Book Review

Kingdom Of Souls

Title: King Of Souls

Author: Rena Barron

Print Length: 487 pages

Publisher: HarperTeen (September 3, 2019)

Publication Date: September 3, 2019

Print Length: 487 pages

THERE’S MAGIC IN HER BLOOD.

Arrah is a young woman from a long line of the most powerful witch doctors in the land. But she fails at magic, fails to call upon the ancestors and can’t even cast the simplest curse.

Shame and disappointment follow her.

When strange premonitions befall her family and children in the kingdom begin to disappear, Arrah undergoes the dangerous and scorned process of selling years of her life for magic. This borrowed power reveals a nightmarish betrayal and a danger beyond what she could have imagined. Now Arrah must find a way to master magic, or at least buy it, in order to save herself and everything she holds dear.

An explosive fantasy set in a world of magic and legend with a twist you will never see coming.

****

This book was received from the Author, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own

Conntent warning about assault. Without getting too spoiler-y, there are several women characters whose past magical, psychological, and physical abuse at the hands of a powerful man is described obliquely, but it’s clear that the women are deeply traumatized by it. So much so that it fuels the motivations of one woman in particular and sets in motion the plot of the novel.

Kingdom of Souls Kingdom of Souls is a gripping, riveting, and ambitious dark fantasy epic. This is the first of a planned trilogy, but there is so much plot crammed into the first book. Vivid, magical, and utterly thrilling. Kingdom of Souls is a story of a girl born to a powerful bloodline of witchdoctors with no powers of her own who discovers that she may be the only one who stands a chance to save her kingdom from being ruined …but she finds this battle to be more personal than she expects.

The authors truly excels is in worldbuilding and character development. The stage she sets is as lush as a jungle and unforgiving as a desert. This is no homogeneous fantasy land. Inspired by West African mythology, Barron infuses her world with a rich tapestry of ideas.

The main protagonist, Arrah, has no magic. Every year she attends a ritual that should reveal her powers, and every year she leaves as magic-less as she arrived. Her father, Oshe, is a skilled herbalist and potion-maker and her mother, Arti, is the third most powerful person in the kingdom. Her father’s love and her witchdoctor grandmother’s compassion make bearable her mother’s seething disgust at her daughter’s shame, as does the affection shared between her and Rudjek, the son of the king’s right hand also known as her mother’s nemesis.She is willing to sacrifice everything for her people, even when they despise her.

Throughout it all, she remains true to who she is while growing into a better version of herself.

Shortly after her sixteenth birthday, Arrah’s world is shattered. Children have been disappearing, and fear and distrust is spreading across the city. The temple priests cannot locate them and the orishas—the gods her people worship—are not responding to prayers.

When a friend of Arrah’s is taken, she makes the ultimate sacrifice and trades years of her life to cheat her way into possessing magic. What she discovers next propels her down a path she cannot escape from and a destiny she is ill-prepared for. The Demon King, believed to have been killed by the orishas millennia ago, is rising once more and Arrah’s fate is tied to his. Before this is over, she will lose everything and everyone she loves, maybe even herself.

Throughout it all, she remains true to who she is while growing into a better version of herself.

*They are some uneven pacing issues that should have been addressed before publication, but over all it was a solid ya fantasy.*

Have a wonderful day.