A girl hellbent on finding the friend she lost. A planet on the brink of total destruction. Only one way to find answers amidst the chaos: team up with a traitor to stage a revolution, in Meg Long’s Swift the Storm, Fierce the Flame.
After a mission gone awry two years ago, Remy Castell has been desperately searching across worlds to find the friend she failed to save—the friend who changed her life by helping her overcome the brainwashing she was subjected to as a genetically engineered corporate agent.
Since then, she’s been chasing the only lead she has: fellow genopath Kiran Lore, the same secretive ex-squadmate who left her for dead when she compromised that mission. She nearly caught up to him on Tundar before joining the infamous sled race alongside outcast Sena and her wolf companion Iska. Now, all three of them have tracked Kiran back to Maraas, the jungle planet where Remy lost everything. But nothing on Maraas is how it was two years ago. Syndicates and scavvers alike are now trying to overthrow a megalomaniac corpo director, which Remy wants nothing to do with; fighting against corpos is as useless as trying to stay dry in the middle of the giant hellstorm that encircles the planet. But the storm—and the rebellion—are growing stronger by the minute.
When Remy finds Kiran, he doesn’t run away like she expects. Instead, he offers her a deal: help with the revolution and he’ll reunite her with her friend. But can she really trust the boy who betrayed her once before? With the entire planet on the edge of all-out war, Remy will have to decide just how far she’s willing to go to save one girl before the impending storm drowns them all.
Swift the Storm, Fierce the Fire by Meg Long is the second book in a soft sci-fi series intended for a YA audience but is equally enjoyable to adults. It is a great action thriller with plenty of thrills, spills, and shocking revelations to make it read pretty quickly, much like book 1. In the first book (Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves), Sena and Iska are the stars, and in Swift the Storm, the narration and focus switch to Remy, a supporting character in Cold the Night. I enjoyed this switch. All the characters I loved from Cold the Night are still very much in the story, but the switch in focus opens up so many new possibilities and story potential.
With Iska in tow, Remy and Sena fly to the planet of Maraas, a jungle planet plagued by…you might have already guessed…fierce storms. Remy is looking for a friend she had to leave behind. When they get there, they find a planet on the brink of revolution and an old partner of Remy’s, Kiran, who is also a genetically engineered corporate agent like Remy. Remy and Sena get caught up in the revolution while looking for Alora, and the action doesn’t end until the last page. I loved how it ended, too, leaving open a story I am so excited to read in the next book.
There are meaningful themes surrounding friendship that are a pure delight, not to mention greed, corruption, and revolution, giving the story the many thrills and weight needed. The world-building is exceptional, and the writing engages with an easy flow that invites the reader in. This part of the series did not have the emotional impact that the first one did, but it still is a highly entertaining read that leads the reader to the next part of the story, which will be amazing.
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.
Son of the Poison Rose by Jonathan Maberry is the second book in the Kagen the Damned series, and whoa want an epic punch in the gut (and I mean that in a good way). The world-building is immersive, and the story is so engaging that, even though it’s over 700 pages, it is still hard to put down.
Kagen is a true piece of work but demonstrates the theme of what makes a hero in such a complex and realistic way that I have to forgive him for all his many flaws and failings. He has survived his confrontation with the Witch-king at the end of Book 1 and is now on the run for his life. He must figure out what to do next because he knows the Witch-king also survived the battle, and he must die if the world is to be free from his tyranny.
Sometimes with his friends at his side and occasionally alone, Kagen decides that finding the source of the Witch-kings power is the way to defeat him, but it’s a secret that the Witch-king is guarding with his most potent force, so it’s truly an epic task. There is never a dull moment with Kagen, so the pace is breakneck from start to finish. And I loved every moment of it. Even though this series is daunting in length, it is well worth the page commitment to join Kagen on his journey.