There are so many wonderful, impressive, amazing independent books out there! Far too many of them get overlooked in favor of a best seller simply because the reader hasn’t heard of them. So here are 10 of the best indie books to read to get you started on your journey of reading outside of the New York Times best seller box.
There’s a handful of different genres here to appeal to most audiences. Hopefully at least one stands out to you. Regardless of genre the point is to step outside of your comfort zone here, pick a great indie book and read. Better yet, go through the whole list!
If you are also a self published author and want to know how to get your book reviewed check out my guide for indie authors.
Books have been arranged alphabetically by title, this list includes affiliate links.
1969: A Brief and Beautiful Trip Back
Full Review: 1969, Novel Review
1969: A Brief and Beautiful Trip Back is half historical fiction and half psychedelic road trip. It’s also a coming of age time travel tale. 1969 is many things but most of all it’s endearing.
Follow a group of musical hippies as they try to make their band stand out against the giants of the summer of ’69. But enjoy the trip as they find time for self discovery, experimentation, love, and friendship.
Great for readers looking for a more mature coming of age story with a lot of drug experimentation showing both the highs and lows of this lifestyle. 1969 is a longer addition to this list of best indie books to read but you’ll enjoy the whole trip.
Buy it here: 1969: A Brief and Beautiful Trip Back
Alter Ego: The Other Me
Full Review: Alter Ego, Comic Novel Review
Alter Ego: The Other Me, Issue 1 is the first in a series of half comic book half novel mystery stories about the first super hero to appear after a mysterious event called “The Blink.” Make no mistake, this one may sound innocent but it is not for younger readers.
The first issue introduces the characters and the world in fascinating dual story-telling media. The pictures do not simply illustrate what the words have just said, they may be telling another story altogether. The reader must pay attention to both and really hunt for clues to get the most out of this one. But it is a truly rewarding experience.
Issue 2 is also available, more will be coming late 2021. Honestly, anything by author Dave Terruso could be on the best indie books to read list. Check him out!
Full Review: Cryptofauna, Adventure Fantasy Book Review
Cryptofauna is an absolutely wild adventure novel. It follows the supernatural game play of an ancient war between men and monsters of mythic proportions. Although the stakes are high the book remains light. It’s humorous and entertaining as it follows a newcomer into this realm of magic and immortal beings.
If you’re tired of fantasy being redundant this will be a whole new world for you to explore. It has a little bit of romance but the focus of the novel is the action and excitement.
Perfect for readers who want all the magic without all the high school drama. There is currently a sequel in the works so get reading before it comes out!
Buy it here: Cryptofauna
Curse of the Ninth
Full Review: Curse of the Ninth, Novel Review
Curse of the Ninth is the story of a revenge that transcends generations. It’s the ultimate in family emotional baggage. It’s a family drama with just small hints of supernatural elements to bring it into a more ethereal plane.
Above all else, it’s beautifully written contemporary fiction. You’ll feel swept away by this lovely prose and wish that this was the kind of book you were taught in high school english instead of the more boring and totally outdated classics.
Indie books deserve to be recognized more for their strong literary merit, this one definitely belongs on the list of best indie books to read right now!
Buy it here: Curse of the Ninth
Dreamsphere: The Day We Stopped Dreaming
Full Review: Dreamsphere, Science Fiction Review
Dreamsphere is for the boldest of readers. It is a bizarre experimental illustrated novel. If it has to be placed in a genre that genre would be science fiction. But it’s also smart satire, ironic, and sarcastic humor.
It is also not told linearly. The story bounces around back and forth along a time line. Some of the pieces connect back by the end, some of them don’t. Go into Dreamsphere with an open mind and it will reward you with surprising imagery and a whole new breed of story telling.
Buy it here: Dreamsphere: The Day We Stopped Dreaming
Full Review: Goodbye, Moonflower, Novel Review
Goodbye, Moonflower is a haunting thriller loaded with modern philosophy. It builds a full ideology in just over 200 pages in such a smooth fashion you might not even realize it until the end.
Reading this novel is like walking through a nightmare. You are aware none of it is real, it can’t actually harm you, and yet you feel that distinct chill up your spine and a sense of dread you just can’t shake. You know you want to get back to safety but your curiosity presses you further into the depths of this underworld.
I have been more scared by some indie horror novels than I ever have been by Stephen King, check this author out.
Buy it here: Goodbye, Moonflower: A Novel
Full Review: Kludged Singularity, Sci Fi Review
Kludged Singularity is what modern science fiction should strive to be. It’s extremely relevant and thought provoking without ever losing its entertainment value.
The strength of this novel is its characters. They are some of the most relatable, human, complex, well thought out characters I’ve read this year. Diversity is displayed not just through gender or race but also through personality and general mindset. Getting to know these characters is a delight, and then the sci fi of the book comes out and your world will get turned upside down.
The best indie books that you read show how newcomers are reinventing genres and breaking all of the old tropes.
Buy it here: Kludged Singularity
The Purest Form of Chaos
Full Review: The Purest Form of Chaos, Novel Review
The Purest Form of Chaos is THE feminist fantasy adventure novel. I can’t tell you how sick I am of fantasy novels that still have damsels in distress and completely idiotic notions of how a strong woman should act.
This novel has not one, but two!, strong female leads. They have their own strengths and learn how to work together to overthrow a malicious patriarchy. There’s no bickering or catfighting between them purely for the sake of pillow fight fantasies. Their relationship is a true friendship complete with ups and downs. And together they know they can rule the world, it just takes a lifetime to accomplish.
Buy it here: The Purest Form of Chaos (1)
Questions of Perspective
Full Review: Questions of Perspective, Novel Review
Questions of Perspective is built on a simple premise. What if your best friend suddenly became God? From there the story follows this poor sap who has way more knowledge of the universe than he ever could hope to handle.
The story handles the question of the meaning of life, the universe, and everything with gentle grace. We’re only human, we can only know and accept so much, and at some point you just have to live your life.
Buy it here: Questions of Perspective
Rage: A Story of Survival
Full Review: Rage, Horror Novel Review
Rage: A Story of Survival is mandatory reading for 2020. The post-apocalyptic zombie riddled world in this book is eerily similar to our current state of affairs. Just with a lot more cannibalism.
The main takeaway from Rage is its lessons in how to behave when shit hits the fan. Work together, not against each other. Everyone has different strengths and everyone can have value if we share the burden. There is no chosen one, no messiah, this is a team effort of survival.
Buy it here: Rage: A Story of Survival
Please enjoy these books and I hope you see why they are some of the best indie books to read right now! There are so many authors and titles out there to discover. Take a chance on something that no one else is reading and you’ll get to say those special words, “I read it before it was popular.”