Kingdom of Souls (Kingdom of Souls, #1)
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.

Kingdom of Souls (Kingdom of Souls, #1) Details

TitleKingdom of Souls (Kingdom of Souls, #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 19th, 2019
PublisherHarperVoyager
ISBN-139780008302238
Rating
GenreFantasy, Young Adult, Young Adult Fantasy

Kingdom of Souls (Kingdom of Souls, #1) Review

  • Riley
    January 1, 1970
    I am so impressed by this book. It was a lot darker than I anticipated and the world was so rich with mythology and magic. I loved that the main character was one of the only people in this world without magic. She comes from a very powerful family, both her parents have very strong magical lineages. Instead of being the special ~one~ she was completely unspecial and had everything working against her but despite that she had ambition and hope to become something greater. This also heavily featu I am so impressed by this book. It was a lot darker than I anticipated and the world was so rich with mythology and magic. I loved that the main character was one of the only people in this world without magic. She comes from a very powerful family, both her parents have very strong magical lineages. Instead of being the special ~one~ she was completely unspecial and had everything working against her but despite that she had ambition and hope to become something greater. This also heavily featured a mother/daughter relationship that was unlike any I have read before and had so many layers. Every time I thought I had figured them out something new was revealed. The family dynamics in this book were very complex. The reason why it's not a full 5 stars is because the pacing was a little off at times. It is quite a long book and there were moments that dragged a bit. But overall it was such a fantastic start to a series and I can't wait to see where it goes from here!
    more
  • C.G. Drews
    January 1, 1970
    This was a deeply complex, rich and dark fantasy that had me intrigued from the very first page. 👀 I do like my epic fantasy daaaark and this definitely delves into that side of magic, with witchdoctors gone rogue and demons breaking free and strings of murders. It's not without hope, though! As Arrah, even though she's magicless, will stop at nothing to defeat this darkness. We stan a Gryffindor heroine. Let's go 😭🙌🏻// West-African inspired mythologyI am so so here for more #ownvoices fantasy! This was a deeply complex, rich and dark fantasy that had me intrigued from the very first page. 👀 I do like my epic fantasy daaaark and this definitely delves into that side of magic, with witchdoctors gone rogue and demons breaking free and strings of murders. It's not without hope, though! As Arrah, even though she's magicless, will stop at nothing to defeat this darkness. We stan a Gryffindor heroine. Let's go 😭🙌🏻// West-African inspired mythologyI am so so here for more #ownvoices fantasy! It fiercely focuses on Arrah and her relationship with magic (aka she has none) and her mother (a powerful witchdoctor with ptsd from being tortured for years by her predecessor) and how children start to go missing and no one seems interested in looking into it.I always find fantasies overwhelmingly intense at first as you find your footing amongst the world building. I do admit this had a lot of characters and as someone who barely keeps up with a cast of 3 (shh; I suffer ok. I don't remember my 4 nieces' names) I did struggle with the characters AND the amount of gods and tribes to all keep straight. But I appreciate the complexity of this world and all the building. It felt like it was done with a lot of love and care, lots of depth. And of course there's tons of dark witchdoctory magic, rituals, trading of years for magic, and dangerous cursed shenanigans that were super intriguing to read.// plot Super super intense! It's not actiony all the time, but there's a LOT going on. It crams a lot in to the 500pgs. // charactersOk Arrah was precious and I did love her so much instantly. She strives so hard to be enough but is always found lacking by her mother, and infamous cold and powerful woman. I also loved her friendship with Rudjek. It has a bit of a Romeo x Juliet vibe, since Rudjek's father is Arrah's mother's enemy. And I really shipped them but ahh!!! Stressful ship. (view spoiler)[I also really loved the relationship Arrah had with her demon-sister. I think it needed more page time though. I loved that Arrah wanted to save her before condemn her though. And creepy powerful kids are my faaave. (hide spoiler)]Also can we take a moment for a book full of FEMALE VILLAIN!? Complex. Interesting. Epic female villains. Yesss thanks. // overallDefinitely try this one if you love complex and dense worlds and dark magic. It needs time to sink in and I do plan to reread via audio at some point because I was a bit lost at the end. But it's hardcore and is full of intense and loving cultural pride, messy families, and it discusses trauma and retaliations.
    more
  • Umairah | Sereadipity
    January 1, 1970
    Plot: 5/5Characters: 5/5Writing: 5/5Kingdom of Souls was a tale of epic proportions set in a West African fantasy world full of magic and mystery. It was a captivating but also a very dark and heavy read that made me feel all of the emotions possible and it was so intense that at one point I just had to put the book down and process my turbulent feelings.Arrah was born from two powerful witchdoctors but had no magic to call her own no matter how hard she tried or how much she wanted it. But when Plot: 5/5Characters: 5/5Writing: 5/5Kingdom of Souls was a tale of epic proportions set in a West African fantasy world full of magic and mystery. It was a captivating but also a very dark and heavy read that made me feel all of the emotions possible and it was so intense that at one point I just had to put the book down and process my turbulent feelings.Arrah was born from two powerful witchdoctors but had no magic to call her own no matter how hard she tried or how much she wanted it. But when children started to go missing and an ancient evil began to resurface Arrah was prepared to make a great sacrifice to gain magical powers and protect the people she loved.I liked Arrah's determination and courage- even though she didn't always make the right choices she had the best intentions at heart. It was also great to read a book about a character who wasn't 'the chosen one', who didn't have power and glory handed to them on a plate and who had to pay a steep price for the power they desired.Arrah didn't quite know where she belonged and she was trapped between two worlds and cultures that both made her feel like a disappointment and I felt really bad for her as she tried so hard to live up to what she thought was expected of her. She was consumed by a need to possess magic and prove her worth, but it was ironic that when she finally achieved her goal she wished she could go back to her life without magic and appreciated all the things she didn't before.The other characters were all well-developed and endearing too. Rudjek was really cute and I loved his relationship with Arrah, and the whole 'ill-fated lovers who the world has conspired against' trope was done very well. Sukar and Essnai were also very kind, supportive friends.I also liked how the more villainous characters like Arti or The Demon King were presented as multi-faceted characters with complex motivations. I even felt bad for Efiya, who was simply awful, because I think she was just a product of the environment and circumstances she grew up in.Overall, Kingdom of Souls was a superb book full of rich, sprawling word building and a story that will sweep you away. It's a book that I highly recommend and I am so excited to read it's sequel!Thank you to HarperVoyager UK for providing me with this gorgeous proof copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
    more
  • Rena Barron
    January 1, 1970
    I'm bias, of course! This story is deeply personal to me and explores themes that have shaped my life. I hope readers enjoy it too! Now that Kingdom of Souls is officially out in the world, I want to include content warnings for those interested in reading the book. The story includes blood magic, an intentional infliction of self-injury in a ritual, challenging familial relationship, death of a child, death in battle scenes, mention of animal sacrifice (not on page), animal possession, mind man I'm bias, of course! This story is deeply personal to me and explores themes that have shaped my life. I hope readers enjoy it too! Now that Kingdom of Souls is officially out in the world, I want to include content warnings for those interested in reading the book. The story includes blood magic, an intentional infliction of self-injury in a ritual, challenging familial relationship, death of a child, death in battle scenes, mention of animal sacrifice (not on page), animal possession, mind manipulation, and an act of a sexual nature that occurs when a character tricks another character while disguising their appearance.Lastly, there is a World Guide for Kingdom Of Souls which includes terms and definitions that appear in the book: http://kingdomofsoulsbook.com/guide.
    more
  • Elise (TheBookishActress)
    January 1, 1970
    So this book apparently has not been announced yet, but it's being pitched as Wonder Woman in a West-African inspired world. also, it's about a girl with no power trying to defeat her sister with power. sign me up.
  • Jessy
    January 1, 1970
    I don't really like this cover (the US one) but whatever. Still gonna read this. The UK cover though isn't that bad so that's cool.(The ARC is so much more beautiful)
  • Chad
    January 1, 1970
    This was billed as a YA African inspired tale but I didn't pickup on either very much. Barron has established a rich, complex fantasy world that other than having witch doctors didn't scream Africa to me. That is by no means a bad thing. I've just read enough fantasy that elements like tribes and pantheons blended in to general fantasy world building more than anything else. This was very complex and dark for a YA book. Other than the main characters being 17 to 18, I wouldn't consider this a YA This was billed as a YA African inspired tale but I didn't pickup on either very much. Barron has established a rich, complex fantasy world that other than having witch doctors didn't scream Africa to me. That is by no means a bad thing. I've just read enough fantasy that elements like tribes and pantheons blended in to general fantasy world building more than anything else. This was very complex and dark for a YA book. Other than the main characters being 17 to 18, I wouldn't consider this a YA book, but just general fantasy. (I know labeling as YA probably sells more copies.) The majority of this book is mostly world building, setting things up for the future. I did feel like the last 100 pages jumped to what could have been the end of the series. After slowly developing the world over the first half of the book, events escalate quickly. There was a huge leveling up of the characters' abilities at the end that I thought would have took place over the course of the trilogy, but Barron decided to take the book in another direction.Arrah is a young woman hoping to come into her magic. When children start disappearing, she decides to force the issue doing something drastic. This kicks off events that will change her world irrevocably. Received a review copy from Harper and Edelweiss. All thoughts are my own and in no way influenced by the aforementioned.
    more
  • Aly (In Wonderland)
    January 1, 1970
    Trigger Warning: Kingdom of Souls contains scenes of violence, sacrifice, blood magic and parental abuse. Proceed with caution. "For she will rise from the ashes alit in flames.For no water will ever quell her pain.For no redemption will befall her.For we will never speak her name. -- Song of the Unnamed" Nothing I will ever write will give you an idea of how truly wonderfully written and amazing Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron is. I was lucky enough to be part of the “traveling book initiativ Trigger Warning: Kingdom of Souls contains scenes of violence, sacrifice, blood magic and parental abuse. Proceed with caution. "For she will rise from the ashes alit in flames.For no water will ever quell her pain.For no redemption will befall her.For we will never speak her name. -- Song of the Unnamed" Nothing I will ever write will give you an idea of how truly wonderfully written and amazing Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron is. I was lucky enough to be part of the “traveling book initiative” in which a single ARC was sent from hand-to-hand in order for readers to join in on the KOS hype train before release.If it hadn’t been for work and other daily annoyances, I would have finished this book a lot faster than the three days it took me. But when I did finish it, at 11 o’clock at night with The Big Bang Theory playing quietly in the background, I couldn’t help thinking I could never read another fantasy novel the same way again. I clutched this book to my chest for an hour, wanting to scream about it from the rooftops but not finding the words to describe how desperately you all need this novel in your lives.Coming from a family of powerful witchdoctors, Arrah can’t wait for the day her own magic presents itself. But after failure after failure in calling for her own powers every year, Arrah is willing to try one last thing: trade her own life years for magic.When the kingdom’s children begin to disappear, Arrah is desperate to find the culprit using her own powers. Alongside friends, she makes powerful sacrifices and takes a dangerous journey in discovering who she is and what she was born to do.I’m gonna say this now: this book would not have been this fantastic if it had been written by a white woman. Barron threads her own experiences and history into the story, weaving a web that does not fail to capture its audience. Arrah is steadfast and headstrong, determined to make a difference in the world and I felt that right in the core of my being. Who doesn’t want to make a name for themselves? Who feels like they’re failing when they don’t seem to be moving forward? I know I do. Not only are the characters so well-developed that they leap off the page, but the kingdom itself is pure magic. The writing brims with power as Barron describes the city Arrah lives in; the marketplace she visits; the tight family bond she has with her father. It’s impossible to not fall in love with the world built upon the pages of Kingdom of Souls. Make no mistake, though. Kingdom of Souls is not an easy book to read. There’s blood and violence (a lot of the magic relies heavily on blood magic) and a lot of dark topics are explored that may make you uneasy, so please proceed with caution.Preorder this book. Rave about it. Buy it for your mum and your grandparents. Buy it for your dad and your uncles. Buy it for your colleagues, your new date, your best friend who doesn’t really read much. There’s a little something for everyone in Kingdom of Souls, and it should not (CANNOT) pass under the radar.
    more
  • Schizanthus
    January 1, 1970
    I don’t really know where to begin with this review. There was so much about Kingdom of Souls that I loved. I adored the world building, the rich mythology and learning how magic works in Arrah’s world, yet at the same time I was introduced to so many characters, tribes and gods that I found it difficult to keep track of them.Enter my cheat guide. I had no idea who or what was going to be important later on and I was so overwhelmed in the beginning (up to about 20%) that I found myself frantical I don’t really know where to begin with this review. There was so much about Kingdom of Souls that I loved. I adored the world building, the rich mythology and learning how magic works in Arrah’s world, yet at the same time I was introduced to so many characters, tribes and gods that I found it difficult to keep track of them.Enter my cheat guide. I had no idea who or what was going to be important later on and I was so overwhelmed in the beginning (up to about 20%) that I found myself frantically making notes about practically everyone. I’ve included these notes in this review mostly for my benefit in case I need a refresher course prior to embarking upon the second book but if they help you in any way, you’re welcome. I’ve marked them as spoilers because I mention some characters that don’t even appear in this story until near the end. I’ve tried to avoid spoilery type info dumps here but please still be aware that you may read something in there you don’t want to know yet.(view spoiler)[ Arrah’s Family* Arti - mother, from the Mulani tribe, “Ka-Priestess of the Kingdom”* Oshe - father, from the Aatiri tribe, has a store in the West Market* Efia - sisterArrah’s Family’s Staff* Nezi - porter, has burnt hands and a limp* Ty - matron, does the cooking, doesn’t speak to anyone, has “episodes”* Terra - has only been on staff for 2 years, does the rest of the chores, Arrah’s age, gossipsArrah’s Friends* Hassana - female, beautiful, Aatiri* Rudjek - male, smells of lilac and woodsmoke* Sukar - male, tattoos on his forearms and shaved head glow when the magic is there or he’s near someone with the gift, ZuRudjek’s Family* Serre - mother, daughter of the North, her country is Delene* Suran Omari - father, Vizier* Uran - older brother, whose mind was broken during the Rite of Passage* Jemi - older brother, whose mind was broken during the Rite of Passage, killed a merchant* Crown Prince Kelechi - brother, two years older than Rudjek* Second Son Narmer - brother, Arrah’s age (16)Rudjek’s Attendants* Majka - best friend, gendar, parents are commanders under the Master of Arms, 17* Kira - 17, father is the Master of Scribes Kingdom Hierarchy* Almighty One - the most powerful position, held by Dereje, who was best friends with Suran before he rose to the throne* Vizier - second most powerful position, held by Suran Omari, “governs the Kingdom”* Ka-Priestess - the third most powerful position, held by Arti, “the voice of the orishas”The Vizier’s Guildmasters* Master of Arms - Rudjek’s aunt and the Vizier’s twin sister, General Solar, “leads the military forces of the Kingdom: the gendars, the guardsmen, and the shotani.”* Master of Scribes - Ny (Kira’s father)* Master of Scholars* Master of Laborers* Artisan’s guild - Guildmaster OhakimShotani - elite assassins, have some magic, live in the Kingdom Crests - show rank or position* Omari - lion’s head* Sukkara (the royal family) - ram, “symbol of their blood connection to the sun orisha, Re’Mec”Some of the Locations* Tamar - where Arrah, Rudjek and their families live* East Market - in Tamar, Kofi (Arrah’s friend) works there, charlatans are also there* West Market - in Tamar, Oshe’s store is there* Kefu - time works differently thereTribes of Heka - Heka gives magic to the tribes* Aatiri - “do not walk or leap, for clouds of magic carry them. Grandmother’s silver locs coil on top of her head like a crown, and she wears a half dozen necklaces of teeth. The Aatiri are tall and lean with prominent cheekbones and wiry hair braided like mine.” Arrah’s grandmother, Malikah, is the Aatiri chieftain. Malikah’s grandmother was Yaaba. Other ancestors are Machie and Ara.* Kes - the smallest tribe. Their lands “border the valley to the northwest. Their diaphanous skin and near-colorless eyes remind me of the Northern people.” “lightning cuts across the sky and sparks dance on their skin”* Litho - “lies southwest of the Temple of Heka in the woodlands. White dust covers their bodies and vests of rawhide.” “The ground shifts beneath their feet, moving as gentle as ocean waves”* Mulani - “live the closest to the Temple of Heka.” “It was a Mulani woman Heka revealed his presence to when he first descended from the stars a thousand years ago. Now the Mulani chieftain serves as his voice. The position would belong to my mother had she not left and never looked back.” - their witchdoctors are all women. “They have broad shoulders, curvy bodies, and skin ranging from deep brown to alabaster.” The Mulani Chieftain is Arti’s first cousin* Zu - “from the mountains south of the Temple” “leap above our heads, their feet supported by air. Tattoos cover their bodies and they wear crowns of antlers”, the Zu seer is BarasaOrishas - worshipped in the Kingdom, they have human and animal aspects* Esi - the sky god* Fayouma - the mother of beast and fowl* Fram - the balancer of life and death* Kekiyé - orisha of gratitude* Kiva - protector of children and innocence * Koré - moon orisha - female, twin god* Mouran - master of the sea* Nana - god that shaped the earth* Oma - orisha of dreams* Re’Mec - sun orisha - male, twin god* Sisi - guardian of fire* Ugeniou - the harvester* Unnamed - cobras around each of her arms* Yookulu - weaver of seasonsCravens* Fadi - the group’s leader, male, excels at shifting* Juhanah - female - group’s best tracker* Lumo - Mensah’s twin, group’s best healer* Mensah - Lumo’s twin, group’s best fighter* Riham - female, shortest of the group, “can bend space and manipulate her environment”Demons* Dayo - Demon King* Merka - possesses a cat before they possess a fishermanFamiliars - shadowy, shapeless and ever changing. They can only be seen by people with tribal blood. They’re believed to be relics of people destroyed by demons. “Wherever the Familiars go, death soon follows.” (hide spoiler)]I think it was because I was so bogged down in my note taking that I managed to entirely bypass the whole ‘connecting with any of the characters’ experience. One character that I thought I would form a connection with early on died soon thereafter and the villain I was hoping to cheer on didn’t make much of an impact on me.Had I found the guide on the book’s website before I read this book instead of after, my reading experience may have been vastly different. I learned things from this guide that I missed entirely when I read the book. However, considering a couple of the characters illustrated on the cast page don’t exist in the first book, perhaps some of the guide also relates to later books in the series.Impacts of trauma play out in various ways with multiple characters, which I found very interesting. Although it’s not mentioned by name it’s almost certain a few characters could be diagnosed with PTSD. The violation involved in the (view spoiler)[mind manipulation (hide spoiler)] wasn’t that dissimilar to survivors’ experiences of sexual assault.Some of Arrah’s thought patterns were quite repetitive. Hearing about how much of a disappointment she was to her mother and how she had longed to have magic her entire life provided me with sufficient underdog fuel to want her to succeed initially, but the amount of times she lamented both began to annoy me as the story progressed.Although I witnessed plenty of action, with fight scenes, destruction and all round mayhem, it also felt like I spent a good portion of this book waiting around with Arrah for the next sequence of events to begin to unfold. The ending was quite abrupt and left a ton of unanswered questions, which will hopefully be addressed in the next two books (yep, I found out after I started reading that this is the first book of a trilogy). However, I’m not entirely sure if I’ll still be as eager to know some of the answers, like what two of the characters were whispering about, by the time the second book is released.If I reread this book I would spend less time focusing on the minutiae and try instead to form meaningful connections with the main characters. It felt like Arrah’s world was real and this is why I’ve given this book ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ instead of ⭐️⭐️⭐️. Had I been emotionally invested in Arrah’s journey this could have been a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ book for me.Content warnings include (view spoiler)[abusive and neglectful parents, animal possession, blood magic, death by suicide, death of children and mind manipulation (hide spoiler)].Thank you so much to NetGalley and HarperVoyager, an imprint of HarperCollins UK, for granting my wish to read this book.
    more
  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    16-year-old Arrah is the daughter of powerful Witchdoctors. But she doesn’t have the magic that her parents have, and she so desperately wants it and the approval of her mother. That she does everything she can to get it. She loves her dad dearly and closer that her mother. When children start to missing Arrah finds out that it’s her mother who is responsible, trying to summon a Demonic king. So Arrah performs a ritual to get magic so she can stop her mother. But it takes years off her.Kingdom o 16-year-old Arrah is the daughter of powerful Witchdoctors. But she doesn’t have the magic that her parents have, and she so desperately wants it and the approval of her mother. That she does everything she can to get it. She loves her dad dearly and closer that her mother. When children start to missing Arrah finds out that it’s her mother who is responsible, trying to summon a Demonic king. So Arrah performs a ritual to get magic so she can stop her mother. But it takes years off her.Kingdom of Souls is a unique fantasy tale of Witchdoctors, magic, demons, gods in a world of an African setting. It had great characters especially Arrah who trying to get approval from her mother and yet going against her trying to get rid of the demon king. I thought it was beautifully written and I really enjoyed it until I got a bit confused of what was happening at the end. 4 stars from me.
    more
  • Cortney
    January 1, 1970
    4.25 Stars“For her story begins at the endFull of pain and sweet revenge.For she shall not rest in this life,For she must suffer for her sins.”Arrah doesn’t have magic like her parents and so you know she may be tempted to do something she shouldn’t just to get a little taste of what it’s like to have that kind of power. She’s just trying to help out a friend. What could possibly go wrong? Political intrigue. Check. Revenge. Check. Epic battle scenes. Check. Scheming unreliable gods. Check. Unex 4.25 Stars“For her story begins at the endFull of pain and sweet revenge.For she shall not rest in this life,For she must suffer for her sins.”Arrah doesn’t have magic like her parents and so you know she may be tempted to do something she shouldn’t just to get a little taste of what it’s like to have that kind of power. She’s just trying to help out a friend. What could possibly go wrong? Political intrigue. Check. Revenge. Check. Epic battle scenes. Check. Scheming unreliable gods. Check. Unexpected twists and turns. Check. This book has it all.I did have some issues keeping up with all the characters but that can be easily fixed with a character list I’m sure will probably be included in the final copy. It was a joy reading about this little group of friends and their fierce dedication to each other. I may have chuckled a time or two at their banter.Kingdom of Souls is bold, imaginative, shocking and full of death and destruction. The world building is phenomenal and cohesive. I see I’m going to have to prepare myself for the next book in this series. Obviously no one is safe. Thank you to the publisher for the review copy.
    more
  • Sana
    January 1, 1970
    Aaand the comparisons to Black Panther beginsNo, but for real this actually sounds great and I don't know how I didn't know about this before today like'Set in a West African-inspired fantasy kingdom and having a tone comparable to Wonder Woman, Last Witchdoctor centers on a young woman who fails at magic, fails to call upon the ancestors and can't even cast the simplest curse. In fact, she fails so much that her witchdoctor mother conjures a better daughter, one whose power soon threatens to de Aaand the comparisons to Black Panther beginsNo, but for real this actually sounds great and I don't know how I didn't know about this before today like'Set in a West African-inspired fantasy kingdom and having a tone comparable to Wonder Woman, Last Witchdoctor centers on a young woman who fails at magic, fails to call upon the ancestors and can't even cast the simplest curse. In fact, she fails so much that her witchdoctor mother conjures a better daughter, one whose power soon threatens to destroy everything in its path. Now the young woman must find a way to master magic, or at least buy it, in order to defeat her sister.'EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS SCREAMS AMAZING SO IT BETTER BESource
    more
  • destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
    January 1, 1970
    I just wanna stare at this cover forever. Look how powerful she looks. DAMN. ♥
  • Aaryn Flott
    January 1, 1970
    This book is definitely worth the freaking hype!!! RTC
  • Bookishrealm
    January 1, 1970
    This book was crazy. I mean beyond crazy. From the beginning of the book I had no idea what direction the book was taking and I definitely can say that it had twists and turns that no one could possibly see coming. The complexity of the world and the relationships between those with magic, regular humans, the Orishas, and the demon kind is something that takes time to understand. I wouldn’t go into this novel attempting to give definitive titles of “good and evil” to anyone. Most of, if not all, This book was crazy. I mean beyond crazy. From the beginning of the book I had no idea what direction the book was taking and I definitely can say that it had twists and turns that no one could possibly see coming. The complexity of the world and the relationships between those with magic, regular humans, the Orishas, and the demon kind is something that takes time to understand. I wouldn’t go into this novel attempting to give definitive titles of “good and evil” to anyone. Most of, if not all, the characters are morally grey which makes for a very compelling story. In terms of plot, I was extremely surprised at how complex the author attempted to be in world-building. At times, it felt as though there was too much information packed into this nearly 500 page novel that could be shared over what I am going to assume is book 2 and 3. And because of the overload of information, there were some parts of the book (namely the middle) that seemed to drag on. The plot didn’t really pick up speed again until the last 100-150 pages of the book. With such a interesting magic system and world, I felt as though this initial book could have been shorter. The character development was also interesting and I found that the main character Arrah was weaker than I wanted. My heart was searching for this kick ass female lead that could take on anything and yet most of the time I felt like she was relying on everyone and everything around her. I also feel as though her love interest was irrelevant to the core of the story. They didn’t need to be together and honestly after the crap that he pulled at the end of the book, they shouldn’t be together at all. I just want a YA fantasy book that has nothing to do with romance. Is that too much to ask for? Overall, I did enjoy the book and annotated the crap out of my copy. I wanted to give it 5 but I couldn’t justify it with the issues that I took note of. I definitely will be picking up the next book in the series because that ending was MIND BLOWING. If there is one thing I love about a book, it’s the authors ability to write a twist that no one sees coming.
    more
  • Meaghan
    January 1, 1970
    Arrah has been desperate for a whisper of magic all her life, as she was born to two of the most powerful witchdoctors of their generation. When her loved ones and city are put in danger, and magic still refuses to answer her call, Arrah must seek out other ways to make the magic do her bidding. But is she willing to pay the price?I was lucky enough to be chosen for the cross-country travelling ARC initiative, and even though the book wasn’t for me I absolutely support the idea! This one ARC is Arrah has been desperate for a whisper of magic all her life, as she was born to two of the most powerful witchdoctors of their generation. When her loved ones and city are put in danger, and magic still refuses to answer her call, Arrah must seek out other ways to make the magic do her bidding. But is she willing to pay the price?I was lucky enough to be chosen for the cross-country travelling ARC initiative, and even though the book wasn’t for me I absolutely support the idea! This one ARC is giving so many teen and POC reviewers the chance to read and review the ARC early without requiring a large following or hundreds of ARC copies. I was only 4th in this chain of readers, but I’m happy so many people are getting the chance to read this single copy of the book!This book is a difficult one to discuss for me, mainly because I really wanted to enjoy it and I need for there to be more POC written fantasy with POC characters in YA and fantasy in general. Unfortunately, while I loved many of the background aspects of this book, I just couldn’t click with the characters or the way this story was told.This book’s main issue was that it was way too ambitious for both a debut and a first book in a series. There was just so much in this book to digest, and I still don’t think I’ve fully finished understanding and thinking through all of it. It’s not only thick, but dense as well, and chock-full of just too much plot, action, and death. This book alone could have served as an entire series on its own with its plotline, as the book seems to follow the chain of exposition -> rising action -> climax -> falling action quite a few times. It was just too much for me as a reader alongside understanding the world and the lore woven into the novel as well.However, my biggest personal issue was the hopelessness of most of the novel. This novel gets really dark really fast, and I get that comes with demons, but the utter despair that this book emanates from 20%-90% with no hope of a true resolution put me off a whole lot. It seemed like the only way this could turn around was with a miracle, and instead of it reading as a struggle between the main cast and this evil, it seemed more like continuous beat down of the main cast as their loved ones were all slowly killed off. (Seriously, almost every single character you’re introduced to in the first 10-20% of the novel is dead by the end). Don’t get me wrong, I like dark books and dark magic and dark villains, but I need some balance. It needs to be a battle/war that the main character seems to have some feasible chance of winning for me to stay invested.Even with all those issues, I have to commend the author on the world and lore she created for the story and the way morality is played with in this book. The world seems to be incredibly diverse naturally, it doesn’t seem forced at all. Additionally, I absolutely loved the lore/religion of the world and how it factored into the plot itself, especially all the reveals made at the end. You also have no sense of good and evil in this book as almost everyone seems to walk the line between the two, with Arrah trying desperately to figure out which side to stake her life on. It was fascinating to analyze and read from that mindset alone.I am extremely tempted to continue the series when the rest of the books come out, even with my disappointing experience with the first book, as I did really enjoy what the author was trying to do. Hopefully there’s a little more balance in book 2, and I don’t get the same strong feelings of despair and hopelessness.
    more
  • The Artisan Geek
    January 1, 1970
    22/7/19Loved it! Review to come! :)30/4/19I AM HOLDING IT. I AM HOLDING IT. I AM HOLDING IT.Oh my gosh, a thousand times thank you and more to the amazing Rena for sending this book over!! I feel the mother continent calling for me you guys!!! AAAAAH :D29/3/19I have been hyped up about this books for days! This story line sounds so good oof! This is definitely in my top 5 most anticipated books for the rest of the year!! You can find me onYoutube | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Website
    more
  • K.S. Marsden
    January 1, 1970
    The tribes are blessed with magic, some stronger than others. Arrah has to deal with being the dud of the family. She yearns to use magic like everybody else, but she should be careful what she wishes for.I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.Set in a West-African inspired world, where magic is a necessary part of life, Arrah is the daughter of two of the most powerful people in the tribes, and her grandmother is edam - another powerful witch-doctor and tribal le The tribes are blessed with magic, some stronger than others. Arrah has to deal with being the dud of the family. She yearns to use magic like everybody else, but she should be careful what she wishes for.I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.Set in a West-African inspired world, where magic is a necessary part of life, Arrah is the daughter of two of the most powerful people in the tribes, and her grandmother is edam - another powerful witch-doctor and tribal leader.Everyone expects amazing things from Arrah, but... the years go by and are filled with disappointment, as magic fails to connect with her.I really liked Arrah, and can really sympathise with her. She has to grow up with the weight of all the expectations, made worse by the fact her family is very prominent and she can't hide from the judging eyes of the tribes.All Arrah wants is to be accepted and loved for who she is. Her father and her best friend/love-interest are both very supportive; but they don't make up for the fact that her mother is cold and distant, not hiding her disappointment in her daughter.The world that Barron has created is amazing. With gods, demons, a civilisation laced with magic and so much history behind it. I thought the story-telling was the perfect balance between conveying the depth of this world; but keeping it light and interesting.The first half of the book was brilliant, and I was completely hooked as Arrah tries to uncover the mystery of the children being stolen from their homes. It is totally unforgiving and isn't afraid to hit hard.The second half... I really wanted to keep loving this book, but it lost its pacing after what felt like a natural climax of the story. It could have stopped after the resolution of the kidnapping mystery, and the uncovering of the villain, and I would have been satisfied. Instead, it felt like a second book was being tacked on.The second half spends a lot of time in a place where time doesn't exist, as it does in the real world. Unfortunately, as a reader, it also felt like that for me. Arrah mourns the life and friends that she's lost, and contemplates the darkness and danger to come. And round in circles we go.The second half of the book is also a lot more cerebral, with a lot of stuff happening on different planes and within minds and memories.Overall, this was a 3.5 out of 5 for me. I enjoyed this book, it had a lot of potiental, despite its debut flaws. I would read the rest of the series.
    more
  • Nia •ShadesOfPaper•
    January 1, 1970
    You can find this review on my blog Shades of Paper. “I once laughed at stories about demons, and now I know that one may walk in my shadows. She does not mean well.” I was so excited to read this book because I’ve been hearing amazing things about it and a lot of people have been talking about Kingdom of Souls lately so I was super intrigued, not only by the cover but by the premise. And overall I have to say that there were some elements that I really enjoyed about it but there was some thin You can find this review on my blog Shades of Paper. “I once laughed at stories about demons, and now I know that one may walk in my shadows. She does not mean well.” I was so excited to read this book because I’ve been hearing amazing things about it and a lot of people have been talking about Kingdom of Souls lately so I was super intrigued, not only by the cover but by the premise. And overall I have to say that there were some elements that I really enjoyed about it but there was some thing about the pacing and the plot of the book that made it dragged a lot and made my enjoyment of it lower.One of the reasons why I gave this book 3 stars was because of the pacing. The first half of the story was so interesting I was so intrigued by the plot and the magical elements of the book and I wanted to know what was going to happen next, even though I was a bit confused by everything that we learned so far, but the other half of the story was so slow and I felt not much was happening.My main issue with the story was like I said before, that it was so dense. I don’t consider Kingdom of Souls very big book, but there were a lot of times where I felt the story wasn’t evolving or progressing as I thought it would and we were stuck in the same place. There was a big change in the tone, the plot and the setting of the novel if we compare the very beginning and the second half that it felt as if I was reading a different book, and there were a lot of subplots going on that made Kingdom of Souls seemed dense and very slow start. In my opinion all the stuff happening wasn’t adding anything to the plot, and frankly, I was so bored during the majority of the time because of that. The very beginning of the novel was so intriguing and I was so engaged, but I became less and less invested in the book as I continued with it, till the point of felt so disconnected to it.However, something that I adore and consider one of my favorite things of kingdom of souls was definitely the mythology and the magic system. I loved how the magic was introduced to the story. “Don’t get caught in the shadows, for a demon waits to steal your soul. The younger the soul, the sweeter the feast.” When you come to the characters, I think they were okay but they weren’t my favorite. Some of them were so underdeveloped and could’ve been much more than what was learnt from them. Efia was such an interesting character and I was rooting for her so much when she was firstly introduced, but she was a very a flat character that I ended up pretty disappointed with her. She could have been such an interesting villain but because we almost knew anything about her and her POVs didn’t add a lot to her character arc, she ended up being another plain villain.The rest of the characters were fine. I definitely really enjoyed the relationship between our main character and her dad, and I think that was such a precious thing to see in the book, and I also really appreciated the friendship and the interactions between the different characters throughout the novel They had very nice and dynamics and I’m just sad that they didn’t hit all the marks for me.One of the things that I have to add to my review is that I couldn’t care less about the romance. It was very rush and frankly I didn’t see a lot of chemistry between the characters. I mean, I really liked them together and I like their interactions throughout the book, but I just felt that the romance was so underdeveloped.Overall, I think Kingdom of Souls had so much potential and had such an interesting concept for a book, but the pacing of the plot made my enjoyment lowered quite a lot. I appreciated it so much that it was book with such a diverse cast of characters and that it had that very interesting magical elements and a very in-depth world building, but I would’ve loved to see more of that magic and a more complex plot and characters.I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This doesn’t change my opinion whatsoever. All thoughts are my own. “Some people can pull magic from the fabric of the world. Some can coax magic to come with rituals and spells. Many can’t call magic at all. It’s a gift from Heka to the people of the five tribes—a gift of himself—but it’s different from everyone.” ....Thank you HarperCollins for giving me an ARC of this bookLOOK AT THAT COVER! That girl could choke me and I’d be totally okay with thatBlog | Twitter | Instagram | BlogLovin’
    more
  • Fadwa (Word Wonders)
    January 1, 1970
    I was sent an arc of this book from the publisher in exchange of an honest reviewMy feelings about this book are VERY complicated and jumbled in my brain but the gist of it while i work on getting my full review up is: I LOVED the plot and exploration of the cycle of abuse and trauma, as well as the gods are portrayed and the slew of other themes that were explored. But although I liked the writing overall, I had a few issues with it here and there and the pacing was very off and unbalanced. RTC I was sent an arc of this book from the publisher in exchange of an honest reviewMy feelings about this book are VERY complicated and jumbled in my brain but the gist of it while i work on getting my full review up is: I LOVED the plot and exploration of the cycle of abuse and trauma, as well as the gods are portrayed and the slew of other themes that were explored. But although I liked the writing overall, I had a few issues with it here and there and the pacing was very off and unbalanced. RTC!
    more
  • Celia McMahon
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Edelweiss for the e-galley and Goodreads for the arc win. I enjoyed this far more than I expected to. This is not to say because of the content, but more because I am burning myself off of fantasy. BUT this is the exception. This has renewed my hope in the genre.This book was dark, and I love dark so you can imagine my glee. There are books out there that trick you into thinking it's creepier than it is, and those books always disappoint. I mean, there's magic, witchdoctors, demons, Thank you to Edelweiss for the e-galley and Goodreads for the arc win. I enjoyed this far more than I expected to. This is not to say because of the content, but more because I am burning myself off of fantasy. BUT this is the exception. This has renewed my hope in the genre.This book was dark, and I love dark so you can imagine my glee. There are books out there that trick you into thinking it's creepier than it is, and those books always disappoint. I mean, there's magic, witchdoctors, demons, kidnapped kids, soul-sucking situations...I'll stop there as to not give too much away.This OWNVOICES fantasy revolves around Arrah and the fact that she does not possess the magic that runs through her family's blood. When a mysterious string of disappearances occur, Arrah decides that she must take matters into her own hands, because her mother, a powerful witchdoctor has gone rogue. Add in a love interest who's a family enemy and some intense world-building, and you hooked me. Rena Barron built a world that you can sink into with ease. There is a lot to remember, gods names, tribes, etc., but it was fairly easy once the story got started. The plot was chock full of action. I swear there weren't any slow spots at all. I was anxeity ridden for almost 500 pages. Al in all, this was the complex and dark world that I want in fantasy books. We have a protagonist that has a head on her shoulders and does things true to her heart. I gave this an extra star as I let the story marinate after I finished. It stayed with me days later, and that is how I know what I experienced was worth it. I feel like my words don't do justice to how I feel. 5/5 I will read the sequel.
    more
  • Alexis
    January 1, 1970
    I was lucky enough to read an early draft of Kingdom of Souls and guys...I AM OBSESSED WITH THIS BOOK. I don’t even know where to begin. The main character, Arrah is such a tenacious and compelling main character. Rena has a way with crafting amazing, sinister, infuriatingly complex villains that stick with you long after you finished reading. Rena’s prose is poetic and haunting and the plot…THE PLOT YOU GUYS. There were several moments when I nearly threw my laptop across the room in sheer angu I was lucky enough to read an early draft of Kingdom of Souls and guys...I AM OBSESSED WITH THIS BOOK. I don’t even know where to begin. The main character, Arrah is such a tenacious and compelling main character. Rena has a way with crafting amazing, sinister, infuriatingly complex villains that stick with you long after you finished reading. Rena’s prose is poetic and haunting and the plot…THE PLOT YOU GUYS. There were several moments when I nearly threw my laptop across the room in sheer anguish. This story grabbed me and it just didn’t. let. go. In short, Rena is a master storyteller and I LOVED her book so much. I feel like Kingdom of Souls will always have a piece of my heart and I can’t wait to read it again when it hits the shelves in 2019. Do yourself a favor and pre-order it as soon as you can!
    more
  • Nigel
    January 1, 1970
    WOW - maybe not perfect but still WOW :) "so dark, so magical, so desperate" What a good opening there is to this book - it had shivers running down my spine. Arrah's parents are witchdoctors however it seems as though she will never get magic herself. She is in her teens and magic has still not come to her. However something evil may be coming that will affect her, her family and her friends. Will she be able to deal with it without magic or will she have to take a darker path? The book follows WOW - maybe not perfect but still WOW :) "so dark, so magical, so desperate" What a good opening there is to this book - it had shivers running down my spine. Arrah's parents are witchdoctors however it seems as though she will never get magic herself. She is in her teens and magic has still not come to her. However something evil may be coming that will affect her, her family and her friends. Will she be able to deal with it without magic or will she have to take a darker path? The book follows Arrah and her family as the Kingdom's children start to disappear. There are also signs that the long imprisoned Demon King is stirring. I was hooked!Initially Arrah seems to be a fairly ordinary teenager. She loves her father dearly but finds her mother rather cold. She likes being with her friends some of whom already have magic powers. There is a boy who she likes too. Other than the opening this started to feel like something a little more ordinary if fairly colourful. The settings, customs and life generally are wonderfully described and gave me a feeling of being there. There is quite a bit to understand in this book - magic and magical creatures are not generally the sort of ones I've met before but I found the discovery interesting. BANG - then the book starts to get more magically and the roller coaster starts. You really do need to hang on - your very being is at risk. I found this became a book that was increasingly hard to put down. It also becomes very very intense and even a somewhat upsetting read at times.There is an unmistakeable African feel to this which I really enjoyed. Reading around a little I realise that some of the magic in this book is normal in African based tales. This book definitely makes me want to read more of this kind of writing so my thanks to the author for that.There is a real feeling of evil here which you don't come across all that often; this indicates a very high quality of writing. I guess because I'd not read anything African based this felt genuinely fresh to me. Coming from a European perspective I felt the end (really unputdownable) had some element of Norse like mythology by the end. I do see some criticisms of this and maybe it isn't perfect. For me though it was a book I simply loved so a possible 4.5 star is very happily rounded up and I would love to read this author's next book.Note - I received an advance digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair reviewhttps://viewson.org.uk/fantasy/kingdo...
    more
  • Kelsea
    January 1, 1970
    If I could rate the parts of this book separately, I would give the first half five stars! It was everything I wish that the intensely-hyped Children of Blood and Bone would have been: West-African inspired young adult fantasy featuring Orisha magic promising a bold female protagonist and the disappearance or failure of magic.I felt for Arrah as she hoped desperately that her magic would finally show up, cementing her position as the daughter of a powerful witchdoctor. I loved her friendship (an If I could rate the parts of this book separately, I would give the first half five stars! It was everything I wish that the intensely-hyped Children of Blood and Bone would have been: West-African inspired young adult fantasy featuring Orisha magic promising a bold female protagonist and the disappearance or failure of magic.I felt for Arrah as she hoped desperately that her magic would finally show up, cementing her position as the daughter of a powerful witchdoctor. I loved her friendship (and the hints of something more) with Rudjek, her relationship with her kind and caring father, and her protectiveness over a street kid she considers akin to a little brother. I was riveted by the mystery and curious about the world. I loved finding out the backstories behind many of the people in Arrah’s life. I enjoyed watching the plot unfold.And then, halfway through the book, the story lost me. I do want to note here that I had to set the book down for a while, so that was likely part of it. It was hard to get back into the groove of the story when I picked it back up. Still, I ended up going back a few chapters to try to get myself back in. But it didn’t help. Most of the second half just… didn’t work for me. The story changed completely, in tone, in feel, and in pace. Everything escalated really, really quickly. And the time warp was too much for me. I can’t say much more as I’m trying to avoid spoilers, but I had a hard time with the direction the plot took. And there was one big plot point that felt skeevy and really had me raising my eyebrows.But then the ending redeemed that plot point for me. I don’t know if I’ll still feel that way after reading the second book, but I feel like the ending to Kingdom of Souls gave the future of the story a lot of potential. And that’s ultimately how I decided to rate this book - by its potential. Because this could be the start to a truly phenomenal series and I would hate for a lower rating to deter anyone from trying this book. I enjoyed Rena Barron’s writing, characters, and world-building. And I’m really interested to see where this series goes.I also want to mention that throughout the entire book, there were intriguing snippets of mythology that I absolutely adored. Reminiscences by the gods that had so much personality - I loved each interlude and can’t wait to read more of them!Free advanced copy provided by Harper Voyager through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
    more
  • Tucker
    January 1, 1970
    well, this cover just claimed my soul
  • Gabriela Pop
    January 1, 1970
    4.5/5An outstanding debut and one of the most unique YA fantasies I've read in a long time, truly a breath of fresh air. There are a few things familiar to fantasy lovers that may make the book appeal to them - the complex and intriguing magic system, the rich worldbuilding and lore, the way the characters operate within the gray area of morality, the cameos of immortal beings inserting themselves in the stories of mortals and the way their actions and intentions are -rightfully- questioned. The 4.5/5An outstanding debut and one of the most unique YA fantasies I've read in a long time, truly a breath of fresh air. There are a few things familiar to fantasy lovers that may make the book appeal to them - the complex and intriguing magic system, the rich worldbuilding and lore, the way the characters operate within the gray area of morality, the cameos of immortal beings inserting themselves in the stories of mortals and the way their actions and intentions are -rightfully- questioned. There may even be the added fun element of groups of friends fighting for their lives and attempting to save the world AND one of my absolute favourite angsty friends to lovers (OR WILL THEY/WON'T THEY). However, I do think the things that place this book a bit outside of the norm are what made it stand out and be memorable; firstly, this book was strangely psychological and a lot of the battles seemed to be carried within the main character's consciousness as much many other conflicts were external. I must also say that it was refreshing to finally see a fantasy where parents are not only alive, but a significant part of the story in many different ways. I don't want to say too much in order to avoid spoilers, but the familial element is a key part of the plot of the book and it is all superbly executed. I cannot wait to see where the rest of this series go because the crumbs left behind in this book to build upon have made me very, very excited!
    more
  • Jess at JessicaWrites.co.uk
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book from the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review. Follow me on the interwebs: Blog + Twitter + Facebook + Instagram This is the West-African inspired fantasy we all deserved! Deeply complex and rich with magic and deception, Kingdom of Souls is a deliciously dark take on African mythology. Born into a family of powerful witchdoctors, Arrah is desperate to come into her powers and perform magic. But after years of failure, Arrah is willing to try one la I received this book from the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review. Follow me on the interwebs: Blog + Twitter + Facebook + Instagram This is the West-African inspired fantasy we all deserved! Deeply complex and rich with magic and deception, Kingdom of Souls is a deliciously dark take on African mythology. Born into a family of powerful witchdoctors, Arrah is desperate to come into her powers and perform magic. But after years of failure, Arrah is willing to try one last thing to get what she wants: trade years of her life for magic. Naturally, all is not what it seems. When children start disappearing, Arrah is transported on a dangreous journey where she must discover who and what she is. You're intrigued, right? Strangely enough, this book reminded me of Northern Lights by Philip Pullman until things took a very dark and interesting turn when who and what had the children was revealed. That was when I felt truly hooked on this book. It opened a very interesting dynamic between Arrah and another character (who I shall not name for fear of spoilers), and opened one hell of a shit storm that would be the second half of this book. At this point, I was rubbing my hands together thinking, 'at last! Some real excitement!' My main issue with Kingdom of Souls was the pacing (and the ending). There was a lot happening in this book that dragged when it shouldn't have. There were demons, blood sacrifices and evil creeping at every corner but it lacked conviction in places - particularly the middle. And then there was the end... what a lacklustre and confusing mess that was. After all the grand reveals were made, it had felt like we'd met a natural conclusion a number of chapters before the end. Everything after that felt like an attempt to stretch this book into a series. With changes to the ending, Kingdom of Souls could easily have been a (much improved) standalone. I'm not sure how keen I am to see where the next book goes because I didn't care much for this particular villain... but it's likely that I'll read it all the same. All in all, Kingdom of Souls was an exceptionally fleshed out and dark tale of sacrifice, magic and relationships. Although it takes time to feel invested, it's definitely worth it! The twists and turns will leave you wanting to turn the pages for more.
    more
  • Lauren Easey
    January 1, 1970
    This is one of the best fantasy books I've read for a while. Thanks so much to NetGalley and HarperCollins for allowing me to read it. The best way I can describe it is think Children of Blood and Bone, but add a little extra darkness, some more present Gods and demons, and a whole lot of trickery. Our protagonist Arrah faces some huge life altering events in this book. She has grown up without magic, much to her dismay, resulting in her becoming an outcast. Her parents are two powerful witch do This is one of the best fantasy books I've read for a while. Thanks so much to NetGalley and HarperCollins for allowing me to read it. The best way I can describe it is think Children of Blood and Bone, but add a little extra darkness, some more present Gods and demons, and a whole lot of trickery. Our protagonist Arrah faces some huge life altering events in this book. She has grown up without magic, much to her dismay, resulting in her becoming an outcast. Her parents are two powerful witch doctors, and to have a child without magic is rare, so she has spent the majority of her life trying to overcome that. As her story progresses, she tumbles into chaos and magic that she never knew was possible.The mechanics of magic in this book are very interesting - I like that some magic comes with a price whereas some doesn't. I like that there's different kinds of magic for different purposes, and I like the background of where magic came from.I also love how your opinion changes throughout the book. It's not just clear cut 'good' and 'bad' by the end, you really begin to understand the choices and decisions that Arrah must make. Fantasy books can often overwhelm you with the sheer expanse of the worlds they're set in. But this book doesn't do that. It has a wonderful focus on the specific places it visits, and because of this you are really able to imagine what's going on. You can see the people in the markets and the gardens of the buildings, and the riverbank where they visit. Honestly, I just really enjoyed this whole book and can't wait for the second one. The only constructive criticism I would give it is that sometimes when the Orishas start talking to each other, it's not immediately clear who is talking. That might be due to the formatting though.5 stars!
    more
  • Annemieke / A Dance with Books
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Harper Voyager UK and NG for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion in anyway. Trigger Warnings: Death of a Loved One / Mentioned Mass Murder / Death of Children I was incredibly lucky for harper voyager to grant my wish for this book on Netgalley. It is a great addition to young adult fantasy. And especially that US cover made me really excited. Oh gosh where to start. If people say that Kingdom of Souls is like any other young adult fanta Thank you to Harper Voyager UK and NG for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion in anyway. Trigger Warnings: Death of a Loved One / Mentioned Mass Murder / Death of Children I was incredibly lucky for harper voyager to grant my wish for this book on Netgalley. It is a great addition to young adult fantasy. And especially that US cover made me really excited. Oh gosh where to start. If people say that Kingdom of Souls is like any other young adult fantasy don’t listen to closely. If you stripped it to its barest bones they would be right. But isn’t that the case for many other stories? Isn’t it how you fill in things that make or break a story? There are some plot elements regarding reincarnation and the gods that made me go hmm. However this is very clearly being set up for the overall story and for that reason I am reserving my right to judge on them. Pacing wise I think the middle dragged. What stands out in this book are the world building, magic system and characters. The world building regarding the different cultures, regarding the differences between the tribal life and the city life. The cultural differences between the various tribes. The various bond and relationships within the city and even across towards the tribes. It was all such a great enrichment to a new world. The magic and the orisha are all very interesting. And the author has said that it is only the tip of the iceberg. I can’t wait to dive in even deeper. Arrah is our main character who can’t seem to come into her magic at all. It is her vocal point at the start of the book. However as the plot starts to stretch out beyond her, not having magic might be the last of her problems. She is head strong but has a secret insecurity running deep through her. Lively and stubborn. A bit impulsive at times. There is a lot to like about Arrah. And she makes her mistakes, like we all do. Most of all I enjoyed her in interaction with her friends. Rudyek, Maika and so on. There is a certain loyalty between this group, where they are safe to make jokes with each other. To relax. But they don’t hesitate to protect each other either. An interesting relationship is that of Arrah with her sister. One that I think could have used a lot of deepening out to make that ending work even better. I just don’t think the bond was there as the author wanted at the end and it made the impact less for me. It was a shame. All in all however, this book is a great read and I can’t wait for the next one to come.
    more
  • - ̗̀ DANY ̖́- (danyreads)
    January 1, 1970
    . : ☾⋆ — 4 ★ READ THIS REVIEW ON MY BLOG!!!https://bit.ly/2KQzeYfARC provided from the publisher in exchange for an honest review (thank you HarperTeen & HarperCollins!!)it doesn’t come as a surprise that a book inspired by African folk tales and imagery is so rich in world building, so intricate in its epic storytelling. Kingdom of Souls is one of the most intriguing books I’ve ever read and it’s driving me CRAZY. this book reads the way imagination feels—completely free of boundaries and i . : ☾⋆ — 4 ★ READ THIS REVIEW ON MY BLOG!!!https://bit.ly/2KQzeYfARC provided from the publisher in exchange for an honest review (thank you HarperTeen & HarperCollins!!)it doesn’t come as a surprise that a book inspired by African folk tales and imagery is so rich in world building, so intricate in its epic storytelling. Kingdom of Souls is one of the most intriguing books I’ve ever read and it’s driving me CRAZY. this book reads the way imagination feels—completely free of boundaries and inhibitions. I know I probably sound like I’m exaggerating but Kingdom of Soul’s rich universe and character development truly feel like a fairytale book come to life. it’s so much to take in and at the same time it’s something that feels so intuitive and ultimately elementary. I truly can’t find better words to describe this book and I feel like I’m not making any sense, but Rena Barron writes so exquisitely that Kingdom of Souls almost reads like something found in mythology books. like it truly belongs inside the culture it’s inspired by. Kingdom of Souls is impossible to put down. I’m writing this review days after having finished the book and I still can’t fully seem to stop thinking about it, the next book in the series truly can’t come soon enough!! thanks again to HarperTeen and HarperCollins for providing a free copy of Kingdom of Souls!!
    more
Write a review