Title: Kagen the Damned
Author: Jonathan Maberry
Publisher: St. Martins Griffin
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 his 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. Kagen the Damned
Review: This is a review for an ARC I received from the publisher.
Plot: What a ride! Kagen the Damned deserves high marks for an epic adult fantasy. I couldn’t put it down. The engaging plot and unpredictable twists kept me turning the pages. Author Maberry, a well-seasoned author, knows how to weave a colorful tale of vengeance and betrayal. Kagen’s story is brutal, graphic, heartbreaking, and devastating. The vivid descriptions will make you cringe and detest the Witch King as much as the captain of the palace guard does. Each chapter, each character’s point of view, added so much depth to the story. The pacing was fantastic. At times, I found the world building a bit confusing. Modern day terms and references slipped into the dialogue and plot. Perhaps the answer will reveal itself in the next installment.
Characters: The Witch King is definitely the most vicious being I have ever crossed in literature. His cruel actions knotted my stomach, and his sorceress, who dabbles in necromancy, scared the heck out of me. Kagen is the morally grey character you constantly cheer for and Tuke is the friend we all need in our lives.
Writing: Author Mayberry has perfected the ability to reel the reader into a new world. From chapter one, I was hooked. No, the text was not without its faults, but the non-stop drama helped me overlook little speed bumps I encountered here and there. Epic fantasy usually intimidates me. Luckily, Kagen the Damned eases the reader into a complex world.
Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait for the sequel. Book one leaves you on a huge cliffhanger. I need book two…now. This is an excellent starter for those who are looking to branch out into epic adult fantasy.
Triggers/Warnings: graphic violence, adult language, adult content,
Escapism Factor: 4/5
Emotional Connection: 4/5
Character Development: 4/5
Completed Read: November 2021