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 my latest Waiting on Wednesday, I look at the dark fantasy book I most excited for in the early days of 2023 with the second Kagen the Damned novel from Jonathan Maberry, Son of the Poison Rose.
Earlier this year I was very excited to read and review the first fantasy book from one of my favourite authors, Jonathan Maberry. Maberry is a very talented and impressive author who most people would recognise from his excellent science fiction, thriller, and horror novels. I have had a brilliant time over the last few years getting through some of Maberry’s exciting, clever, and often exceedingly brutal novels, with pretty much all of them getting five-star ratings from me. This includes the novels in his incredible Joe Ledger series, such as Patient Zero, The Dragon Factory, Code Zero, Dogs of War and Deep Silence, the fantastic Rogue Team International sequel series, which has so far featured Rage (one of my favourite books and audiobooks of 2019) and Relentless (one of my favourite books and audiobooks of 2021), as well as some standalone reads like Ink (one of my favourite books and audiobooks of 2020). However, even after enjoying all that I was unprepared for the awesomeness that was Kagen the Damned.
Kagen the Damned was Maberry’s first full foray in the fantasy genre, which turned out to be an exceptional and high octane read. Set in an elaborate new fantasy realm, the book follows former hero Kagen Vale, who loses everything in a single night when the forces of the Witch-king of Hakkia invade his empire, kill the Empress and butcher the children he was sworn to protect. Forsaken by his gods and broken inside, Kagen wanders the countryside in a haze, now calling himself Kagen the Damned, before eventually regaining his senses and launching an assault on the Witch-king and the dark powers he commands. However, while the final battle is partially successful, it reveals several dark secrets that push Kagen even further as he tries to understand the full implications.
I had a remarkable time with Kagen the Damned and it is easily one of the better books I have had the pleasure to read in 2022. The exceptional blend of powerful narrative, intense action, complex characters, and outstanding world-building was extremely impressive, and I loved every second I spent listening to it. As such, I am now a pretty major fan of the Kagen the Damned series, and I was very excited to discover that I really don’t have that much longer to wait till I get my next fix of it.
The second entry in the Kagen the Damned series will by Son of the Poison Rose, which is currently set for release in January 2023. Son of the Poison Rose will continue many of the storylines from the first novel and set the protagonists on a dangerous adventure to try and understand the enemy they are facing.
Son of the Poison Rose marks the second installment of New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry’s epic, swashbuckling Kagen the Damned series.
The Silver Empire is in ruins. War is in the wind. Kagen and his allies are on the run from the Witch-king. Wild magic is running rampant everywhere. Spies and secret cabals plot from the shadows of golden thrones.
Kagen Vale is the most wanted man in the world, with a death sentence on his head and a reward for him—dead or alive—that would tempt a saint.
The Witch-king has new allies who bring a terrible weapon—a cursed disease that drives people into a murderous rage. If the disease is allowed to spread, the whole of the West will tear itself apart.
In order to build an army of resistance fighters and unearth magical weapons of his own, Kagen and his friends have to survive attacks and storms at sea, brave the haunted wastelands of the snowy north, fight their way across the deadly Cathedral Mountains, and rediscover a lost city filled with cannibal warriors, old ghosts, and monsters from other worlds. Along with his reckless adventurer brothers, Kagen races against time to save more than the old empire… if he fails the world will be drenched in a tsunami of bloodshed and horror.
Son of the Poison Rose weaves politics and espionage, sorcery and swordplay, treachery and heroism as the damned outcast Kagen fights against the forces of ultimate darkness.
Well damn, now this sounds like it is going to be incredibly awesome. I already knew that I was going to really love Son of the Poison Rose, but some of the details revealed above have made me even more excited, which I didn’t think was possible. The mentions about a rage disease are pretty interesting, especially as that is something that Maberry has utilised in several of his previous novels, and its frankly terrifying to see every single time. In addition, you have politics, espionage, battles on the sea, cannibals and so much more, which I am extremely keen in seeing unfold. The idea of sea battles is particularly intriguing to me, and I am going to love seeing how a Maberry-written sea-battle turns out.
I am also very excited to see what sort of character development or emotional damage occurs amongst the various protagonists in this second book. Maberry unleashed some deep personal bombs at the end of Kagen the Damned, and these are going to really hit Kagen hard, especially the reveal about who the Witch-king is and the two prisoners he is holding. Both revelations are going to rattle the already unstable Kagen, and I know that Maberry is going to spend a lot of time breaking Kagen down again. I am also quite interested in seeing some scenes from the Witch-kings perspective, and I am extremely curious to see what events led him to take up this dark mantle and stage an attack on the Silver Empire.
So, I doubt anyone is too surprised that I am really, really excited for Son of the Poison Rose by Jonathan Maberry. This book was already one of my most anticipated reads for 2023 even before I started reading Kagen the Damned, just because I love Maberry’s writing that much. However, the extra plot details revealed about have raised my anticipation levels even higher, and this will probably be one of the first things I read next year. I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever that Son of the Poison Rose will be one of the best books of 2023 and I cannot wait to see how the epic Kagen the Damned series continues.
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