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 Daughter of The Ice by Luís Falcão de Magalhães
This the first of three books in the Legends of Elessia epic fantasy series. The other books are $0.99 to $4.99 each and are both in Kindle Unlimited. This is the author’s first time on our Free Friday list.
From Maria Korolov:
Epic fantasy is not my absolute favorite speculative fiction genre — that would be space operas with strong female leads who don’t let themselves be distracted from their mission by a pretty face — but epic fantasy is definitely near the top. I once rocked a pair of fuzzy knee-high boots in high school, pretending I was on a quest through mystical mountains. In fact, I memorized and put my own melody to “Far Over the Misty Mountains Cold” and used to sing it to myself when waiting at the bus stop. And yes, all my friends were also giant nerds, why do you ask?
And this book begins with a map. A highly-detailed fantasy map. Tasty!
Eregar is a knight, in his fifties, who’s seen his share of coups, and was part of a few of them. I like him already. In fact, there’s a new coup happening right in the opening scene, and Eregar steps in to save the ruler. A nice bloody sword battle ensues, but the lead coup plotter is able to escape.
Then we switch to the point of view of the plotter himself, two months after the failed coup attempt.
He’s been forced into hiding in the remote reaches of the frozen plains, subsisting on moss, rabbits and foxes. But he’s a follower of the Daughter of the Ice, and doesn’t care if he freezes to death.
Then, nearly at the point of death, he accidentally finds a cave system that leads to a woman frozen in the ice — the Daughter of Ice herself — smiling a wicked smile through the ice.
What a perfect beginning!
Then the story really starts to get going.
It’s 13 months later, and we meet Annah, a courtesan in bed with a magistrate. And I’ve got to say, as a hater of romance, this scene ends perfectly — with a bloody death. I’m not going to give away whose, since I think you’ll probably want to read this book.
And then we meet some other characters.
So far, this book reminds me of A Game of Thrones-style far-flung, epic fantasy with politics, battles, and a large cast of characters. I’m enjoying it immensely and plan to keep going.
4. The Legend of the Gate Keeper Box Set by Jeff Gunzel
This is a box set of the first three books in the six-book Legend of the Gate Keeper epic fantasy series. The other books are $3.99 each, and are not in Kindle Unlimited. This is the author’s first time on our Free Friday list.
From Maria Korolov:
Oh, no, another epic fantasy. I can only get into one epic fantasy at a time, what with all those characters and political intrigue and far-flung quests.
But I might like this one better than the previous one…
The book starts with a long encyclopedia-style article about the land of Tarmerria, its geography and culture. I’m skipping the whole thing, of course. Who has time for a history lesson? Give me blood and gore, I say! And give it to me quick! On to chapter one!
An oval-shaped room is full of grown men, crying uncontrollably, curled up on the floor. Or laughing hysterically. Or praying to the deity of their choice. But one warrior isn’t collapsing in fear. He’s calm, gathering himself for the battle ahead.
Then there’s a flashback to the event that brought him here. He was one of fifty trained mercenaries sent to attack an unsuspecting village full of women and children in the middle of the night.
There’s no resistance. The villages hide in their homes, and the mercenaries go through and kill entire families.
Then the warrior finds a couple of the mercenaries in an alleyway, gruesomely torturing two children. This is a very explicit scene, so be warned. He intercedes. As he does, the girl pulls out daggers and kills one of the attackers. The warrior tells her to run. Instead, she attacks him — and succeeds in hurting him somehow, showing skills she shouldn’t have. As he’s losing consciousness he hears the other mercenaries approach. He’s branded a traitor — and he’s going to be made into a slave.
Then we’re back in the present day, and learn that the warrior got a sham of a trial, officially declared a traitor, and sold into slavery, to fight in the games. He’s going to die for the public’s amusement.
Then another prisoner — a fellow warrior, one who’s not whimpering in panic like the rest of the slaves — suggests that the two of them team up, so that they might be better set to survive this experience and get out. And get revenge.
I like this book, too. It’s a little gruesome for me, but I can skip over the most gruesome scenes. I’m intrigued by who the girl is and what role she’s going to play in all this. And how our hero is going to survive the gladiator games.
3. The Oath by Jerri Hines
This is the first of five books in Chronicles of the Ordained epic fantasy series. The other books are $2.99 to $4.99 each and only the fourth is in Kindle Unlimited. The fifth book is not yet released. It is scheduled for May, and is currently available for pre-order. This is the author’s first time on our Free Friday list.
This is a high-fantasy story full of magic, tension, secrets and a complex worldbuilding. Through the first few pages of the book we’re introduced to Darius of House Sexton, a kid that has been hidden from the king by his family because of the powerful magic that runs through his veins.
The House of Sexton he grew up with believes elven blood runs through his veins, but as his powers keep developing and becoming more present it becomes clear that he’s more powerful than an elf.
If anything, he could be considered to have Flandigana magic, a rare bloodline that is known to have unimaginable powers.
They thought they’d done a good job at hiding Darius from the King and protecting him from being bound to the crown because of his powers, but everything changes when the King’s army marches down to their front door.
As the Lord Commander of the Ordained and the King’s Guard Rudolph the Magnificent summons Darius and starts asking him about his lineage and his powers, they realize they didn’t manage to get away with it–which creates a tense and intriguing introduction to the story, the worldbuilding and its main characters.
Personally, I won’t continue reading this because it’s too much of a heavy read for my reading taste at the moment. Yet I can definitely recommend it to fantasy readers who love complex fantasy books that have a varied magic system and a big world building.
2. The Witch Collector by Charissa Weaks
This is the first of four books Witch Walker romantic fantasy series. The other books are $0.99 to $5.99 each, though the fourth book is not yet released. It is scheduled for March, and is currently available for pre-order. All the books are in Kindle Unlimited. This is the author’s first time on our Free Friday list.
From Kristin Noland:
Raina’s sister was selected by the Witch Collector and taken to the Frost King eight years ago. Now, armed with a god-killing blade, Raina is ready for her revenge. The day has come for the Witch Collector to choose another witch from her village, and she plans on making him take her, so she can rescue her sister, kill the king, and set her territory free from the king’s cold hard rule.
But she can’t speak, so communicating outside of her village may be a difficult obstacle to overcome.
The story has a good pace and the author does a fantastic job building suspense.
I’ve not read anything by Charissa Weaks before, but I can tell she is an expert storyteller who knows her craft. She invoked all my senses, and solidly placed me in the story. I found all the characters she introduced interesting and likable, even the antagonist.
I’m very excited about this book and curious to find out if Raina can do all of this and what she must sacrifice to complete her journey. It’s now on my to-be-read list!
I know lovers of fantasy thrillers with a touch of romance will love this novel.
1. The Green Brook Homestead by Colton Lively
This is a standalone thriller of EMP survival. This is not the first time the author has been on our Free Friday list. Last August, we reviewed the book Desolation’s Diary, then, in June, The Renbrook Homestead, and, last May, The Grid’s Collapse. All three are also stories of EMP survival.
From Alex Korolov:
This one’s an EMP book. An EMP is an electromagnetic pulse that short circuits electronics, including cellphones, computers, and modern automobiles. This type of story would appeal to fans of post-apocalyptic fiction as the aftermath of an EMP is usually very devastating and causes a lot of chaos.
Let’s dive in.
We meet Judy Green in chapter one. Judy’s a private investigator living in Florida. She got into the field because she was able to track and catch a cheating boyfriend when she was younger, which inspired her to help other people catch unfaithful partners.
Judy’s in her car staking out a hotel, following a cheating husband. We get a lot of background on Judy’s family during this chapter, including a phone call from her sister who says she’s getting married, but not too much action.
At the start of the next chapter, Judy’s father calls her. He’s driving back home to Ohio after a trip to visit family in Canada. Her father tells Judy that there’s a bunch of heavy artillery military vehicles moving around on the roads. Judy gets off the phone, hops online, and reads an article about how America and several other nations are moving around their nuclear arms, but she’s not too concerned.
In the next chapter, Judy goes out to a horse farm to meet up with a friend. As they’re riding horses, they notice the weather’s unusually cold, birds are moving strangely in the sky, and their horses are getting spooked easily. They guide the horses back to their barn. Judy hangs out with her friend a little longer, and then heads home.
On the way home, she stops by a grocery store and sees that a bunch of people are out panic-buying supplies. It turns out people are concerned about the possibility of war. Judy goes to bed.
Then, in the next chapter, Judy wakes up and discovers that her power is out. Her phone and computer are still working, but the Internet’s down. She talks to her dad and promises she’s going to come up to Ohio to check on him. She can’t book a flight, but her car still works, so she packs it up and starts driving north.
That’s as far as I read, but I do plan to keep going. I like that we get a lot of background on the main character, and I like that this EMP book has a slow build up. A lot of EMP stories start with disaster right off the get go, but this book takes its time and builds suspense. As far as EMP stories go, this one’s a good read.
Have you read any of these books? Are you planning to? Let us know in the comments!
Watch Maria discuss all five books in the video below: