Books Fantasy Reviews Young Adult

Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron Review

Arrah comes from a long line of powerful witchdoctors, which is excellent when you need a witchdoctor, but not so great when you’re the only one in your family without powers.

44596261._SX318_SY475_Especially when you’re mom’s the super judgmental and eternally disappointed-in-you Ka-priestess of the Kingdom.

Still, Arrah has her father and grandmother, with whom she shares a close bond, and though she desperately yearns for power, she wouldn’t dream of trading her years for a touch of a charlatan magic (the last resort for someone not blessed with magic). Until the Kingdoms’ children start to disappear, and among the children, the young boy whom (only child) Arrah loves like a brother.

In a Hail Mary attempt, Arrah sacrifices her years for the magic necessary to find the children. But when she does, she uncovers something far worse, something with the power to not only destroy her family but the entire Kingdom — the Demon King (long-imprisoned by the orishas) is stirring.

I’ve long held a fascination with West African religions and traditions, and love stories that incorporate the West African creation story and the Orishas (the primordial divinities, or gods, if you like). In Kingdom of Souls, Barron mixes fact with fiction in such a way that makes this an utterly addictive read.

What’s more, is that Barron has given us a phenomenal cast of characters who lead this story through its (many) twists and turns. There’s fierce friend, swordsman, and future leader of the Kingdom, Rudjek, (who’s suddenly starting to look very yummy up close) and warrior and friend, Sukar, whose possesses wit and humor in spades but lacks timing (and totally reminds me of The Mortal Instrument’s, Simon).

The story flows from start to finish, building into a satisfying and epic finale that has me craving the sequel.

If you enjoyed books like Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone and Jay Kristoff’s The Nevernight Chronicle, you might totally find yourself loving Kingdom of Souls.


Book: Kingdom of Souls (Kingdom of Souls #1)
Published: HarperVoyager
Pages: 496
Publication Date: September 19th, 2019
Ages: 15+
Stars: 5/5

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