Kingdom of Souls – ARC Review

Synopsis – 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

I know I can get a teensy bit dramatic when I finish a book that I really really like but this was such a good read!

The world-building in this story from beginning to end is AH-mazing! Just when you think you’re getting a handle on the magic system and the mythology BAM! You’re hit with a curveball! 

The Good: Amazing MC’s! Honestly, Barron created well-rounded three dimensional main characters who were completely relatable. But I’ll admit, it was a bit difficult for me to keep track of some of the side characters in the beginning.

The writing style was also phenomenal! The settings were especially descriptive and it felt like I was walking alongside Arrah wherever she went.

The plot and sub-plots blended well with the storyline. And although I’m more interested in character-driven, stories (and a subplot or two felt more character-driven) I think overall the execution was done well. 

The pace was slow at the beginning of the book. Which is normal with a new fantasy, as the author is painting a broad picture of their world, the characters and plot/plot devices. However, it picked up quite a bit from the middle to the end. Like edge of your seat, wondering what would happen next, fast.

The not-so good: The only complaint I have is in regards to the sections where we’re taken out of Arrah’s POV (first person) and into the minds of the Orishas, and other powerful characters. At times, it was difficult to understand what perspective I was reading in or what was going on. I didn’t know if those sections were mostly inner monologue or third voice omniscient dialogue, which detracted from the story for me.

What I loved: I really enjoyed the relationship between Arrah and her father, Oshe. He’s loving, caring and compassionate yet stern with Arrah. And teaches her the ways of her people with or without magic. He’s a stronghold in the foundation of her character as well as her development throughout the story. It is refreshing to see this dynamic in fantasy.

Overall, this is a great start to what I hope will be an awesome trilogy and I might have just found a new fandom to stan!! 

I recommend Kingdom of Souls to those who like a well-written chosen-one trope with a twist, descriptive world-building and who are interested in learning more about West African mythology and folklore. I also recommend it to fans of Tomi Adeyemi, Leigh Bardugo and Sarah J Maas.

4.75 Palm Leaves (rounded up to 5 on Goodreads

Publication Date: September 3, 2019 

Author: Rena Barron 

Genre: YA Fantasy

Special thanks to the Author, Rena Barron and her team for including me in the Travel Book Initiative for Kingdom of Souls. Receiving an ARC did not affect my rating or review!

Listed below are links where you can pre-order this fantastic book! They are not affiliate links, they’re for your convenience.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository (UK Edition)