Kingdom of Souls | Book review
Author: Rena Barron
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Page count: 496
Goodreads synopsis: here
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.
An addicting tale about magic and gods who like to play games.
When I saw this book on my twitter feed, it screamed amazing, and when I read the character profiles written by the author, I knew I just wanted this book. I signed up to the travelling book initiative, and the UK arc is so beautiful, I was gutted that I wasn’t able to keep it. Ok lets get into the actual review.
This story follows a young girl Arrah, born into a family with magic but doesn’t possess any. She is desperate and longing for magic to come to her. She cannot wait any longer as the kingdom is falling to chaos before her eyes and an evil is rising. She is willing to pay a price for magic to protect the people and her friends. This book started out quite strong, it gripped me and claimed my soul. I really enjoyed the author’s writing of different cultures, witchcraft and scheming gods. I loved the way Barron trapped me in her imagination, the vivid and rich details of the settings and intrigue weaved in the pages that held me in my seat, tabbing page after page.
The magic is interesting and original. Although it could be confusing at times, I like how each tribe wielded magic in a different way and the way they all differed from each other. The story and world pacing was fast. Sometimes too fast. There were random things happening and holes left in the story. I felt like there were too many jumps in the in the plot. Just random things that came out of nowhere and the story didn’t flow together. In the middle and towards the end, I felt like there was too much repetition, Arrah always saying she wants to do this, be brave but nothing happens and I got annoyed with her to be honest. The world building was good but at times I feel like there were a lot of wasted pages with Arrah just pining for magic and hating her mother. There is some romance in the novel, though theres not much but it was little and not really developed. I liked Rudjek though and the side characters, although we didn’t get much of them. I really was hoping to read about The Demon King but we only got snippets of him. I hope we get more of him in the next book because he really intrigues me.
Oh lets not forget the twists and turns, that was amazing and I totally didn’t expect that, and that cliffhanger!!!!
Overall I think this debut was strong, yes not perfect, it did have its flaws, but there were really good parts too! I wasn’t completely awestruck but most debuts are not, in fact the authors manage to shock us with their second novel, leaving us completely astonished right? That is what I feel this series will be, I feel like it will get better with each book and I’m looking forward to seeing the development of this world and characters.
Thank you to the publisher and the author for sending me a review copy.