Free Friday: Today’s top free Amazon sci-fi and fantasy books for May 24, 2024

Reading Time: 10 minutes
Free Friday: Today’s top free Amazon sci-fi and fantasy books for May 24, 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. Evil Arises by B.R. Stateham

This is the first of three books in the Roland Of The High Crags 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 Terrence Smith:

Fans of World of Warcraft or Skyrim will want to check out this book. It has all the trappings of those kinds of epic fantasy stories, including dragons, warrior factions, magic, ancient evils, and prophecies.

This particular story is told from the perspective of Roland, a warrior and wizard who belongs to a sacred order of warrior monks. He has been imprisoned for decades by his order for not killing the harbinger of evil when he had the chance. Roland encounters this instrument of humanity’s doom when she is just a seven-year-old dragon girl, who’s the daughter of the leader of a bloodthirsty clan. But the girl’s grandfather tasks Roland with protecting her, believing that she will be essential to the future of both humans and dragons. This immediately sets up a scenario similar to the relationship between the Witcher and Circi from the Witcher video games, or the Mandalorian and Baby Yoda, if you will.

The appeal of this story is not how it will end. Roland immediately tells the reader of the ending at the prologue. The mystery here is seeing just how the young girl falls from innocence to become a nearly unstoppable force of destruction while Roland reflects on his decision not to kill her when he had the chance because he could see an alternate path to save not just her, but the entire world as well.

This story has me intrigued, and I might continue further with it.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

4. Elemental Empire by Peter North

This is the first of five books in the Elemental Empire sword-and-sorcery series. The other books are $6.99 each, but they are all in Kindle Unlimited — and on sale now, to boot, for 99 cents each. This is the author’s first time on our Free Friday list.

From E.S. Foster:

The story begins with Logan, who just got off his shift at a restaurant. He just moved to Denver and started his own business, but his mother’s crumbling addiction has led him to pick up another job back home in Evergreen Hills. Between having to cancel his plans with his date because of the rain and his mother spiraling into another alcoholic episode, he’s not having the best day.

His day, unfortunately, gets a lot worse when he comes home to find his mother dead on the living room couch.

But just before he can call for help, he and his mother dissolve into sparkling light and their world disappears.

Logan wakes up in a strange forest. At first, he thinks he’s been drinking, but he looks up to see three moons in the sky. He quickly gets lost, the memories of the real world fading like a dream. But after wandering for several minutes, he comes across two trolls and a dark, malevolent figure holding a nymph-like creature hostage. Logan follows them, eventually coming to their camp.

Thankfully, he pulls a magic sword out of a tree at random, and he sets out to slaughter the camp and save the nymph. It’s all action from there, as Logan needs to save the world from darkness and keep the beautiful creatures inside this world safe.

I’ll be honest, right off the bat I didn’t like Logan. When the first chapter establishes that his mother is an alcoholic, it’s clear that he only cares about the date with his long-time high school crush instead of taking care of her. After landing in the fantasy world, he’s upset that he missed his date, completely forgetting his mother was lying dead in front of him! On top of that, once he sees the beautiful nymph, there’s nothing else on his mind but rescuing her.

This book also reads very much as “men writing women.” Logan focuses much more on all the female character’s physical attributes and how he feels about them. So with that in mind, I don’t plan on adding this to my reading list.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

3. Burn by Joanna Morgan

This is the first of three books in the Elemental Warriors paranormal romance series. The other books are $4.99 each, but are both in Kindle Unlimited. This is the author’s first time on our Free Friday list.

From Maria Korolov:

Loyal readers will know that I don’t like books with naked guys on their covers. Because I have a cold, cold heart and hate love. But you never know, sometimes they pull me in anyway. And I’ve got airplane travel this holiday weekend and can use some new reading material.

Levi is a magical warrior, an elemental, whose job is to track down humans with latent powers and drain them before they can self-destruct and cause a giant disaster. And there are a lot of disasters. Apparently, Levi and his follow warriors aren’t keeping up with the job.

Then he feels strange vibes. Strange elemental energy. It’s coming from a woman, but it feels different from when he normally finds a human with latent powers. He’s weirdly drawn to this woman, even though he’s ever seen her before.

No! Don’t be mysteriously drawn to her! It’s a trap! You’ll fall in love and live happily ever after! Nobody wants that! Run! Run, I tell you!

Then we switch to the woman’s point of view. Her name is Brooke, and she’s a graphic designer for a small-town newspaper. She’s about to walk into post office when a magnificent man holds the door open for her. He’s gorgeous, he smells good… all the things. She’s disappointed when he doesn’t follow her inside.

Then we switch back to Levi. He’s also disappointed that he didn’t follow her inside. So he waits for her to come out, they awkwardly meet up again, flirt, she asks him if he wants to get coffee, but then Levi has to go. Duty calls. An enemy is in town. And a human somewhere is about to self-destruct. He doesn’t find the human in time. and a building blows up — the same building that Brooke just entered.

And stuff starts to happen. I’m not going to give away the plot, but the pace is picking up.

Will I stick with it? Probably not. The book is readable, and the main characters are sympathetic, and if you like fated mates romances you’ll probably enjoy it.

But there’s isn’t enough there for me, since I really really dislike the fates mates trope.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

2. Cast the First Stone by David James Warren

This is the first of six books in The True Lies of Rembrandt Stone time travel detective series. The other books are $4.99 each, but are all in Kindle Unlimited. This is the author’s first time on our Free Friday list.

From Maria Korolov:

I love twisty, turny stories about hard-boiled detectives, and this one promises time travel to boot, so I’m in.

The book opens with our protagonist, Rembrandt, delivering bad news to his client. Rembrandt is a former homicide inspector, and it’s been over a month with no leads. The client is seven years old, she’s his daughter, and the missing person is actually a stuffed bear that he bought in a gift shop at the last minute because he’d forgotten her birthday. Aww. How adorable.

It’s his daughter’s birthday, and the only thing she wants is her bear back. So he promises her that he’ll find it, while his wife rolls her eyes at him.

I’m really hoping that this isn’t one of those dark stories where the detective loses his adorable family right at the start of the book.

Rembrandt quit his job three years ago to write a book, but is suffering from writer’s block.

Then his old partner of twenty years shows up, with a cardboard box that showed at the station addressed to Rembrandt. It’s a box of cold case files, from the old chief’s estate. The box also contains the chief’s broken old watch.

The next day, he takes the watch in for repairs. Keep in mind that we’re at the third chapter now — the book starts very, very slowly.

But the shop can’t fix it, and refers him to somewhere else, an hour away. His agent calls him, complaining about the lack of progress on the book and threatening to drop him. So, of course, Rembrandt goes on a drive. This repairman says he can’t fix it, either. In fact, he says that the watch works perfectly well. It doesn’t. The dial doesn’t turn, and the watch doesn’t tell time. But the repair guy insists that it works, and shuts the door on him.

So he goes to the gym, where his old partner urges him to come back to the job, then back home to have dinner with his wife and daughter, then finally to his study, where he sits down at the computer and stares at a blank screen. Then he opens up his cold case box — for inspiration — puts on the chief’s old watch, fiddles with it, and something weird happens. He goes back in time, into his own body, on a day that’s been giving him nightmares ever since. He’s in the middle of one of his old cold cases, living the day over again.

Then we switch back to his wife’s point of view, when she was young, and relatively new to the forensics profession. The two of them bump into each other at the crime scene, because it’s the day they met. But this time, Rembrandt doesn’t spill coffee on her and ruin her camera. So the rules here are that the past can be changed. Which is good for the story, otherwise you’re just reliving your life again, seeing your mistakes coming right at you, and not being able to do anything about them.

I like this story very much. I love the premise, of a detective being able to go back in time to solve cold cases. I’ll be sticking with this one, even though it does move a little slowly.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

1. Roy: The Most Chaotic Midlife Crisis in Cosmic History by Zachry Wheeler

This is the first of five books in the Puki Horpocket Presents humorous science fiction series. The other books are $0.99 to $3.99 each, and are not in Kindle Unlimited, but books two and three are also free today. The author has been on our Free Friday list before.

From Maria Korolov:

I’m a big fan of absurdist sci-fi authors like Douglas Adams, and when I saw this book cover, that’s what I thought I would be getting — a funny or satirical sci-fi romp.

After I opened the book, I learned that it’s by Zachry Wheeler, author of Max and the Multiverse, which was on top of our Free Friday list last September. That book by the way is still free, and you should pick it up. Not because you have to read it first — today’s book is a standalone story set in the same universe — but because it’s got over 1,000 positive reviews and a bunch of awards.

Oh, and this book is totally in the style of Douglas Adams. In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Zachry Wheeler is, in fact, the Douglas Adams for today. Mostly because I can’t think of a single other author writing in the genre, but still.

The premise of the book is that it’s written by Puki Horpocket, editor of a wiki about the largest space station in the universe, and Zachry Wheeler is just the book’s official translator here on Earth.

And it opens in the aftermath of a firefight in a popular on-station brewpub. Roy, the guy from the book’s title — who only goes by the one name — is a plumber. He’s there to repair a clogged fountain. It’s now full of soot and debris and the filtering unit has given up.

Roy is depressed and apathetic and resentful — and he’s sorry to have missed all the fireworks.

But if you just read this sentence, which is what happens in the first chapter of the book, you’ll miss the narrator’s snide language, the foul banter between Roy and his coworkers, and the very vivid descriptions of the space station and its weirdly shaped denizens. Including Roy and his co-workers. All of them are weird alien creatures, even though they speak in modern American slang and have common American names. I guess that’s the translator’s addition to the story.

For example, here’s the wiki’s description of The Pipes, a joint where Roy is going to meet his friends after work: “The establishment seems to exist solely to exacerbate a throbbing headache. Avoid at all costs.” The narrator then admits that this review is a bit harsh — but it’s not inaccurate.

So, yes, very Hitchhiker’s Guide-esque.

I’m definitely sticking with it.

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 talk about 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.

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.

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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