Review: Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron

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.

I was lucky enough to recieve an early reader e-copy of this wonderful book. I loved the sound of it but wasn’t really sure what to expect from it. What I got was incredible writing and a story that managed to surprise me several times.

Kingdom of Souls was darker than I expected in places but never felt like it went too far. It did take on some tough topics, mind control, emotional trauma, non consensual sex and plenty of murder. Despite the dark tones it still somehow managed to be hopeful as well.

The writing is clever and sharp, I was pleasantly surprised by this book, when thinking I had its direction all figured out it turned down a different (and much more interesting) path.

Arrah was a likeable and well rounded main character, her reasons for doing things always made sense and were thought through. Her relationship with her father was warm and felt very real.

Likewise her interactions with her friends spoke of long running jokes and years of spending time together without going over the top.

I loved the magic system in the book. The visual representations of magic that users could see, the blessing of magic gifted by the Orisha’s and the anti-magic of the Cravens. It all blended into a well rounded magical system that was fun to learn about.

A stunning debut novel, I look forward to reading more from Rena in the future.

With thanks to HarperCollins for an early copy in exchange for an honest review. Kingdom of Souls is available 19 September 2019

3 thoughts on “Review: Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron

  1. I was fortunate enough to also be able to read an ARC of this book and like you, I absolutely loved it. I was dubious to start with but it still proved me wrong and took me by surprise on more than one occasion. I particularly loved her relationship with her friends. Great review!

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