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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 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. Arrival by Richard Fox
This is the first of three books in The Tyr Trilogy space opera series. The other books are $4.99 to $5.99 each, and the series is in Kindle Unlimited.
From Alex Mueller:
This book is certainly a departure from my normal brand of science fiction. It comes across like a mix between Star Trek and the megacorp-run dystopia that is Blade Runner.
We’ve got thoughtfully created and unique alien civilizations, giving readers a glimpse into new worlds and new people, and creates a compelling Star Trek connection.
The dark and grittiness comes in when we learn the charming piece of information that every alien race is potentially on a chopping block, poised to be exterminated once the corporate powers that rule humanity decide the existence of aliens is an inconvenience. We’ve got alien genocides, slimy corporate officials, and there might even be a death cult in the mix, so that’s all lovely.
The story itself even follows a team of human spies sent to infiltrate an alien civilization marked for destruction. That means our heroes’ whole job is to learn how to wipe out a planet’s worth of people who are just minding their own business in the most efficient way possible.
We get a look into the daily lives of these spies, and seeing them mingle with people they fully intend on seeing slaughtered is a chilling experience.
The story has a slow-burn feel to it, and while not much happens at the very beginning, it’s clear that it’s building up to something big.
I’d say this story is suited for an audience that enjoys grimdark stories due to the total lack of any good guys. We’ve got no paragons of moral virtue, only people willing to put up with and do horrible things, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get any better.
It’s certainly an interesting scenario, and I look forward to seeing where it goes next.
4. ImPerfect Magic by C. N. Rowan
This is the first of six books in The imPerfect Cathar urban fantasy series. The other books are $0.99 to $4.99 each, and the series is in Kindle Unlimited.
From Maria Korolov:
I’m a fan of urban fantasy, and the book cover reminds me a bit of the Dresden Files, so there’s a very good chance I’m the target reader here.
The book starts out with our protagonist, Paul, being tortured for information by a wizard. The wizard is bad at spells, though. In fact, it’s surprising that he was able to trap Paul at all. But the wizard’s not bad at torturing. And Paul … well… it’s not something you expect to happen to a protagonist in the first chapter of a book told in the first person.
And I can’t tell you what it is without spoiling it. Arrgh. Well, it’s right in the book’s description, so I guess I can.
The guy dies, okay? He dies right in chapter one.
But it’s all good, because he’s fine again in chapter two. In a new body, on a mortuary table, but otherwise fine.
In fact, he’s been killed over and over again for the past hundred years, and each time he’s woken up again in the nearest dead body. He still looks like himself, though — the reincarnation magic that brings him back to life also changes the new body to look more like him. The reason he keeps getting reincarnated is because he was a Cathar priest who sinned. As soon as he leads a perfect life, he dies for good. Since he doesn’t want that, he makes sure he’s never too perfect.
And Paul has some magic of his own, too. He can do illusions and make it look like he’s wearing clothes. And he’s got a little pocket dimension where he keeps a spare phone, so he can his friend to come pick him up. His Friend, Aicha, has also been alive for hundreds of years.
They head straight for the evil wizard who killed him. They watch him leave his house and follow the wizard until they get to a nice secluded spot, grab him, and ask him who he works for.
The wizard is more than willing to talk after a little bit of scary magical persuasion, but starts choking, then dissolves into slush before he can tell them anything. So they go back to the wizard’s house to look for clues.
So that’s the first three chapters of the book. But my summary doesn’t do it justice. It’s funny, profane, and over-the-top. I love it and will keep reading it.
It’s perfect for October. Unless you’re squeamish or easily offended by bad language. I am, but I don’t care. The book is fun, and I’m sticking with it.
3. Wolf Trap by Aimee Easterling
This is the first of three books in the Time Bites paranormal romance series. The other books are $3.99 and $4.99 each and are not in Kindle Unlimited.
This is an intriguing urban and paranormal fantasy book that will have you on the edge of your seat. From the very beginning, the author does a great job of capturing your attention by presenting our main character in what appears to be a dangerous situation.
Tru wakes up in a bed with a scary but alluring man sleeping right next to her. The catch? She has no idea how she got there the night before nor why she’s chained to the bed, but a voice in her head tells her to run away from that man. In fact, she’s got barely any memories of anything at all. The man is scary and powerful, and just as she’s about to jump out the window and disappear, she realizes why: he’s not only a werewolf, but he’s also an alpha. But she’s got no time to lose and, even though she’s attracted to him and curious about his identity and her own memory loss, she runs away and comes across a familiar person who looks just like her — her sister.
And her sister tells her that she loses her memory every morning.
As they both run away from the scary alpha that’s chasing her down, they reach a cave and exchange clothes so her sister can distract the alpha while she makes it out safely and goes to work–because working while being chased by a random scary dude that could probably follow your scent everywhere makes sense, yes.
That’s the moment our main character realizes that she is a fox shifter, and that explains her skepticism and fear of a werewolf alpha. Now, I do admit that the beginning of the story might feel a little rushed but the whole fox-shifter versus wolf-shifter idea is interesting and I’m curious to see how it develops as the story goes on. In other words: yes, I’ll continue reading this book for a bit more just to see if things get better and the pace settles.
I would definitely recommend this for fans of urban fantasy and paranormal fantasy stories where you can say that not everything — or everyone — is what they seem. Plus, it sounds like there could be some enemies-to-lovers kind of romance, so if you’re a fan of that, feel free to give it a read too.
2. Stormwielder by Aaron Hodges
This is the first of nine books in The Three Nations Nordic myth and legend fantasy series. The other books are $5.99 each and are not in Kindle Unlimited. The author has been on our list before. We previously reviewed this book in March of 2022. And, in August of 2022, we reviewed Defiant, the first of three books in The Alfurian Chronicles science fiction series.
From Alex Korolov:
Stormwielder is a fantasy book about a man on a quest in a dangerous world full of gods and demons. If you’re into fantasy adventure stories, this book is for you.
I found the beginning a little strange, as the main character appears to have a direct visit from a Goddess who just materializes out of nowhere. But hey, it’s a fantasy book and these sorts of things happen. I’d keep reading.
Alastair is a seasoned old warrior who’s on a mission for the Goddess Antonia. He’s dedicated the past two years to searching for his lost family because Antonia told him to find them.
The Goddess appears to him in the night to tell him that someone else has found them first and he can reunite with them soon, but first, he must help someone in need.
Eric is a young man who’s been wandering alone for two years, exiling himself from human contact because he has dangerous powers that he can’t control, and they tend to kill people — a lot of people.
Eric finally ventures into a town, loses control, and things go south quickly. But Antonia has sent Alastair to help him, and their journey together begins.
1. Lacuna’s Point by Tim Meyer
This is a standalone horror novel, and the author’s first time on our Free Friday list. He does have quite a few other horror books and stories up on Amazon, some of which are in Kindle Unlimited.
From Terrence Smith:
This book is scary good fun. It has the setup of popular horror titles, with some of Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” thrown in as well.
The story follows two protagonists — Ellie, a divorced woman, and Mitch, a struggling writer who is estranged from his two living daughters and has a strained marriage with his wife. Mitch had another daughter, who was about to enroll at Howard University when she disappeared two years ago. Ellie’s daughter disappeared along with her. They went missing in the small town of Lacuna’s Point, overseen by a mysterious clock tower that entrances all those who gaze upon it.
On the anniversary of their disappearances, Ellie and Mitch receive text messages that call them back to the town where they disappeared, and may learn about what happened to their daughters.
The author must be familiar with the video game Resident Evil 4. The setting of Lacuna’s Point appears to be run by a cult, reminiscent of that which pulls the strings in the video game’s story. The residents’ wide jaws, when they let out their ghastly moans, reveal in the prologue something alien and insect-like, echoing the parasites in that title as well. Gloria a las plagas!
Early on in the story, it is clear that the demonic residents of Lacuna’s Point are more than a subtle metaphor. A town of white residents preying upon black visitors echoes the influence of Jordan Peele’s horror and social commentary that tackle racism in modern America. The two vanished daughters also got hit with a firm microaggression when they attended the town’s art show.
The mystery of Lacuna’s Point has me intrigued, and I would not mind continuing to read this.
Have you read any of these books? Are you planning to? Let us know in the comments!
And watch Maria and Alex discuss all five books in the video below: