Son of the Poison Rose (Kagen the Damned #2)

Jonathan Maberry

Adult Fantasy

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.

-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.

Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.

My Opinion

4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5) Kagen is out for revenge. The Witch King destroyed his family and the world he knew. He is running away from him, as much as he’s trying to find him and put a stop to the madness.

Just like book 1, this one started with a bang. I love a book that can grab me immediately! It led me through battles and updates with the characters to skillfully remind me of what happened in book one. Loaded with information and a few benefits of magic, he is determined to find the Witch King and bring him down.

Not only is there a plague afflicting the kingdoms, there are people killing in Kagen’s name. The reward for Kagen (dead or alive) is enough to make his head swim. The book has many stories going on at once. At one point, I struggled remembering everyone’s name and what part of the story they belonged to. Once I started taking small notes for names and cities and more, it flowed so easily. I was swept up in the story.

Sadly, I didn’t love book one, Kagen the Damned. I loved the battle scenes but hated that Kagen was drunk the majority of the time. It went from intense to uninteresting multiple times. Now that I’ve read book two, I see how essential book one was for character development. I always saw promise in the writing so when book 2 presented as exciting throughout, I couldn’t be more thrilled. Fantasy battle scenes, war strategy and politics are fascinating to me and Maberry did a great job weaving the story. I was never uninterested and enjoyed the story throughout.

I really enjoyed this one. I was pushing to get the 700 page book done when the audio came through. Yes! I will always be appreciative of multiple copies! Even for it’s size, I sped through quickly. It kept me entertained and excited to continue. I find that is rare for me lately so I’ll take it!

AUDIO REVIEW: Last year after reading book one, I received a copy of the audio. Can I just say that I felt I missed out? And that the narrator would’ve just enhanced the story so much more? I’m happy to say that Ray Porter has the perfect adult fantasy voice. He has a new voice for each character which is astounding. He truly added so much to the story. His narration played a huge part in my enjoyment.

General content summary: F words: 20+, language, battle (gore, details, death, weapons, blood, bite, multiple), birds attack and maim many (details), ships burning (multiple drownings), physical and emotional abuse to children (some details, multiple), rape and torture and mutilation is ordered on people of a faith, dog attack (death, screams), previous f/f relationship, men threatening rape with words and rude gestures, funeral and grief, husband and son death in battle, reference to a man preferring young boys (no details), nightmares (multiple), brutal animal killing, a man mutilates and eats many people (some details, death, gore), horse crushing a man (details, bones breaking), suicide by plunging sharp wood into self, suicide contemplation, child kills an animal (some details), deaths in burning house (no details), intimacy (details 1x, some intimacy with fewer details), cut off heads placed on spikes (few details), plague (curse/zombie-like, multiple people and villages, details of killings, multiple zombie-like people attacks), story of being forced to watch nuns being raped before and after their deaths (few details), torture (on a young woman, details, sexually turned on), someone attacking with teeth and killing a man (details), killing using hands. 

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and MacMillan Audio for the gifted copies!

The book releases January 10, 2023.

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

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