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Did you know that Amazon has a list of the top-selling and free sci-fi and fantasy books? The list changes constantly — authors 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 Friday videos — email me at [email protected].
10. The Ancients by Nathan Hystad
This is the fourth of 21 books in The Survivors alien invasion series. The other books are $0.99 to $4.99 each but they’re all in Kindle Unlimited — and, today, the first nine books are all free and books ten through 20 are all on sale for $0.99. Book 20 was just released this week, and book 21 is due out next October but is available for pre-order.
From Alex Korolov:
Since I’m planning to read this series, and don’t want to spoil it for myself, I’m reading the first book, The Event, which is also free today.
The story is set in the present day United States.
The Event starts out by telling us that the ships came at dawn. That’s an attention grabber!
The story is told in the first person by Dean, who thinks the announcement is a War of the Worlds-style hoax when he hears it on the radio, but he sees it’s the truth when he turns on the television to watch the news.
There are huge black box-shaped alien ships floating above all of the world’s metropolises, according to the news.
Dean can even see six smaller alien ships from his own house, and he can see the huge black box hovering over NYC even though he lives 100 miles northwest.
Dean suddenly remembers that he has to go get a pendant that his dead wife told him years ago he has to wear when the aliens arrive, but it’s not at the house.
Over the course of the next few chapters, Dean heads out into the streets, where things are starting to get chaotic, but he does make it to the storage unit where his dead wife’s pendant is kept.
We learn through a series of flashbacks that Dean’s wife died of something akin to tuberculosis, and warned him on her death bed that the aliens would come and he must wear the pendant when they do.
This is a great start to a series, and I can see myself continuing to read on. Who are these aliens, why are they here, and what’s their plan for humanity? I sure would like to find out.
9. Unleashed by Dirk Patton
This is the first of 19 books in the V Plague postapocalyptic series. The other books are $3.99 to $5.99 each but they’re all in Kindle Unlimited.
From Alex Korolov:
Unleashed is an action-packed post-apocalyptic thriller — and I do mean action-packed.
I only read the first two chapters, but a lot happened very quickly, and I was instantly hooked.
The story is told from a first-person perspective. The main character, who doesn’t say his name — it’s John Chase if you read the book description on Amazon — is on a routine business trip and flying in to Atlanta.
After he lands at the airport, he sees there are a bunch of cops everywhere, but it seems like the internet and phone lines are down, so he can’t really get the news or call home to find out what’s happening.
He checks in to his hotel and goes to his nearby company office, which has functioning internet, but doesn’t find out anything new, so he goes back to his hotel, eats dinner, and goes to sleep.
When John wakes up, he turns on the TV and finds one working news channel.
It turns out that New York City has been destroyed by a nuclear bomb, a bunch of other cities have been bombed, and pretty much every major city has been sprayed by a nerve agent that’s instantly turning people into zombies. And then the power goes out in John’s room. So yeah, a lot happens quickly.
I definitely plan to finish this book. I suspect the whole book will be fast-paced, and there should be a lot of crazy adventures coming up for John Chase that I don’t want to miss.
8. Druid Magic by C. S. Churton
This is the first of three books in the Druid Academy young adult academy fantasy series. The other books are $3.99 each but they’re both in Kindle Unlimited.
From Romel Madray:
Druid Magic is intended for teens, young adults and is a coming of age urban fantasy book.
The book is written in first person point of view. It opens with Lyssa Eldridge, the heroine, receiving a rejection letter from Bristol University, which escalates into a “What are you doing with your life talk?” from her dad.
At the end of the first chapter she receives a mysterious letter Dragondale Academy of Druidic Magic, accepting her into their Academy.
It starts out similar to the Harry Potter or Percy Jackson series and follows the standard hero’s journey plot. Having a standardized plot makes the book very immersive and along with fluid and clear writing creates an easy read.
I would give it a seven out of ten and would continue with it once I have some spare time.
7. Elemental Academy by D.K. Holmberg
This is the first three of seven books in the Elemental Academy fantasy series. The other books are $3.99 to $4.99 each but they’re all in Kindle Unlimited.
D.K. Homberg has been on this list before. In November, we reviewed The Teralin Sword, a box set of the first three of six books in The Teralin Sword sword and sorcery fantasy series. In September, we reviewed his The Lost Prophecy box set. We reviewed The Cloud Warrior Saga box set back in July, and, later that same month, Path of the Flame, the first of five books in The Dragon Thief coming of age fantasy series. This past May, we reviewed Unbonded, the first of five books in the First of the Blades epic fantasy series. Finally, in April, we reviewed The Risen Shard, the first of eight books in The Chain Breaker epic fantasy series.
From Christina Brown:
The Elemental Academy series starts with The Fire Within and introduces Tolan. He’s a carpenter’s apprentice without any elemental power of his own. He’s destined to live a simple life, but comfortable. Those that have the power of the elements must be contained in an elemental bond, to keep them from causing too much trouble.
When a rogue elemental wreaks havoc on the forest, inquisitors from the academy come in to question Tolan and his friends since he decided to investigate and finds out he is able to sense them in ways others can’t. It seems Tolan has more ability than he thought.
It’s been a fun read so far, but nothing that really sets it apart from the other fantasies I’ve read to make me keep going. But if you’re looking for something that has a Lord of the Rings feel with some potential for a Harry Potter-esque magic school you might enjoy this.
6. New Alliance by Nathan Hystad
This is the seventh of 21 books in The Survivors alien invasion series. The other books are $0.99 to $4.99 each but they’re all in Kindle Unlimited — and, today, the first nine books are all free and books ten through 20 are all on sale for $0.99. Book 20 was just released this week, and book 21 is due out next October but is available for pre-order.
From Alex Korolov:
As I mentioned in my review above for The Ancients, I’m not reading the later books in the series because I’m still working my way through the first one.
If you like thrillers, first contact or alien invasion stories, definitely pick up the first book in The Survivors series — The Event — and check it out. If you like it, this is your chance to grab nearly the whole best-selling series at a very, very low price. Just act fast — the free and $.99 promotions typically don’t run long.
I just wanted to add that the author is dominating the free sci-fi and fantasy bestseller list on Amazon today, with several of the books in the series on this list. Not all are in the top ten section, but if you scroll down the Amazon page, you’ll see a few more — unless Amazon has already redone the rankings since the time I wrote this.
5. The Gatekeepers by Nathan Hystad
This is the eighth of 21 books in The Survivors alien invasion series. The other books are $0.99 to $4.99 each but they’re all in Kindle Unlimited — and, today, the first nine books are all free and books ten through 20 are all on sale for $0.99. Book 20 was just released this week, and book 21 is due out next October but is available for pre-order.
From Alex Korolov:
Since I’m avoiding spoiling the story for you guys — and for myself — let’s look at what else the author’s written.
Turns out, if you like his writing style, there’s a lot more where that came from.
Nathan Hystad has written over thirty novels total, with hundreds of thousands of books sold. If you like his writing, you should also check out Lost Contact, the first of three books in The Bridge Sequence, another near-future sci-fi series of first contact. We reviewed it this past August.
He’s also written some mystery thrillers.
4. New Horizon by Nathan Hystad
This is the ninth of 21 books in The Survivors alien invasion series. The other books are $0.99 to $4.99 each but they’re all in Kindle Unlimited — and, today, the first nine books are all free and books ten through 20 are all on sale for $0.99. Book 20 was just released this week, and book 21 is due out next October but is available for pre-order.
From Alex Korolov:
This guy again! With yet another book in the same series. From the cover, it looks like the action is moving to outer space somewhere — but I’m going to avoid any spoilers and not even look at the description on the book’s Amazon page.
Instead, let’s find out more about the author.
The author’s website, NathanHystad.com, says that he lives outside of Edmonton, Alberta, with his wife, dog, and piles of books.
He also has a newsletter for his fans — and people who sign up will get a free copy of his book Lights Over Cloud Lake. It’s a full-length novel with hundreds of positive reviews, billed as “Gone Girl meets the X-Files.” Its about a reporter investigating a series of UFO sightings. The book is normally $13, but if you don’t want to subscribe to the newsletter, it’s on sale today as well, for $0.99.
You can also follow him on Facebook at @NathanHystadAuthor.
3. Broken Chains by Demelza Carlton
This is the first of three books in the Heart of Stone urban fantasy series. The other books are $4.99 and $5.99 each and they’re not in Kindle Unlimited. This isn’t the first time the book has been on this list — we previously reviewed it this past July.
In fact, Demelza Carlton is a frequent flier on this list. This past October, we reviewed Ocean’s Justice, the first book in the six-book Siren of War fantasy series. In September, we reviewed Heart of Steel, the first of five books in the Heart of Steel paranormal romance series.
We also reviewed several books in her 27-book Romance a Medieval Fairytale series. In July, we reviewed Embellish: Brave Little Tailor Retold. Hunt: Red Riding Hood Retold, we reviewed in April, and, also that month, we reviewed Blow: Three Little Pigs Retold, then, in May, we reviewed Melt: Snow Queen Retold and, in September of 2021, Dance: Cinderella Retold. A box set of the first three books in the series was also on this list this past April.
From Amira Loutfi:
This is a fast, easy read. The protagonist is a wimpy grad student who doesn’t know what study to dedicate herself to. I had trouble suspending my disbelief, and there wasn’t even any magic in the opening scene.
The perspective switches to a mysterious creature that had been buried for years — he has been told that when it’s time to awaken there will be a call. I’m not sure what “awaken” or “call” really means in this story just yet. But the mysterious creature wakes up to the sound of rocks moving about, not a call. So he waits.
One night, a stranger starts chasing the grad student, accusing her of theft. She runs, and cries for help. The mysterious creature hears it and comes bursting through the rock to go save her.
It’s ok, just not for me.
2. Runes of Issalia by Jeffrey L. Kohanek
This is the complete three book box set of the Runes of Issalia epic fantasy series. It includes book one, The Buried Symbol, book two, The Emblem Throne, and book three, An Empire in Runes, as well as “Icon,” a story of the aftermath.
From Terrence Smith:
Brock is a teenager who lives in the working class district of the city of Kantar, with his father, a tanner, and his ailing aunt. The boy is a thief who breaks in to businesses at night to steal money to care for her. The family already lost Brock’s mom, and since then, Brock’s father has emotionally walled himself off, and buries himself in his work. Eventually, the teen finds a way to get himself enrolled in a magic academy for future leaders of the Empire.
The prose is beautiful. It captures the ethereal aura of the landscape, just like all great fantasy should. The description of a town shop bathed in blue streetlights under the mist of night is an especially eerie image.
The character relationships are established well at the beginning of the story, along with the rules of the system in which the characters live. The society within Kantar is built on a caste system, where people are given a rune on their forehead to mark them for a profession. Brock and his aunt are “Unchosen,” essentially the lowest caste system in Kantar society.
The writing is very pleasant to read, and you start feeling for the characters early on, as the father and the son do not see eye to eye. While Brock is a thief, he does have a moral compass. The shop he steals from early on is run by a drug dealer, which he suspected the owner of being and “abusing” his abilities for.
1. Broken Ascension by Dave Walsh
This is the first of six books in the Trystero space opera series. The other books are $4.99 each and are not in Kindle Unlimited. The sixth book isn’t out yet. It is scheduled to be released at the end of this month and is available for pre-order.
From Melody Friedenthal:
On the salvage freighter Trystero we have the captain Valencia Vasquez, as well as a couple of crew members.
They find a derelict Gra’al ship, which we’re told is self-healing. Gra’al breathe the same air as humans, however they have green blood – sounds like Vulcans, no?
All of the Gra’al crew have been shot and are dead, except one and that one has been stabbed and is barely alive.
The injured Gra’al points frantically to something and the humans retrieve it, a tube which they bring back to the Trystero, along with the injured alien.
I dislike it when a story tells me something twice so I was annoyed when, opening the tube, they discover a Gra’al baby, and a few lines later, the captain tells us again that it’s a “baby Gra’al.” Yup. Got it. A better writer would have saved that surprise to the final line in the chapter.
So far the plot is interesting even though the “motley crew looking for salvage in space” theme is fairly common — see Joss Whedon’s Firefly, which used it in a more professional way.
The captain comes off as uncaptain-like – what kind of captain leaves important decisions to democratic vote?
The humans attempt to hand off the baby alien to the human consul on a space station but said consul is belligerently uninterested in taking on the responsibility or getting in the middle of a Gra’al territorial dispute.
Then other aliens attack and our intrepid crew gets in the middle anyway.
I like the idea of a story revolving around an alien baby, but this particular story is not holding my interest. I’m not going to read any further.
Have you read any of these books? Are you planning to? Let us know in the comments!
And watch Maria, Terrence and Romel discuss all ten books in the video below: