Free Friday: Today’s top free Amazon sci-fi and fantasy books for Jan. 19, 2024

Reading Time: 9 minutes
Free Friday: Today’s top free Amazon sci-fi and fantasy books for January 19, 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. A Touch of Fever by Nazri Noor

This is the first of eight books in the Arcane Hearts urban 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 Melody Friedenthal:

The book starts dramatically, with a humongous sentient gryphon attacking our narrator, Jackson. He uses a combination of magic and a metal glove to punch the gryphon, which only angers it further.

I liked Jackson’s description of his attacker: “Half eagle, half lion, pure asshole.” But it seems that the gauntlet is Jackson’s own invention and doesn’t work quite as well as he hoped, leaving him injured and embarrassed. Then we learn that the gryphon, whose name is Zephyr, is actually a friend of Jackson’s and they play-fight every chance they get. Their deal is Jackson gets to take home some valuable gryphon feathers and, in turn, he feeds Zeph a chicken. Apparently Zeph views “son of Jack” as his personal chicken-bearing servant, much like domestic cats view their “owners.”

Jackson is a member of the supernatural community in California, where he hides in plain sight. He visits the magical Black Market where he sells Zeph’s feathers for a tidy sum. At this market one can buy anything one’s heart desires.

But Jackson is not a magician — he is an artificer, building magical objects for use by the more arcanely-talented.

However, a magician has been murdered. I wonder if Jackson will be accused? Or will he be the detective on the case? Reading on…

Jackson’s neighbor shows up to insult him and complain about the noise from his workshop. And here is where we get to the thrust of this story: Xander is handsome, with dark lashes, “infinite riches” and a sweet smile. Jackson makes a point of showing off his own “assets.”

Yes, this is a romance. I think we’re going to see some male-male action before too long.

The story is keeping my interest, with the sexual attraction between our male protagonists and the sidekick gryphon being intriguing as well. I’m also looking forward to reading about the murder investigation.

Magic fans will like this book. So far it is well-crafted and an easy-read.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

4. Memoirs of a Time Traveler by Doug Molitor

This is the first of four books in the Time Amazon time travel sci-fi series. The other books are $3.99 each and are not in Kindle Unlimited. This is the author’s second time on our Free Friday list — we previously reviewed this book in August of 2021.

From Amira Loutfi:

I like this one. Just as I was starting to get a little impatient, the plot moved along nicely.

So we start out with a famous baseball player, Andy, who won’t stop sending flowers to Dave’s gorgeous cousin, Lori. They used to be engaged, but now she won’t have him back. So Dave, the protagonist, has to go tell him to leave her alone.

I’m not entirely sure why, but Dave wants to have this discussion right before one of Andy’s big games. Why must Dave bring personal drama into Andy’s workplace? Ah well, it made for a great scene. And Andy dies on the same day.

He’s been having a bad year and he is about to get cut from the team. His coworkers treat him like a pariah. Then, a strange man interrupts and asks for an autograph on a new baseball. In exchange, he gives Andy a really old ancient baseball signed by a baseball legend that Andy adores. Andy immediately recognizes the signature and handwriting and believes it’s authentic.

During the game, Andy hits five homers, and apparently, that’s legendary. I don’t know anything about baseball, but I found this first chapter to be very exciting.

So where’s all the time travel-y science fiction-y stuff? First, it’s in the strange man asking for an autograph from Andy when it appears that he is right about to get cut from the team. How would this stranger know that Andy’s signature would be worth anything?

The second is the ancient baseball that he gave in exchange for the one with Andy’s signature. It has a few anachronistic qualities that scream “time travelers!”

I highly recommend it if you are interested in time travel. I might come back to this one if I keep thinking about it …

From Melody Friedenthal:

I loved the setting of this book. Our narrator is an archaeologist and also a skilled fencer. Both of these details sold me on this book since I took a few classes in archaeology when I was an undergrad and I also fenced in high school, college, and after.

They say the devil’s in the details and I figured this was the sword-analogue to Anton Chekhov’s oft-quoted “If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don’t put it there.” And I was right: we get some swordplay soon enough.

We also get an ancient untranslated language, Minoan. I love linguistics!  We also have a mysterious baseball with powers and a female Minoan named Ariyl who is as strong as the legendary Minoan bulls. Fencing, linguistics, archaeology, a strapping female with agency, and… time travel!

Yes, I’m going to finish this one!

Get the Kindle e-book free from Amazon here.

3. The Witch Collector by Charissa Weaks

This is the first of four books in the 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 second week in a row that this book has been 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.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

2. Defending Our Land by Robert J. Walker

This is a box set of three post-apocalypse novels, part of the 68-book EMP Survival in a Powerless World series. These novels stand alone — you don’t need to read the rest of the series. The series is by various authors, and we’ve reviewed quite a few of those books here in our Free Friday column because it’s apparently a very popular premise.

From Alex Korolov:

This is a three-book box set, so at the price of free, it’s a great deal for fans of post-apocalyptic fiction.

In case you don’t know, an EMP is an electromagnetic pulse that wipes out all electronics, which can include cell phones, modern cars, power grids in cities, airplanes, and more. EMP blasts in these types of stories mostly result in maximum damage, leaving all or almost all electronics completely useless.

I took a look at the first book in this series, which begins with Hollywood actor Duke Redpath flying across the Alaskan wilderness in a small Cessna airplane with his model girlfriend. There’s also a pilot on the plane, and the pilot’s nephew, who are partners in a wilderness tour business that flies wealthy clients deep into Alaska.

As the four are flying, everything in the plane goes out. The control panel goes dead and the engine sputters. The model’s phone dies at the same time as she’s trying to take a video of their surroundings. The plane comes back to life but the battery now reads at zero. After a few hours they land and the nephew — who  handles the hiking portion of the tour — takes the two famous people out into the wilderness for a three-day trek. The pilot stays back and makes camp near the airplane to wait for the party to return.

On the third night of waiting, all electronics permanently die. The pilot is reading a Kindle that dies. His LED lights all go out, and his plane is totally dead. It turns out he’s a prepper and he realizes this was an EMP attack. That’s the end of the first chapter and as far as I got with this one.

This book seems pretty formulaic. A lot of the EMP fiction has a main character who’s a prepper and instantly knows when an EMP hits, like in this one. Most EMP stories have disaster strike in the first chapter, and there’s often an automobile or airplane involved.

Having said that, I’d probably keep reading anyway if I had nothing else to read. EMP books are usually like buttery movie popcorn. You know it’s not the best for you, but you just can’t help eating the whole bag.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

1. The Belial Stone by R.D. Brady

This is the first of fourteen books in The Belial Series of sci-fi thrillers. The rest of the books are $1.99 to $5.99 each but are all in Kindle Unlimited. This is the first time this author has been on our Free Friday List.

From Terrence Smith:

This archaeological thriller opens with a verse from the Book of Enoch, a non-canonical Christian text. Immediately, you knows what your are in for: one of those “I’m not saying it’s aliens, but it’s aliens” stories, which would have the likes of the History Channel’s Giorgio A. Tsoukalos ecstatic.

Ancient aliens enthusiasts will probably be into this story, and X-Files DNA is visible throughout. The protagonist is Laney, a red-headed college professor of criminology. She is friends with Drew, an archaeologist and follower of the theory that ancient civilizations of advanced knowledge were present long before recorded history.

This brings to mind the Scully-Mulder dynamic from the X-Files show, with Laney being the rationalist, and Drew being the one who wants to believe. The big difference is that Drew is homosexual, so these two are strictly platonic in their relationship.

Drew asks Laney one morning to look at a paper of his about the ancient civilization of Atlantis, and also hints at a secret project he and his colleague are working on. Tragically, Laney learns from her uncle that same evening that Drew committed suicide.

This is suspicious, considering he was visited by professor Gideon, who is set up as the main villain in the book’s prologue. Immediately, he is reminiscent of the shape-shifting aliens from the X-Files lore, with their cold expressions and seemingly superhuman physical abilities. His callousness is on full display when he preys on a lone farmer, who accidentally stumbles on an ancient artifact with imagery seemingly prophesizing the end of the world.

What makes him especially evil is that he not only kills the farmer, but the dog as well.

This prologue had me instantly hooked, and I am curious about what exactly is going on here.  I definitely hope to continue.

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:

YouTube player

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 reviews editor Amira Loutfi is an author and web designer. She is on a mission to craft excellent fantasy fiction that is inspired by late antiquity Arabia. You can join her monthly newsletter where she shares insider info, wips, and tons of cool stuff.

Melody Friedenthal is a librarian at a public library and a copyeditor for MetaStellar. In her spare time she's the chief bottle-washer for To Tell A Tale Writers' Group and is an affiliate member of the SFWA. Her work has been published in Tales From Shelf 804: an anthology, N3F, Bardsy, MetaStellar, and New Myths. She believes writing is a gateway drug, alpacas are cute, and dark chocolate is heaven.

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.

1 thought on “Free Friday: Today’s top free Amazon sci-fi and fantasy books for Jan. 19, 2024”

  1. Thanks for sharing these free books! I’m always on the lookout for new sci-fi and fantasy reads, and these titles look like they could be great additions to my reading list. I’ll have to check them out!

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