Archive for category Free Sci Fi/Fantasy

Review of The Emperor’s Edge Series by Lindsay Buroker

Bottom line: This is one of my favorite ongoing series. These are great stories, extremely well written, with awesome characters. The first book is free, so give it a try and see what you think!

Rating: Strongly Recommended

Review:

I was going to do a review on each of the books that are out, but then I realized the reviews would be virtually identical for all books, so I’m going to do it in one fell swoop for the books of the series that are currently out, and I’ll update as the other books come out. There are six planned total in the main storyline.

These books are excellent. It was one of those where I read the first one because it was free, not really expecting all that much from it. When I was done, I immediately downloaded the next two books in the series (the only ones that were out at the time), read all through the night, got an hour of sleep, and had to go to work the next day. I then discovered that there were short stories with the same characters, but not in the main storyline/time frame and bought and read those immediately as well.

 

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Review of The Emperor’s Edge Series by Lindsay Buroker

Bottom line: This is one of my favorite ongoing series. These are great stories, extremely well written, with awesome characters. The first book is free, so give it a try and see what you think!

Rating: Strongly Recommended

Review:

I was going to do a review on each of the books that are out, but then I realized the reviews would be virtually identical for all books, so I’m going to do it in one fell swoop for the books of the series that are currently out, and I’ll update as the other books come out. There are six planned total in the main storyline.

These books are excellent. It was one of those where I read the first one because it was free, not really expecting all that much from it. When I was done, I immediately downloaded the next two books in the series (the only ones that were out at the time), read all through the night, got an hour of sleep, and had to go to work the next day. I then discovered that there were short stories with the same characters, but not in the main storyline/time frame and bought and read those immediately as well.

 

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Review of The Hidden Institute by Brand Gamblin (2011) Free Audiobook

Bottom line: Great story, great characters, great narration, and it’s available as a free audiobook!

Rating: Strongly Recommended

Blurb:

Rising above your station can be deadly.

Cliffy is a child born on the streets of a Neo-Victorian world. Witnesses to a murder, he blackmails a nobleman, receiving a unique bribe. In exchange for his silence, the nobleman introduces him to the Malcolm Rutherford Holden Institute of Regentrification. There, Cliffy learns to walk, talk, and act like a nobleman, so that he may infiltrate high society. But that type of fraud is punishable by death, and when Cliffy uncovers a plot to assassinate a head of state, he’s hunted by more than just the aristocracy.

Royal intrigue, daring escapes, sub-dermal machines, and bear polo. A grand adventure in a not-so-distant world.

Review:

I’ve had The Hidden Institute on my iPod for a while, but never got around to listening to it. I generally prefer to read things myself instead of listening to other people read them. Also, with Podiobooks, the quality of narration and production can be variable. However, this weekend, thanks to a spring allergy migraine (no reading paperbacks or looking at electronic screens) I finally gave it a shot.

I enjoyed almost everything about it – the story and setting are interesting, his characters are fun to get to know, there’s action but it’s not overly stressful, and the narration is very well done. My one sticking point is that I found the transitional music at the beginning, middle, and end of each episode loud and annoying – but that’s probably just me. I always find transitional music in audiobooks to be loud and annoying. It’s set in a futuristic/steampunk US, but the story is more character driven than anything else, and the sci fi/steampunk elements are very much a part of the setting rather than a main plot driver.

Gamblin has a couple of other books out (on Podiobooks as well as e-book and paperback format) and I’m going to have to try them as well. If they’re even half as good as this one, I know they’ll be worth the read – or listen.

Available: as a free audiobook through Podiobooks and iTunes, in any e-book format $4.99 at Smashwords, and as an e-book and paperback ($0.99 to $11) at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

More Info: Check out the author’s website here.

What did you think? Did you like the book?

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Five Free Classic Sci Fi/Fantasy E-Books for Kindle and Free Kindle Reader Apps

Here are five free classic sci fi / fantasy e-books to get you through the weekend. The links are to the Amazon Kindle site (these weren’t all free on Barnes & Noble). If you don’t have a Kindle, I strongly recommend downloading the free Kindle reader app. I’ve used it on a PC and found it surprisingly non-annoying and easy to install (trust me – if I could figure it out, YOU can certainly figure it out). With so many great books for free in the Kindle format, there’s no downside to getting the free reader.

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1869) – Jules Verne

  •  I’m not typically a huge Verne fan, but this was an interesting read. The ending leaves a lot of questions unanswered, but it’s a fun ride. I want a giant, almost self-sustaining submarine!

Dracula (1897) – Bram Stoker

  •  In the beginning, I thought this story was really boring, and was thinking about not finishing it. Then it started to get deliciously creepy and I was hooked.

The War of the Worlds (1898)– H.G. Wells

  • What would you do if the Martians invaded and waged war on your home? This is probably my favorite book of the era.

I’m a little ashamed to say I’ve never read Frankenstein or Jekyll and Hyde. They’re both on my “Must Read Soon” list. Just below my stack of library books (yes, people still go to libraries). And the first three Game of Thrones books I was lent. Ok, so it might be a while. Let me know what I’m missing!

Frankenstein (1818) – Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886) – Robert Louis Stevenson

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Review of The Strange Case of Finley Jayne by Kady Cross (Steampunk Chronicles – Prequel) (2011)

Bottom line: This novella is a wonderful introduction not only to the Steampunk Chronicles series, but to the steampunk genre itself. If you’ve been wanting to try out steampunk, wondered what it was, or just want a fun, well written book to read, give this one a shot. Also, it’s free!

Rating: Strongly Recommended

Blurb:

Finley Jayne knows she’s not ‘normal’. Normal girls don’t lose time, or have something inside them that makes them capable of remarkably violent things. Her behavior has already cost her one job, so when she’s offered the lofty position of companion to Phoebe, a debutante recently engaged to Lord Vincent, she accepts, despite having no experience. Lord Vincent is a man of science with his automatons and inventions, but Finley is suspicious of his motives where Phoebe is concerned. She will do anything to protect her new friend, but what she discovers is even more monstrous than anything she could have imagined…

Review:

I downloaded this novella because it was free, and when I finished, I immediately went and bought the next book (first book? this one is a prequel – can I call it book zero?) in the series (book one review forthcoming). I would have bought the next one, too, but it won’t be out until June 2012.

I was impressed for a lot of reasons. For one thing, I often find that short stories/novellas feel incomplete – you are barely introduced to some characters, a plot is thrown together, and then it’s over. That was certainly not the case with this book. There is a good balance of time spent developing the characters and the world, and while the plot moves quickly, it doesn’t feel rushed. The heroine is a well written, strong female character, who’s struggling to come to terms with her unique capabilities and whether they are a blessing or a curse.

This is definitely in the steampunk genre – the setting is a late 1800s London with steam powered devices, automaton servants and interesting gadgets. All these things are mentioned and discussed a bit, but not harped on – thank goodness. I tend to get a bit glassy eyed over too many intricate details.

Available: Free e-book available through Barnes and Noble, Amazon, or iTunes.

More Info: Check out the author’s website here.

What did you think? Did you like the book?

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