Free Friday: Today’s top free Amazon sci-fi and fantasy books for Sep. 1, 2023

Reading Time: 16 minutes
Free Friday: Today’s top free Amazon sci-fi and fantasy books for September 1, 2023

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].

10. The Soul Thief by Kim Richardson

This is the first of four books in The Horizon Chronicles urban fantasy series. The other books are $2.99 to $3.99 each, and the series is not in Kindle Unlimited. This is the author’s first time on our Free Friday list.

From Tim McHugh:

This book tells the supernatural story of a young mortal girl who dies, starting her new life as a guardian angel. While I love pretty much all speculative fiction (outside of romance), this one is a bit outside my wheelhouse. I don’t usually read post-death supernatural books but I am intrigued by the premise.

In the first chapter, seventeen year-old high school student, Alexa, falls down the stairs and dies. Before she even realizes she is dead, she finds herself in an afterlife she hadn’t expected; it isn’t quite heaven or hell, but a type of ministry, comprised of Guardian Angels. The Guardian Angels protect mortal souls from demons who walk the earth, and Alexa has been selected for service.

We skip forward one year to Alexa’s first day out of training. She had spent the year acclimating to her new life and learning to fight, spy, and protect. The next two chapters see Alexa sent on her first assignment, to investigate a murder where no soul could be found. Alexa goes down to the mortal world and discovers that a demon has been preying on mortals, sucking their souls from their body. Alexa fights off the demon and kills it, but in its death throes, the demon curses her and warns of a deeper evil that will soon take down all the guardian angels.

This book has a very interesting premise; I like the idea of a Legion of Angels that fights evil and think it has potential here to be done very well. I mostly like the writing, it is very good aside from a couple of complaints I have. The author over-explains emotions at times which is a pet-peeve of mine; I don’t like to have things spelled-out for me because it takes the tension away. There is also some corny dialogue during the fight scene, but besides that, I mostly like the dialogue as well.

If you like this premise, I’d bet that you would like this book and even if it’s not your usual genre, it still is worth checking out.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

9. Night of the Zandians by Renee Rose and Rebel West

This is the first of eight books in the Zandian Brides science fiction romance series. The other books are normally $3.99 each, but they are all free today. And they’re also all in Kindle Unlimited. This is the first time either of these authors have appeared on our Free Friday list, but Renee Rose is a USA Today-bestselling author and has won a bunch of awards — and sold millions of copies.

From Maria Korolov:

Okay, first, to get it out of the way — I’m not the target reader of these books. I really, really, really dislike the alien brides trope. This the one where human women are forced, for some truly ridiculous and contrived reason, to marry sexy alien guys. And, as a general rule, these alien guys are usually the dumb warrior type, even though they’ve mastered intergalactic travel technology, and never wear shirts. Also, they’re sexually compatible with human women and the only physical difference is something minor, that doesn’t hurt their sex appeal. For example, judging by the cover, these particular alien dudes are purple.

This is an extremely popular sub-genre on Amazon, probably because the books typically feature plenty of explicit sex. And who doesn’t want some explicit sex in their leisure reading?

If you’re a guy reading this review, don’t dismiss this genre out of hand. The authors’ names are female but that doesn’t mean that they’re women. It’s a hot-selling genre, and I’m sure plenty of guys are writing these books, too. And the viewpoints generally switch back and forth between the male and the female leads, so there’s something for everyone. Think of it as a book-length Penthouse letter, but with a sci-fi plot.

Okay. I take a nice, deep breath, and drive in.

Riya’s planet was raped and ruined a thousand years ago by some evil aliens and now she’s on Zandia, where her people have been promised a refuge. A place where they can be free. Riya is human. She and the other humans, together with the local Zandians, are expected to repopulate this planet, now that the Zandians have taken it back. The humans don’t have a choice. There’s no place else in the galaxy can go where their freedom will be recognized.

But in order to stay on Zandia, they’ll have to become Zandian brides. Because there are no Zandian females left. She thinks one of the alien warriors is hot, but she runs and hides anyway, because she is not interested in becoming a broodmare for the aliens.

Then we switch to the point of view of Tarren, the alien she thought was sexy.

He plans to claim Riya before anyone else does even though he doesn’t want a female. Oh, and he’ll have to share her with his two cousins. But the only way they can get a homestead is to find a human female to join them. Luckily, both his cousins want Riya, too.

The language is very explicit.

And it is very, very readable. And very sexy. I can see why all these books have just dominated the top list today. Am I going to stick with it? Not that I’ll admit to publicly.

I’m also getting the feeling that there’s some backstory that I’m missing, namely about how the Zandians won their planet back. Are there any earlier books? Yes, yes there are. Looks like there’s a prequel series, Zandian Masters, that has ten books in it. Those books are $2.99 to $9.99 each and are not in Kindle Unlimited — and the first one has nearly 4,000 five-star reviews on Amazon.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

8. Domino Theory by Christopher White and Monica Porta

This is the first of three books in the Domino post apocalyptic science fiction series. The other books are $5.99 each but are both in Kindle Unlimited. We previously reviewed this book in October of 2022.

From Lily Jones:

The book is set in a future U.S. west coast ravaged by ecological disaster. The seas have risen and temperatures soar in areas not protected by climate-controlled domes. An event has occurred sometime between our current present and the 2081 setting of the book that seems to have split the human population into new species and the U.S. cities as we know them have become independent districts.

This book gets right into the action. The first chapter opens with one of our main characters, Iris, running from two thugs who want to capture her for unknown crimes to the Central Protectorate, the authority in charge of enforcing law and order in 2081 Los Angeles, now the Greater Los Angeles District. Iris narrowly avoids capture by submerging herself in the polluted water of Venice Beach, risking severe chemical burns. She then takes refuge in an abandoned storage room and calls her best friend Luke to come rescue her, since an ankle injury sustained in the chase has left her with limited mobility.

Meanwhile in Cascadia, our second main character, Xander, is arrested for beating up a man who made hateful remarks towards a mother and her daughter of a different human-adjacent species. He is taken to one of the police stations in New Seattle, where we learn that this is not his first run-in with the law. The magistrate in charge of Xander’s case is unsympathetic and tells him he’s shaming his high-profile political family. We finish the chapter waiting to hear which of two punishment options Xander chooses from.

As a fan of climate fiction, I was immediately excited by the dystopian setting of Domino Theory. The prose is straightforward and the pacing is pretty quick. I prefer to learn about a world as I go, so the sparse hints at the rules of this new society and quick start to the action are things that I appreciate, but if you’re someone who likes to have all of the backstory for a world upfront, you may find the lack of exposition frustrating. Iris and Luke are both likable characters who have a really sweet friendship, and Xander’s bad-boy persona seems to be motivated — so far — by good intentions and a desire for justice. I can definitely see myself finishing this book.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

7. The Soulweaver by Heidi Catherine

This is the first of three books in The Soulweaver fantasy romance series. The other books are $2.99 to $4.99 each but they’re both in Kindle Unlimited. The author has been on our Free Friday list before. This past March, we reviewed The Whisperers of Evernow, the first of five books in The Kingdoms of Evernow epic fantasy series. 

From Alex Mueller:

This books begins much the same way as a horror movie, with a young couple making out in a secluded forest before they’re attacked by the killer. In this case the killer is a teenager with a knife.

So far so good, and there’s an interesting twist when logic stops working.

Instead of trying to run away, the couple gets into a fight over who gets to be the human shield. The twist gets more twisted because instead of trying to force the other to be the shield, the two halves of this couple keep trying to jump in front of the kid with the knife and be the one who gets stabbed. It’s weird.

It’s also all superfluous because our protagonist, the girl in the couple, decides to just give up and die of a heart attack.

It’s a very anticlimactic death.

We get to learn a little bit about the after life though, so that’s interesting. Reincarnation is a thing and people, or at least souls, don’t stay dead, so that’s pretty neat.

Those dead souls also get to hang out on Earth for a little while to say goodbye to their loved ones which was a nice touch.

And that’s basically it. The dead girl spends the rest of her time hanging out with her still-living boyfriend.

Honestly, this kind of book isn’t my thing. The beginning is confusing, and the death of our protagonist is just boring. It’s all just kind of … meh. It takes a long time for anything interesting to happen, and when it does it isn’t really worth the wait.

What this book does well is describe the plight of a person who has suffered a serious loss. We get to see mourning and recovery, and anyone who has suffered the tragedy of losing a loved one will find the characters relatable. Even so, it was not a fun read for me, so I don’t plan on continuing with this book.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

6. The Hundred Halls by Thomas K. Carpenter

This is a box set of the first three books in the five-book The Hundred Halls magic academy series. The other two books are $6.99 each, and the series is not in Kindle Unlimited. This is the author’s first time on our Free Friday list.

From Terrence Smith:

Aurie and Pi are two young sisters in the city of Invictus. The universe this city inhabits is much like the real world, with mobile phones and Diet Cokes, but magic is common place as well.

The magic system in this universe is similar to the magic in Harry Potter or the Force in Star Wars. Anyone can have the ability, but it requires proper training to wield, otherwise, chaos breaks out.

The two sisters are orphaned and are both working to support themselves — and to get into the magic school of their dreams. The only problem is that Aurie loses her job at the hospital because the entitled daughter of the director complained that she knocked her over to save a patient from getting hurt. Oh, and Pi leases her soul for three years to pass the test to get into magic school.

Almost instantly, you start to care for the two sisters. Aurie loves the kids at the hospital and it pains her that she is not able to say goodbye after unceremoniously being given the boot. Pi steps in to help people who are being mistreated even when she does her best to mind her own business and focus on her own concerns.

I do not anticipate continuing with the book, but it is an interesting story, a fusion of the magical school and urban fantasy subgenres. Anyone who is a fan of those types of stories might want to check it out.

Get the Kindle ebook box set free from Amazon here.

5. Bought by the Zandians by Renee Rose and Rebel West

This is the second of eight books in the Zandian Brides science fiction romance series. The other books are normally $3.99 each, but they are all free today. And they’re also all in Kindle Unlimited. This is is the first time either of these authors have appeared on our Free Friday list.

From Maria Korolov:

This is a romance series, so the main characters change with each book. That way, you get a fresh new meet-cute every time and a fresh new happily every after.

This book features Danica, who has escaped from the evil alien who had kept her as a slave. These are the same evil aliens who destroyed Riya’s home planet a thousand years ago. Remember her from book one? They’re different aliens from the Zandians. The Zandians are the good aliens.

Anyway, since Danica is an escaped slave, there’s a bounty on her. She’s been caught, and is being auctioned off. She just hopes that nobody will check her barcode, discover the bounty, and turn her over to her former owner.

Then some Zandian warriors show up. She’s heard of them. They just took back their home planet with a tiny army. They’re purple with horns. Oh, I must have missed the horns when I was reading the previous book. She doesn’t want them to buy her, but she also does, because she’s attracted to them. They haggle over her, buy her, and one of them slings her over his shoulder and carries her off.

Then, as before, we switch to one of the aliens’ point of view in the next chapter.

His name is Benn and he and his buddy Gorde have been traveling around the galaxy looking for any surviving Zandians so they can bring them home. They’re hoping to find a Zandian female, but I guess a human woman will do as well.

He plans to clean Danica up, have sex with her, and sell her for a nice profit.

Again, this is a totally ridiculous premise. I hate the idea of slavery as a romantic trope, and the whole multiple boyfriends thing — too much drama! But I have to admit that this book is very, very, very hot.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

4. Mastered by the Zandians by Renee Rose and Rebel West

This is the third of eight books in the Zandian Brides science fiction romance series. The other books are normally $3.99 each, but they are all free today. And they’re also all in Kindle Unlimited. This is the first time either of these authors have appeared on our Free Friday list.

From Maria Korolov:

Okay, I know what to expect now. New female protagonist, new male leads, new settings, but the same universe.

This time, our protagonist is Mirelle, who’s trying to rescue some human slaves from the evil aliens. She’s just lost the auction for a human woman and her child, and she’s trying to get them to come with her quickly, when some Zandians show up. The ones who outbid her. She wants the humans to run away with her, where she can take them to a planet where humans can be free. Instead of being slaves on Zandia.

The two slaves make it into her ship, but the Zandian warrior catches her before she can board. The two of them fight. Mirelle is dressed like a man, so the Zandian thinks she’s trying to steal the slaves from him. She manages to escape from him and blasts off on her ship. But she knows that the Zandians will pursue her.

Then we switch to the point of view of Lanz, one of the Zandian warriors.  His friend Archer, another Zandian, is mad because he had spent his entire life savings buying the slaves. So they’re going to chase across the galaxy if they have to to get their slaves back. And Mirelle, too.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

3. Stolen by the Zandian by Renee Rose and Rebel West

This is the seventh of eight books in the Zandian Brides science fiction romance series. The other books are normally $3.99 each, but they are all free today. And they’re also all in Kindle Unlimited. This is the first time either of these authors have appeared on our Free Friday list.

From Maria Korolov:

Okay, we’re skipping around in the timeline a bit here. Hope I don’t find out anything that spoils the story!

This book begins with Kailani, a slave who’s going to be auctioned off tomorrow. If she doesn’t escape before then, she’s dead.

The evil aliens want to reverse-engineer her because she’s got antiviral properties that can eliminate disease in their human slaves. As a result, she’s the most valuable commodity in the galaxy. For another day, at least. Until the evil aliens dissect her.

But she’s got some advantages. She has bio-enhanced muscles and tendons that allow her to climb surfaces unscalable by normal humans. That’s how she was able to climb up to the top of the wall in her holding cell and peer out through a peephole. She can also see in the dark. The downside is that there’s a drug she has to take in order to stay functional. Her captors plan to withhold it from her until just before the auction. They want the buyers to see that she’s functional — but want her to suffer until then, so that she’s more pliable. She can already feel the crippling migraines starting. She’s got about fifteen minutes before she’s writing in agony. And she can’t think of any way to escape. The cell is impenetrable. Then the pain washes over her.

Then we switch to the point of view of Khrys, who, I’m assuming, if the pattern holds, is a sexy Zandian warrior who likes to go around shirtless.

Apparently, all the half-human, half-Zandian youngsters on Zandia are sick and nobody’s been able to find a cure. So folks are under a lot of stress.

Khrys himself has made a big mistake, a ship crashed, and he’s been fired from his job as Spacecraft Training Commander.

He’s devastated. For a Zandian, honor is everything. But he’s got a plan to redeem himself. He sees the advertisement for Kailani’s auction and notices the mention of her blood antibodies. The only trouble is that she’s been sold for an astronomical amount — enough to buy a whole planet. He doesn’t think he’ll be able to get permission to go and rescue her. So his plan is to borrow a Zandian crystal and use it to buy the woman.

It seems like a pretty stupid plan. He really should let the king know about her, so they can send competent warriors to get her, instead of going off on his own, without backup, and without permission. I hate it when characters act like idiots.

Hold on, what am I saying? Why am I getting so invested here? It’s like I almost forgot that I’m going going to be reading these books!

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

2. Zandian Lights by Renee Rose and Rebel West

This is the fourth of eight books in the Zandian Brides science fiction romance series. The other books are normally $3.99 each, but they are all free today. And they’re also all in Kindle Unlimited. This is the first time either of these authors have appeared on our Free Friday list.

From Maria Korolov:

Okay, in this one, we meet Kianna. She repairs stuff for a Zandian warrior. And since he’s her boss, he’s allowed to discipline her, physically, if she doesn’t obey him. Her human friends have told her that the discipline is in the form of sexual punishment, which she thinks is better than what she suffered before at the hands of her previous owners — shock-sticks and starvation.

So far, her owner Mykl hasn’t touched her. He doesn’t even like being her boss. He doesn’t like humans. And he doesn’t trust her to be able to fix things, even though she’s very good at it. But, of course, she’s extremely attracted to him, even if he doesn’t reciprocate. She’s been on Zandia longest without selecting a mate. There a couple of other Zandian warriors who’ve made their interest known, but she’s got her eye set on Mykl.

Anyway, the Zandians are working on some kind of energy batteries to capture Zandia’s near-magical radiation, and Kianna is helping with it. There’s a powerful surge coming soon, called the Zandian Lights, and everyone is very excited about it. The Zandians and humans will bask in the energy, find mates, celebrate.

Then we switch to Mykl’s point of view. And we get a little update about what happened to Mirelle from the previous book. I’m going to stop reading now, since I don’t want to spoil anything for myself. I mean, for you. I don’t want to spoil things for other people who will read these books. Not for me.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

1. Rescued by the Zandian by Renee Rose and Rebel West

This is the last of eight books in the Zandian Brides science fiction romance series. The other books are normally $3.99 each, but they are all free today. And they’re also all in Kindle Unlimited. This is the first time either of these authors have appeared on our Free Friday list.

From Maria Korolov:

This is the last book in this series, but all the other books are free today as well, just not on the top ten list.

This particular book is, again, set on Zandia, and the female lead is Sia, who’s been recently rescued from death by a Zandian warrior. She was previously a pleasure slave, owned by the evil aliens, who are disgusting blobs of creatures, so she’s never been interested in males before. But she’s attracted to the Zandian.

Her memories of her life before are hazy. She remembers being beaten and left to die on a defunct planet. Anyway, the Zandian tells her that she’s now safe and free. Except for the fact that he’s her master and she has to do everything he says and respond to all his commands with “Yes, master” or else he’ll punish her. Punish her sexually, that is.

Then we jump back in time. Sia’s being beaten by the evil aliens. They’re about to kill her when she tells them that she’s an experimental. What’s an experimental?

The evil warriors don’t want to damage any of the experimentals and get in trouble with their commander and stop beating her.

Then we switch to the point of view of Daven. He and his second-in-command are sneaking up on some evil aliens in order to figure out what they’re up to. They’re hiding behind a shack when they hear a weak female voice from inside, asking for help. They decide to take the human with them in order to keep her from telling the evil aliens that that were there — and to find out what intel she knows. Inside the shack, they find several barely-living human women as well as dead bodies of other slaves. They rescue them all and take them off the planet.

Okay, I hate the premise, but I’m very much caught up in the story. I want to find out what an experimental is and what the evil aliens are up to.

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 Alex and Maria discuss all the 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.

Lily Jones is a writer and artist who lives in Pittsburgh, PA.

Alex Mueller is a recent graduate with an honors bachelor in creative writing and publishing, He has been writing since he was six years old. His favorite genres include fantasy, science fiction, and, more recently, romance. When not writing, he enjoys hiking, spending time with his dog -- or anyone else’s -- and baking brownies.

Tim is an aspiring young author in the sci-fi and fantasy genre. He currently works full time in the software industry but has a love for stories with grey characters and moral ambiguity that tell us something about the world.

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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