Ava is that she’s got pointy ears.  Oh, and we find out why she’s living on Earth, among the humans — her parents gave her up for adoption at birth, and the fae are prejudiced against people who don’t know who their ancestors are. We also learn that the High Fae are a lethal group of fae who rule Earth from a distance — and their king, Torin, is about to get married after a competition in which he’ll choose his bride.

Torin is also 26, and the richest guy in the world. I guess if you’re that rich, you can be the star of your own The Bachelor show anytime you want. Also, he’s rumored to be a murderer. Apparently, he’s going to tell the good news to the contestants in person. As Ava and her friend sit in the bar, the TV news programs obsessively follow Torin’s cavalcade through the city. There’s even a news helicopter tracking him. Then the cavalcade stops right outside the bar where they’re drinking. Everyone rushes to the windows, including Ava, to watch him get out of his Lamborghini — and then he walks into the bar.

Ada’s drunk, and refuses to bow down before him like all the other fae have to do. And, after all, the fae have cast her out. And she says this, right to Torin’s face. And calls his tournament stupid and says she doesn’t want anything to do with it. And he tells her that he wasn’t there for her, anyway, and walks out. So why did he walk into the bar, then?

Anyway, in the next chapter we switch to Torin’s point of view. Oh, no! He’s the love interest! But he’s a rich jerk who’s suspected of being a murderer!

And we learn that he has to get married in order to protect the fae kingdom and to give him the magic he wants. It doesn’t really matter whom he marries. For the tournament, he chose six princesses from noble clans, plus 94 common fae with no chance of winning. The only other option is for him to advocate and for his younger sister to get married instead. But she’s sick, and the job would kill her.

But there’s a twist. Of course, there is. The twist is that Torin is cursed. If he falls in love with his bride, the curse will kill her. So he has to get married to someone he doesn’t love. One woman has already died because of this. He needs to find someone absolutely awful. Someone with repellent manners and no sophistication. Someone low-born, with no sense of morality, who could be bought… wait a second!

So there you go, that’s the premise of the book. It’s a fun twist on the old rom-com staple, and if it was a movie, I would absolutely watch it. I can definitely see Sydney Sweeney playing Ava and Glen Powell playing Torin the jerk. I’m a sucker for rom-coms.

In fact, now that I’ve cast the main characters, I’m loathe to give the book up. It’s a fun, breezy read — a rom-com in book form. Okay, okay, fine, I might finish it this weekend.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

1. Crown of Blood and Glass by Lucinda Dark and Rebecca Grey

This is the first of three books in the Awakened Fates romantic fantasy series. The other books are $4.99 each and are in Kindle Unlimited. This is both authors’ first time on our Free Friday list.

From E.S. Foster:

Devonry is the princess and eventual queen of Rozantine, who wants nothing more than to escape the castle walls and explore Sanctus City surrounding her home. She manages to sneak out and dance at the Sun Fire Festival for her birthday, only for her escort, Soloman, to catch her and bring her back. He then explains just how much danger she could have put herself in, but Devonry isn’t going to listen to the man who frustrates her attempts at freedom at every turn.

Not only that but Devonry is also betrothed to Prince Nasir, her childhood friend from another kingdom. But when an unexpected betrayal leads to losing her father and the throne she was supposed to gain, Devonry is forced to rely on the one person she despises: Solomon.

With this series, multiple authors have come together to create what is shaping up to be a juicy romance with fantastical political intrigue to match.

From the start of the prologue, we are thrown into Devonry’s headspace, and we gain insight into the choices she’s been forced to make. She’s desperate, and that shines through in a suspenseful and intriguing way. The world introduced in chapter one is also startlingly bright and colorful, filled with light and hope that will quickly be torn to shreds but that you won’t want to let go of.

This book’s very first scene is intimate and sexy, with Devonry attempting to seduce Solomon, though not in a way that gives away the ending. If you like romantic fantasy that focuses more on romance, then this is definitely for you, especially since that’s what the book opens with.

Personally, this isn’t something I would typically read, but the memorable worldbuilding stood out to me nonetheless. If you’re looking for your next romance fantasy, then you’ll want to check out this series and delve into a brand-new world of betrayal and intrigue.

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, Terrence and Emma discuss all five books in the video below:

YouTube player

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.

MetaStellar news editor Alex Korolov is also a freelance technology writer who covers AI, cybersecurity, and enterprise virtual reality. His stories have also been published at CIO magazine, Network World, Data Center Knowledge, and Hypergrid Business. Find him on Twitter at @KorolovAlex and on LinkedIn at Alex Korolov.

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.

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.

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.

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