Welcome to my weekly segment, Waiting on Wednesday, where I look at upcoming books that I am planning to order and review in the next few months and which I think I will really enjoy. I run this segment in conjunction with the Can’t-Wait Wednesday meme that is currently running at Wishful Endings. Stay tuned to see reviews of these books when I get a copy of them. For this latest Waiting on Wednesday I check out one of the more interesting fantasy novels coming out in the new year, Kagen the Damned by Jonathan Maberry.
2022 is shaping up to be a very good year for epic fantasy novels, with some incredible and cool-sounding new books set for release, especially in the first six months. One of the things that I particularly like about some of these upcoming fantasy novels is the fact that they are being written by several authors I generally associate with other genres. This includes one of my absolute favourite authors, Jonathan Maberry, who is jumping into the fantasy genre for the very first time with his intriguing upcoming novel, Kagen the Damned.
Jonathan Maberry is an awesome author whose work I have been deeply enjoying over the last few years. Maberry is an author primarily known for his horror work, having written several scary and intense series, including his Pine Deep trilogy, the Rot & Ruin series, the Dead of Night series and the V-Wars anthology/comic series. I best know Maberry for his incredible Joe Ledger series, which combines fast-paced spy thriller storylines with intriguing science fiction and horror elements. Every entry in this series was pretty amazing, with some of my favourites including The Dragon Factory, Code Zero, Predator One and Dogs of War. I also deeply enjoyed his Rogue Team International sequel series, which included Rage (one of the best books and audiobooks of 2019) and Relentless (which I just listed as one of my favourite books and audiobooks of 2021), as well as the standalone horror novel Ink (one of the best books and audiobooks of 2020). As such, I am a pretty big fan of Maberry, and while I was a little disappointed that his Rogue Team International series wasn’t getting a sequel next year, I am quite intrigued about his first dive in fantasy fiction.
This new fantasy novel, Kagen the Damned, is the first book in a series of the same name from Maberry. Currently set for release on 10 May 2021, Kagen the Damned is an intriguing-sounding read with an amazing plot that I am extremely excited for and which has a great deal of potential.
Sworn by Oath
Kagen Vale is the trusted and feared captain of the place guard, charged with protection the royal children of the Silver Empire. But one night, Kagen is drugged and the entire imperial family is killed, leaving the empire in ruins.
Abandoned by the Gods
Haunted and broken, Kagen is abandoned by his gods and damned forever. He becomes a wanderer, trying to take down as many of this enemies as possible while plotting to assassinate the usurper–the deadly Witch-king of Hakkia. While all around him magic–long banished from the world—returns in strange and terrifying ways.
Fueled by Rage
To find the royal children and exact his vengeance, Kagen must venture into strange lands, battle bizarre and terrifying creatures, and gather allies for a suicide mission into the heart of the Witch-king’s empire.
Kings and gods will fear him.
Now this sounds like it is going to be a pretty damn incredible read. I love the cool story above, especially as it is going to follow a broken and desperate man who goes on an epic revenge mission against an insanely powerful magical foe. Now if my love of the Joe Ledger novels has taught me anything it is that Maberry is an author who excels at writing a damaged and complex central protagonist, and it sounds like Kagen is going to be pretty special. In addition, thanks to Maberry’s 2021 release Relentless, I also know that the author can write an extremely mean revenge story, and I am prepared for an exceptional narrative filled with bloody vengeance and a highly determined protagonist.
I am also extremely intrigued by this new fantasy world. As I mentioned before, I have never had the pleasure of seeing Maberry dive into fantasy before and I think that this will be an interesting change of pace for him. I do like the sound of the dark fantasy world mentioned in the synopsis above, from the shattered kingdom, the dangerous Witch-king (you have to love a villain known as the Witch-king), the mysterious allies, the destructively returning magic, and so many other cool elements. All this has buckets of potential, and if Maberry transfers all his usual attention to detail and talent for world building to the fantasy genre, I think we are in for a really cool setting and backdrop to the main revenge narrative. I am extremely keen to check this new novel out and find out just how awesome a Maberry fantasy book can be.
Overall, I have to say that I am really very excited for Kagen the Damned. I have made no secret in the past about how I will eagerly grab any new Jonathan Maberry novel that comes out, so Kagen the Damned was always going to be on my 2022 to-read list. However, I am very intrigued about the cool plot above, as well as Maberry’s transition to the fantasy genre, and I really want to see what happens in this new book. I think that Kagen the Damned has a lot of potential, especially with the talented Maberry at the helm, and I honestly believe that this could end up being one of the top fantasy books of 2022. I look forward to finding out if I’m right, and no matter what I am sure that I am going to have an incredible time reading Kagen the Damned.