Kagen the Damned (Kagen the Damned #1)

Jonathan Maberry

Adult Fantasy

Sworn by Oath
Kagen Vale is the trusted and feared captain of the palace 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.

-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.

Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.

My Opinion

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5) The book opens with Kagen waking from a drugged stupor during an intense battle. The Hakkin are attacking the palace and villages and they seem to have come from everywhere. Kagen is unsuccessful in saving the royal family, the very people he has sworn oaths to protect.

Kagen is lost in many ways after leaving the palace and wanders with no purpose except to punish himself and find his next drink. I enjoyed hearing Kagen’s story and even his journey, if he wasn’t horribly drunk. But his complete despair was written well. It endeared me to him and his story.

Ryssa and Miri are running from the battle and destruction also. Miri is leading Ryssa far away, telling her she is saving her and her virginity (which ultimately was true, brutal rapes were common during the battle), but Miri rubbed me wrong. She wasn’t being completely truthful with Ryssa and felt like she was taking advantage of her naivete and younger age (15?). Later it became even more apparent when they began an intimate relationship.

Part 1 and 4 were exciting and I enjoyed the fast pace. The middle parts were less exciting and moved slow enough that I lost interest a few times. I think starting the book out so strong and intense made me expect more of the same throughout. Kagen’s journey became bland and meaningless as he drank himself into oblivion. It picks up a bit when we learn the possibility of the royal twins being alive but there were very few passages about them and I wanted more. Also, I’m still trying to figure out where the vampires came from? Those felt awfully out of place. It almost felt like a medieval time period if it wasn’t for a few fantasy elements thrown in. But then vampires showed up and I needed either more of them (and magic/fantasy elements) or none at all.

AUDIO REVIEW: I received the audio after the book and my review were published. I have to say, I feel like I missed out! I planned on listening to a few chapters to get a good feel of the narrator but found myself not wanting to turn it off. Oh that battle at the beginning is fabulous on audio! It sucked me right in for chapter upon chapter. The narrator had the voice that I could perfectly picture on Kagen. While there were other POV, his voice for Kagen was just right. I could feel Kagen’s pain and anguish at all the right moments. I’ll be listening to this again before book 2 comes out! Thank you to Macmillan Audio for the copy!

General content summary: This book is high in violence, brutality and gore. That includes descriptions of what happened to women’s bodies that were found raped multiple times. Bodies (including children) were hacked into so many pieces that they were unidentifiable. It was also difficult to tell how many different bodies the parts were from. F words: 20+, battle and gore and death, a person burns to death, physical evidence of brutal rape (multiple times), many dead bodies and parts of bodies (children too), dogs chew on children’s bones, a witch takes the insides of a man and uses them for a spell, a man resurrects while in his long-time grave, intimacy (few details), physical/emotional spousal abuse, alcoholism, many men rape a woman even after she is dead, a teen boy and girl were raped repeatedly until they died, attempted rape, an entire family is crucified due to one man’s sin, a man’s tongue is cut out and torture, f/f intimacy (few details), m/f intimacy (few details), a woman requests a woman to smother her baby but then does it herself, a young child is whipped so another child will obey, child physical abuse, m/f detailed intimacy, child sacrifice (blood).

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for the gifted copy!

The book releases May 10, 2022.

**As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 


  1. If you want to read a scene where supposedly 26 men in a company shared a lady and she wasn’t raped to death, Sir Apropos is a wonderful read

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.