I do a lot of reading, I mean a lot. I read whilst I’m waiting for the kettle to boil, for dinner to cook, for my son to stop trying to lick the cat, the works. Because I read so much, I decided I’d try free ebooks on the Amazon Kindle app, because what’s the worst that could happen, right?
Well. Suffice to say, I was initially horrified by some of the things I found. My preferred genre of choice is Urban Fantasy; it’s what I write, and what I like to read. Now, as you may know, Kindle offers free ebook publishing. What this means, I discovered, is that any Tom, Dick or Harry can publish their epic Lord of the Rings fanfiction up there (names changed, of course). This most recently happened in the case of Fifty Shades of Grey, which had been free published up there before being noticed and spiralled into fame.
So, some of the free books I downloaded (because, honestly it’s a “book” and it’s “free”, what more could I ask for?) were not to a standard I would consider reading. One set of books, which had a fascinating premise, somehow managed to have copied-and-pasted an entire paragraph, one after the other, with only minor edits. Another had a prologue so painfully boring I gave up after five pages and started something else.
However, in trawling through the free (or cheap) ebook minefield, I located some hidden gems. Books not only worth reading, but (in my opinion) interesting and enjoyable.
First on the list is Jonathan Moeller’s “Ghosts” series, starting with the free book “Child of the Ghosts”. Mr Moeller manages to tell a compelling story, and create likeable and interesting characters in the book, and left me with such curiosity I proceeded to buy a number of further books in the series (I had to stop after 5, but only because my Amazon voucher had run out). Read more abut Caina Amalas and the Ghosts here.
After running out of Amazon voucher, I picked a number of other books at random to try out. “Witch Song” by Amber Argyle came next, and is another I decided to purchase further books of (I bought the compilation of all books in the “Song” series). Although this would be closer to “high fantasy” than “urban fantasy”, it still ticks a number of boxes. The protagonist, though gutsy and with a good moral grounding, has a long way to go to become the hero the novels need. Some clever twists and turns keep one turning the page, and I found myself tearing up at some of the occurrences. Find out more at Ms Argyle’s website here.
After that, I continued in the vein of pure fantasy and tried “Anathema” by Megg Jensen. This quickly led to me purchasing the whole “Song of Eloh” saga, as I found the author’s use of characterisation and plot twists kept me wanting to find out more. I would suggest this series to people who really enjoy high fantasy. Check out Ms Jensen’s blog here for further information.
Though it can be a bit of a minefield, Kindle’s free/cheap bookstore is worth taking a look at. Who knows, you might find the next Fifty Shades in there!