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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. But are any of the books actually worth reading? Well, I read the first few chapters of each to find out, so you don’t have to.
This week’s list is completely different from those of the previous weeks. So if you’re a fan of free books, it looks like there are going to be new things to read all the time.
I’ve noticed that if you try to open the list on a mobile device, it will take you to the listings that cost money, instead. I’ve found that by switching to the “desktop site” in the mobile browser, the free list comes up.
Oh, and if there’s a book that catches your eye, grab it quickly, since the books are often free for only a short time. And, Amazon allows you to lend your e-books, for free, to your friends. Even free e-books. Here are the instructions.
Most of these books are the first book in the series, and in each case I’ve checked to see whether the rest of the books are free as well, or whether they’re in Kindle Unlimited. Learn more about Kindle Unlimited here.
The list is accurate as of the time of writing, but may have changed since the story was posted.
1. Mercury Blade by James David Victor
This is the first of nine books in the Valyien Far Future space opera series. The other books are $3.99 each and are not in Kindle Unlimited.
From N.T. Narbutovskih:
The main character, Eliard, is the captain of a independent vessel. Instead of routine shipping operations or law-abiding work, however, he is also one of the fastest and best smugglers in the galaxy. But when he decides to double cross a client over a small box of cargo, he winds up in a chase that might decide the fate of the universe.
This book is a solid installment of small crew adventure in a wide range universe. The plot moves along relatively quickly in the opening chapters, and while there is a significant amount of information dumping, it is mostly ignorable. The prologue does not do the rest of the text justice, as it is an overwrought and confusing description, given from an omniscient narrator to the reader, who is supposedly not even actually there.
I’m sure it will come into play later on, however, the prologue was also not immediately connected to the story. I have no issue with this, however if you’re going to use four adjectives in a row I expect some rather rapid repayment for my time and energy.
For fans of stories in the vein of Firefly and Solo, this book is the first step in what I’m sure will be a long journey over nine volumes of swashbuckling, small crew adventure, and pseudo-noir galactic mysteries. If you’re not too picky about excessive use of adverbs and adjectives, you’ll find this a good option for an afternoon of escapism.
2. Covet the Night by Rebecca Main
This is the first book of what will be The Accent of the Wicked fantasy series. Today this book is free, but usually this book is $9.99 and not in Kindle Unlimited.
From Amira Loutfi:
Gwen has accepted an invitation to join a group of immortal vampire sisters. They all sound lovely, with cinnamon, auburn, and ginger hair. They take beauty very seriously, brushing Gwen’s hair very carefully in the opening scene. In order to join and become a vampire, you have to pass three tests. And this sisterhood doesn’t want damaged goods. If there is something wrong with a new recruit, they will kill her and the sister who invited her.
But Gwen is damaged goods. She’s dying of cancer. The sister that extended the invitation knows but embraces the risk. Instead, she found a magical elixir that can keep Gwen alive long enough to make it through the initiation ritual. The elixir wears off quickly after and will leave Gwen very close to death if she doesn’t become a vampire. Later, Gwen finds out that the sister killed the sorcerer who gave her the elixir to keep the secret. And she’s uncomfortable with that. Kind of a placid reaction, right? She accepted this opportunity knowing that the price of immortality as a vampire included someone else’s death.
The first test is to go into a place called the Dark Court and bring back something valuable. The Dark Court is full of magic and danger.
The world-building seems to be inspired by ancient Rome. The writing is ok. I do wonder what will happen at the end. So I might be back.
3. Fractured Souls by Ava Marie Salinger
This is the first of four books in the Fallen Messengers urban fantasy series. The second and third books are $4.99 each and the fourth book will be coming out Jun. 22, 2022. The entire series is in Kindle Unlimited.
From Maria Korolov:
Cassius Black has just been hired to find an old lady’s cat, and he’s down in the sewers looking for it. He’s getting muck on his brand-new jeans. Plus, the cat is demonic. He should have charged her more.
I like the start of this book.
I also like the fact that Cassius plans to either take the cat to a shelter that specializes in demonic animals, or take it somewhere outside the city to release it into the wild. Unless it was too badly hurt, and he had to put it down.
But while down in the sewers, Cassius finds something else. A much bigger demon. One feasting on part of a human body. But he doesn’t want to kill the bigger demon, either. After all, it’s just having a snack. He can tell it didn’t kill the human. He says as much, but the demon attacks anyway and Cassius winds up killing it. He continues on, and finds the rest of the man’s body as well as signs of a black magic ritual. But at least he found the cat.
He’s examining the runes when he hears shouting. A dozen agents with flashlights are closing in on him from all sides. So he grabs the demon cat, spreads his wings, and rises up, smashing through a metal grating and disappearing into the night.
So, I like this so far. I like his snark and his style.
But then. Then he goes back to his penthouse apartment, where his bisexual neighbor is having very loud sex. And the neighbor comes out on the balcony so Cassius can see how well he’s built. And Cassius himself is naked when this happens.
Then the agents track him down. He was seen leaving the sewer and his wings are very distinctive.
I don’t know if I like this or not. It definitely gives off strong Lucifer vibes, and I love that TV show. And I do like the fact that Cassius seems to have adopted the demon cat.
I might stick with this just to see where it’s gong.
4. Savage Lands by Stacey Marie Brown
This is the first of six books in the Savage Lands paranormal urban fantasy series. The other books are $4.99 to $6.99 each and are not in Kindle Unlimited.
From Amira Loutfi:
This dystopian young adult story takes place in a Budapest where Fea have taken over half the city. There is a young woman who loves to rob a train that travels between the two sides at night. She gives her treasures to others, but not out of generosity. Instead, she is merely proud of herself for her thieving skills.
She’s also in love with another gorgeous cadet boy. They grew up together, rob trains together, and are both powerful warriors. The humans live in a walled-off city run by the Human Defense Forces. Err, that kind of reminds me of the Israeli Defense Forces. The Fea and humans have very different feelings about the giant wall … which also reminds me of a certain ongoing political crisis.
Hmm… I don’t know. The real-life Israeli-Palestinian conflict really stresses me out and I wouldn’t want to spend my time in a fantasy world that reminds me of something so frustrating. I can’t not see the similarities.
The writing is good. It sucked me in quickly which is why I chose to review it, but I won’t be back.
5. Consort of Secrets by Eva Chase
This is the first of six books in The Witch’s Consorts romantic fantasy series. The other books are $2.99 to $4.99 each and the entire series is in Kindle Unlimited. This isn’t the first time the author has been on this list. In April of this year, we reviewed Claimed by Gods, the first of four books in her Their Dark Valkyire paranormal romance series. And in March, we reviewed her book Shadow Thief, the first of four books in the Flirting with Monsters paranormal romance series.
From Maria Korolov:
The story is set in the modern day. Rosalind is engaged to Derek. In two months, he’s going to become not only her husband, but her consort in magic. And although she’s nearly 25 she’s never even kissed a guy. She’s her dad’s only heir, so she’s about to become owner, or part owner, of the family estate.
Meanwhile, she’s thinking about her childhood friends, five boys who had a parent who worked on the estate. A couple of them are still in the area. If only she had a way to get in touch without her stepmother finding out. She leaves a signal and one of them climbs a tree up to her window and offers to help her get in touch with the others.
There’s never been anything between them, but now he’s grown up and sexy.
Hold on, this sound suspiciously like a setup for a romance novel… let me go and check. Yup, it’s a romance. Specifically a reverse harem romance. Rosalind is going to end up with all of them. I’m going to nope out of this one. Not because I’m opposed to the principle of the girl ending up with all the boys — why not? — but because I don’t like all this mushy romantic stuff. Yup, I’ve got a heart of coal. That’s me. Give me murder and mayhem instead, any time.
6. Tangled Dreams by Cecilia Dominic
This is the first of three books in the Dream Weavers & Truth Seekers urban fantasy series. The other books are $2.99 to $4.07. The second book is in Kindle Unlimited but the third book is not.
From Maria Korolov:
Audrey is a journalist and works for her brother at the newspaper. She has a crush on a local cop. But she won’t ask the cop out — she doesn’t date cops because they might not come home. Like her dad. Instead, she’s dating Kyle, a medical resident who doesn’t treat her well.
Then she starts hearing voices, a mother screaming for a missing baby. And seeing things, like winged fairies in line at the coffee shop.
Of course, it’s all real. And there’s an organization called the Truth Seekers, which is dedicated to law enforcement among supernatural beings, that needs her help. A goddess has disappeared from the magical world and could be somewhere on Earth.
Meanwhile, the sexy cop has problems of his own. Mysterious women keep showing up in town with no memory of who they are.
It’s a cozy romantic mystery type of story. Audrey seems to be a little too much of a push-over for my taste, but she’s nice, and the story is light and fun. I might stick with it this weekend.
7. City of Light by Will Wight
This is the third book of three in The Traveler’s Gate epic fantasy series. The other two books are usually $3.99 and $4.99 each, but today the entire series is free. All three books are in Kindle Unlimited. It’s the second time these books have been on this list — we previously reviewed them in November of 2021. In fact, Will Wight is a regular on this top-ten list.
In October of 2021, the first six of ten books in the best-selling Cradle epic fantasy series were on the list. Two of the book were on this list again this past March and a box set of the first three books was on this list last November and a year ago last March.
From Maria Korolov:
This is the third book in the series, and I haven’t finished the first two, so I’m not going to review it in case I come back to the books.
However, I’ve read several books in the Cradle series and I have to tell you, Wight is an extremely readable writer. If you like young adult epic fantasy — or epic fantasy in general — he’s a greater writer to check out.
8. The Crimson Vault by Will Wight
This is the second book of three in The Traveler’s Gate Sword and Sorcery fantasy series. The other two books are usually $3.99 and $4.99 each, but today the entire series is free. All three books are in Kindle Unlimited.
From Maria Korolov:
I’m not going to review this book, either since it’s the second book in the series.
There is a strong chance I’ll come back and finish it. I did go back and read several book in his other series, and the writing here is equally compelling.
Meanwhile, if you like Will Wight — and judging by the thousands of positive reviews, plenty of people do — you should also check out his The Elder Empire – Sea and The Elder Empire – Shadow trilogies.
9. House of Blades by Will Wight
This is the first book of three in The Traveler’s Gate Sword and Sorcery fantasy series. The other two books are usually $4.99 each, but today the entire series is free. All three books are in Kindle Unlimited.
From Maria Korolov:
I liked his other series, and this one has a similar tone and pace.
It’s an epic fantasy and starts out when our protagonist Simon is eight, on a trip with his parents. They’re merchants, and are traveling from village to village, selling their goods.
They are attacked by two Travelers, magic users who are able to summon toxic mists and horrible creatures. Simon’s father is killed, and his mother driven insane, but another stranger shows up and kills the two Travelers, saving Simon’s life and his mother’s, what’s left of her. The stranger, who Simon thinks is the Forest Demon, takes Simon and his mother back to their home village.
Eight years later, Simon’s mother is not in her right mind, and Simon takes care of her. Then the village is attacked, by soldiers of Overlord Malachi. The villagers try to evacuate through the back, and he has to carry his mother.
The soldiers are there to collect nine people to be sacrificed, and they’ll burn down the whole village if it resists. The soldiers have a Traveler with them, who is also able to open gates between worlds.
Simon and a few of the other villagers were able to run away and hide in a cave, many were killed — including children. Nine villagers were captured and taken. Leah, another Traveler who had been living in the village for the past two years and keeping a low profile, demands to go with the soldiers and they take her.
As they leave, the soldiers pass the cave where Simon and the other refugees are hiding. And one of the refugees also has magic powers, and there’s more fighting and magical battles.
It’s pretty action-packed. A little confusing, but exciting. I thought I was going to stick with it, but wound up not coming back. Probably because the protagonist is a young adult, and I don’t have much patience for young adults these days.
10. Flames of Chaos by Amelia Hutchins
This is the first of four books in the Legacy of the Nine Realms paranormal romance series. The other books are $5.99 each and are not in Kindle Unlimited.
From Maria Korolov:
The goddess Hecate has a daughter, Freya, who enjoys the company of men and keeps having children that she can’t take care of. Daughters, to be precise, four sets of twins, raised by their aunts. All witches. Now one of those granddaughters of Hecate is missing in the mortal realm and Aria and her other sisters are going to try to find her.
All the fathers are different, and the sisters have inherited all kinds of magic from their biological dads, whoever they were. Two sisters are alpha wolves, two are sirens, two are succubi. Aria, the protagonist, doesn’t know what she is.
Now, the mortal town they’ve arrived in, Haven Falls, is ruled by a man who calls himself king. He and Aria clash. She uproots a tree. They exchange sexy banter. Oh, and he hates witches. There’s a lot of swearing in the book right from the start, and a lot of sexual tension.
Not my kind of thing, but I’m guessing it’s exactly their kind of thing for a whole lot of readers out there. I mean, the book has more than 4,000 five-star reviews. Yikes.
Have you read any of these books? Are you planning to? Let us know in the comments!
And watch Maria and Amira talk about all the books in the video below: