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Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron



Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron
Published in: 2019
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Rating: [★★★★]

This ARC was provided by Harper Voyager (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.

And now for something completely different…

Synopsis from Goodreads: Magic has a price—if you’re willing to pay.

Born into a family of powerful witchdoctors, Arrah yearns for magic of her own. But each year she fails to call forth her ancestral powers, while her ambitious mother watches with growing disapproval.

There’s only one thing Arrah hasn’t tried, a deadly last resort: trading years of her own life for scraps of magic. Until the Kingdom’s children begin to disappear, and Arrah is desperate to find the culprit.

She uncovers something worse. The long-imprisoned Demon King is stirring. And if he rises, his hunger for souls will bring the world to its knees… unless Arrah pays the price for the magic to stop him.

Book Worm’s Thoughts: First off a quick warning this is the first book in a planned trilogy and it ends with a cliff hanger. I have to wait a whole year to find out what happens next.

I loved the world building in this, the African like setting, the different tribes each with their different ways of using magic, the respect paid to ancestors and the central mythology of immortal gods playing with the lives of their human worshippers for no better reason than the fact they can.

While I would say that the target audience is young adults there are a lot of dark things that happen in this narrative so here are the trigger warnings:

  1. Child murder
  2. Mind manipulation by those in power to “break” the minds of others
  3. Blood magic
  4. Human sacrifice
  5. The creation of zombies
  6. There is also a troublesome issue relating to sexual consent

I loved the fact that the central character is female and that it is down to her to save the world. She does have help from her friends but when it comes down to it the fate of everyone is in her hands.

I also liked the fact that not everything is black and white, yes there is an evil demon king but we actually get to hear some of his backstory and it shows that there are reasons why he has become as he is. Even the essentially “good” characters are not always what they appear to be on the surface.

Who would like this? I would recommend this to those who like their fantasy worlds to be rich and complex, where good and evil are just the two faces of the same coin. If anyone else out there has read and loved The Host by Stephanie Meyer this has the same kind of vibe albeit in a completely different setting and story type.

We want to hear from you! Have you read this book? What did you think? 

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