Free Friday: Today’s top free Amazon sci-fi and fantasy books for May 3, 2024

Reading Time: 10 minutes
Free Friday: Today’s top free Amazon sci-fi and fantasy books for May 3, 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. Alien with Benefits by Cara Bristol

This is the first of five books in the Forbidden Bonds science fiction romance series. The other books are $3.99 to $4.99 each and are not in Kindle Unlimited. This is the author’s fourth time on our Free Friday list. We reviewed Psy in August 2023, Braxx in December 2021, and Chameleon in June 2021.

From Terri Wells:

What’s the trope for this one? Pretty girl goes on space cruise with her best friend, only to be kidnapped by aliens to be sold into slavery.

Her name is Holly, and she manages to escape,only to be kidnapped again by a big, horned — why do they always have horns? — hairy alien who doesn’t want to let her go. She’s determined to get back to New Terra and find her bestie again, though. Given the title, there’s likely to be some romance along the way.

Of course, there’s more to this alien than meets the eye. Aeon’s a prince reluctantly facing a political marriage, though he can find no real fault with his intended mate. His people and her people have been at war for centuries, and there’s a question raised as to whether he can trust her not to kill him in his sleep. But his father the king is adamant. The prince says he’ll go on walkabout, and when he returns, he’ll give the king his decision.

We also get some background on the New Terrans. Earth has been destroyed in a nuclear world war, annihilating every living thing on the planet. The New Terra colony, founded well before the war, is all that is left of the humans.

Then we jump ahead, to two months later. Holly has been held prisoner by aliens for the past week. She has tried to escape once, but a force field stopped her. Once electrocuted, twice shy, as she puts it. Holly shares a cell with several humans, including her bestie, a human doctor who is very ill, and several aliens. She and the humans are trying to figure out what happened and how they were captured.

Next, we learn one of the aliens in the cell with the humans is the prince. It’s Aeon — and while he can understand them, he isn’t interested in interacting with humans at all. The other alien in the cell is a spy from the prince’s enemy’s people, and the prince knows it. He also knows he can never marry the mate chosen for him, because her people are trafficking in alien species, and that’s a serious crime. Plus, there’s a galactic embargo with New Terra, making this even more serious. Humans are rare, and wealthy aliens pay a high price to own one as a pet.

Aeon is physically repelled by humans, and their incessant prattle drives him insane. Holly found the aliens to be a real turn-off as well. If you’re familiar with romance tropes, you already know where this is going.

Our prince turns somewhat sympathetic when the humans, all female, are brutally removed from the cell for a buyer who wants all of them. But Aeon must figure out how to escape. He’s traveling incognito and doesn’t think that his captors realize who he is.

Will I stick with this? Maybe. It feels like a decent escapist science fiction romance. Holly is showing some spunk, the prince is showing some ethics, and I’m curious to see what happens next.

If you like your romances with some science fiction dressing, savor a good I-don’t-like-you-but-I-have-to-put-up-with-you beginning, and enjoy a pinch of politics, you might like this story.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

4. Elizabeth of Rosepath by Kelly River

This is the first of three books in The Book of Roses historical fantasy series. 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 E.S. Foster:

Elizabeth and her family, including her half-brother, live in a run-down rented cottage on the outskirts of Green Grange, a castle and lands owned by Sir Luke.

She discovers her brother has stolen one of Sir Luke’s old, neglected horses. When Elizabeth returns home, she comes face-to-face with Sir Luke, who orders her to take him to her brother so he can punish him for the theft. Elizabeth suggests her brother is with the other village children at the old gallows.

Sir Luke confronts the brother, who isn’t about to back down.

Then we meet Kaylein, who’s the daughter of a nobleman. She and her servants are out in the village for the day, and as soon as Sir Luke starts harassing Elizabeth and her brother, she runs and gets her mother. Meanwhile, Elizabeth has been screaming her head off and forcing herself to vomit so that her brother has a chance to escape. Thankfully, it looks like Elizabeth’s brother is safe for now.

Then the story skips to nearly five years later. Elizabeth has been punished for her brother’s theft, and is now one of the maids in the castle and she’s able to buy a plot of land with the money she saved. But when she gets the deed and goes to inspect the property, but she’s so excited that she doesn’t notice a body in the weeds nearby.

I’ve always been a fan of fantasy authors exploring feudalism and other types of government, so it was fun to see the worldbuilding in this story.

There was a lot of exposition at certain points, which slowed down the pace a bit. But Elizabeth missing the body was enough to make me want to keep reading and find out what happens next.

If you’re a fan of history, fantasy, or feudalism, check out this series this weekend.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

3. The Darkest Winter by Lindsey Pogue

This is the first of seven books in Savage North Chronicles post-apocalyptic science fiction series. The other books are $3.99 to $5.99 each and are not in Kindle Unlimited. This is the author’s sixth time on our Free Friday list. We previous reviewed this book in September 2022. We also reviewed other books by this author —  Dust and Shadow in July of 2022, After the Ending in May of 2022 and City of Ruin in June of 2023.

From Maria Korolov:

I’m not a fan of post-apocalyptic novels. As far as I’m concerned, reality is already apocalyptic enough. But in the foreword, the authors talks about the research they did on environmental issues and life in Alaska, and I’m intrigued.

The book starts out with Elle in a car, upside down, and in pain. There’s been an accident.

Then we jump back four months prior. Elle is talking her to a psychiatrist about her sleep paralysis. She has nightmares about her stepfather standing over her bed, watching her. Now her stepfather is dead, and she inherited his estate in Alaska. At the end of the session, she decides to go and visit the old house.

The next chapter is from the point of view of Jackson, whose wife is pregnant with their first baby. They’ve had three miscarriages so far, and are worried about the pregnancy. Jackson is from a regional Indigenous group, and a police officer.

Then we come back to Elle. She’s driving to Eagle River, near Anchorage, back to the house where she grew up. She plans to sell it as quickly as she can.

The book starts slowly, but the writing is excellent and atmospheric, and Elle is a compelling character. Despite the slow pace, I’m getting sucked in. This isn’t my genre, but I might stick with this book.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

2. The Last Farm House by Colton Lively

This is a standalone post-apocalypse EMP thriller book. This author has been our Free Friday list many times. We reviewed Winter Homestead in March 2024, The Green Brook Homestead in January 2024, The Renbrook Homestead in June 2023, and Desolation’s Diary in August 2023.

From Alex Korolov:

This is an EMP story, where an electromagnetic pulse wipes out all electronic devices and causes a massive disruption in people’s day-to-day lives. Fans of post-apocalyptic fiction might enjoy reading this one, but it’s a bit of a snoozer in my opinion.

In the first chapter, we’re introduced to 27-year-old Kimberly Holmes. She works as a lawyer at a New York City law firm. Kimberly has a creepy coworker named Ned, who constantly hits on her, and a brother named Collin, who’s an entrepreneur. He’s opening a new club that night, and Kimberly’s planning to meet him there after work to support his business venture.

While she’s waiting for an Uber to take her home so she can get ready to go to her brother’s club, her friend bumps into her and they catch up for a little while.

The next couple of chapters are all about mundane stuff that goes on in Kimberly’s life. We get introduced to her brother, she hangs out with a friend, she chats with the neighbors in her building, and so on. But, unfortunately, no exciting EMP action.

Most EMP stories I’ve reviewed have the EMP hit right at the beginning or at least close to the start of the story. I read through four chapters of this one without too much of anything exciting happening at all, and certainly no EMP.

That’s as far as I got in this reading, and that’s enough for me on this book. I like a little more action right from the get go, and this one took too long for my tastes.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

1. The Alchemist of Paris by M.C. Dulac

This is the first of five books in The Alchemist’s Passage fantasy series. The other books are normally $3.99 each but are on sale today for $0.99 — and are all in Kindle Unlimited. This is the author’s first time on our Free Friday list.

From Terri Wells:

By the time I made it through the prelude, which takes place in present day Paris, I knew I’d want to finish this book.

We meet Ellie, a research student of plant biology with a mysterious client. The client read her article on medicinal herbs and has been paying her well to complete interesting assignments to get him certain rare and unusual plants. He sent Ellie to Paris with a two-hundred-year-old diary and a mission—to find the house described in the journal. But the house, its plans, its paper trail have all been lost. Even Google Maps can’t find it.

Ellie is ready to give up, until her charming client encourages her to read the journal more closely and keep looking. The journal writer, Elise, was a maid and the house’s owner was an alchemist. His laboratory on the house’s grounds had burned down shortly before the maid finished the journal. But what specifically happened all those years ago to make the house so hard to find two centuries later?

Ellie finds the house, and it’s clear no one has lived there for a very long time. There is a building-sized scorched area on the garden grounds, with an ugly chemical smell.

Then we switch to the journal, and thus the maid’s point of view.

If you’ve ever read stories written in the 1800s, you’ll be comfortable with the change in the style of language.

We learn Elsie loves helping some monks in their medicinal garden and almost disappears into the forest trying to find an ingredient for a monk’s recipe. She returns triumphant and keeps that feeling close to her heart even when the nuns punish her. I very much related to this character.

In March 1820, a storm overturns a carriage outside the convent where Elise sleeps. An older wealthy man dies from his injuries, but the younger man has a broken leg and is in shock and Elise helps one of the monks treat him. From information mentioned earlier in the book, he’s the owner of the estate Ellie was hired to locate.

The man is a difficult patient, which Elise spends more time with than she’d like. Still, it builds up her confidence, and the monks trust her more and more with medicines. Around the time she turns eighteen, the convent receives a letter from the man. He wants her to work at his estate in Paris as a maid. She’s less than thrilled, to say the least, but she’s an orphan at the convent, and he’s giving the convent and the monastery a handsome sum of money plus new books. She can’t say no.

When she arrives in Paris, she learns she’s staying in just one of her benefactor’s houses. Her benefactor is very wealthy indeed. This particular large estate is rented to Albert Price, the alchemist.

So far, it’s so well written that I genuinely feel like I’m there. The viewpoint characters are sympathetic and relatable, even through two hundred years of time.

If you like mysteries, Gothic-style stories, period pieces, intrigue, and stories that take their time building the world, you’ll enjoy spending time with this book.

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

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.

Terri Wells (she/her) has been writing stories ever since she could hold a pencil, and editing written work of all kinds for nearly half her life. When not editing, she can be found eyeballs-deep exploring other worlds, or elbows-deep in her latest fibery project.

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.

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.

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.

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