Rise of the Branded by Scott Keen

Rise of the Branded
Scott Keen
(Scar of the Downers, #2)
Publication date: November 22nd 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Rating: 5/5

Pursued into the wild by the soldiers of Ungstah, former slave Crik and the other freed Downers encounter the magical and terrifying nature of their world. They face spectral Shepherds, man-eating Rukmush, and the ancient giants of the earth. When two of their group are captured, Crik is distraught and powerless.Meanwhile back in the city, Durgan, former Captain of the King’s Guard who allowed Crik and his friends to escape from Ungstah, is now a Downer, one of the Branded. Amid the murmurings of an uprising among the Branded, Durgan just wants to be left alone to search for his missing son. But in the process, he discovers how dark the powers of Sulfus the king truly are. Durgan must take a stand in the coming war between the Branded and the powerful armies of Sulfus.

To kill any hope of escape for the city’s Branded, the army comes after Crik and his friends to make an example of them. The answers for Durgan, Crik and freedom for all Downers lie hidden in the dark recesses of the Northern Reaches, in the treacherous places Crik and his companions are about to enter.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Sequel To:


You can read my review here.


This is my review for the second book in the series “The Scar of the Downers” by Keen. Therefore, there will be some spoilers from the first book. You can click on the link I posted above so you can read my thoughts on the first book.
Let’s get into it, shall we? 🙂


The story picks up where the first book ended.

Crik, Jak, Tinker, and the others are on the run from the King’s soldiers who want to bring them back to Ungstah. Although they managed to escape from that city, they’re not safe until they reach Talorc’s hometown. Therefore, most of the plot focuses on the gang’s adventure.

There is another parallel story to Crik’s.  Remember Durgan? The Captain who ended up as a Downer? Eh, he gets a lot more screen time in this book. We get to read his struggle to adapt as a Downer. We also get to see his change in attitude and mentality. I liked his story – and I have a feeling he is connected to the main plot, especially since Aniel steps in.

Overall, it was a lovely read and I like where the book is going. Just like the first book, the pace is fast, the plot flows, there are twists and turns, and adventure.


In this novel, we get to follow the same characters as the last book. There are some minor characters introduced as well, but we do not get to read from their perspective. The main points of view remain the ones from the first book – with the exception of Durgan, who becomes a more important character.
Once again, I love all the characters. I find them to be complex and dynamic, interesting, and diverse.

There is not much romance in this book; therefore, I decided to not make a separate section for it.

Crik and Tinker are still together, but there is a new pair among them. However, the story does not focus on them much. And I like that.


Great second book in the series. I really enjoyed it, even more so than the first one.

I cannot wait to read the next book in the series !!!


Author Bio:

Scott grew up in Black River, NY, the youngest of three children. While in law school, he realized he didn’t want to be a lawyer. So he did the practical thing – he became a writer. Now, many years later with an MFA in script and screenwriting, he is married with four daughters, two of whom he home schools.

Website / Goodreads


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