Kingdom of Souls (Kingdom of Souls, #1)

Featured
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
2607 0
Kingdom of Souls
Author(s)
Publisher
Age Range
12+
Release Date
September 03, 2019
ISBN
978-0062870957
Buy This Book
      

Magic has a price—if you’re willing to pay. The lush world building of Children of Blood and Bone meets the sweeping scale of Strange the Dreamer in this captivating epic YA fantasy debut. 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. Inspired by tales of folk magic in her own community, Rena Barron spins a darkly magical tale perfect for fans of Three Dark Crowns or Shadow and Bone, about a girl caught between gods, monsters, and her own mother’s schemes.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

dark and compelling YA fantasy
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
KINGDOM OF SOULS is a dark epic fantasy that follows Arrah, a girl whose mother is the Ka-Priestess and whose father loves her dearly. Arrah is desperate for the magic so many others have. Both her parents have so much, and yet, Arrah cannot perform even the smallest of charms with magic. In her sixteenth year, she knows that if her magic does not show now, it never will. After a failed attempt to reach out to the gods (orishas) that could bestow magic, she is given a darker prophecy from her grandmother about a green-eyed serpent.

When she returns to the city, her mother is scheming. Never sure of where she stands with her mother, Arrah is wary but still shocked when her mother announces that children have been disappearing. When a child who feels like a brother to Arrah goes missing, Arrah is willing to take a step that she never thought she could out of desperation to find him- she will sell her years (potentially life) for magic that does not come naturally. What she finds is shocking and leads to twists and turns in the plot that transform the book into something else entirely.

Note that I will not give too many details to avoid spoilers- this book has many twists, turns and surprises.

What I loved: This is a slow-building fantasy that takes a lot of time and care in world and character building. As such, the characters feel closer and the world more real, in the vein of THE LORD OF THE RINGS series. This is a highly compelling and emotionally challenging book- I list that as a strength, because I love books that can make you feel so many things. The story evolves throughout, making it feel like reading multiple stories in one book, and mirroring the changes that Arrah undergoes throughout them.

The portrayal of the orishas (gods) was also intriguing. We see their perspectives here and there in sections during the book that add quite a bit to it. They are compelling in their own right and reveal much to the reader.

Morality is a big theme here, and the definition is not so clear. One thing I really loved is that there is not a clear evil/bad guy here- even the reader is left questioning who is in the right or who is good or evil. This complexity is achieved over many pages and is really powerful.

What left me wanting more: I am going to venture into a spoiler here, so skip this if you do not want to know (I'll try to be vague). In two scenes, characters have sexual encounters under false pretenses in a way that seems like sexual assault but is not addressed (and in one case, the victim is vilified for it). In one, their body is possessed/under magical control and in another, the victim was made to believe the person they were sleeping with was someone they loved- only to later find out that it was not the person they thought it was. Upon this realization, this person is shamed as if they should have known better, by pretty much all the other characters. It seemed unnecessary to the plot and could have been handled better.

I would also give warnings for multiple character death, child death, torture, and emotional/physical abuse.

Final verdict: Dark and slow-building, this is a unique YA fantasy that grapples with important questions around family, destiny, morality, and sacrifice. Highly recommend for fans of epic fantasy that transcend stories and feature diverse/#ownvoices characters. This book is sure to leave you reeling in the best way and excited for the next in the series (a bit of a cliffhanger at the end).
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 1 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

These Feathered Flames (These Feathered Flames, #1)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
When twin heirs are born in Tourin, their fates are...
The Mother of Monsters
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Mischievous Ntombi is not at all afraid of the fearsome...
Grim, Grunt and Grizzle-Tail: A Story from Chile
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Brave young Pedro faces monsters and greedy guards when he...
What Beauty There Is
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
What Beauty There Is is Cory Anderson's stunning YA...
Baseball Baby
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
This original board book series, which begins with America's favorite...
I Am Not a Penguin
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
This hilarious story of a pangolin with an identity crisis...
Poison Priestess (Lady Slayers, #2)
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
In 17th-century Paris, 19-year-old Catherine Monvoisin is a well-heeled...
Sam Can't Sleep
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
When Sam can’t sleep, he decides to ask all the...
The Prison Healer (The Prison Healer, #1)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Seventeen-year-old Kiva Meridan has spent the last ten years...
Fate Calling
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A cursed fae prince. A lonely human lass. A...
Welcome to California
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Welcome to California! We're glad you're here! Introducing a new...
Zoe Rosenthal is Not Lawful Good
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
A buttoned-up overachiever works overtime to keep her inner...
The Other Side of Perfect
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
For fans of Sarah Dessen and Mary H.K. Choi, this...
The Sky Above Us
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
From the author of We Speak in Storms comes...
Zoom: Dinosaur Adventure
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Join Jasmine and Jamie as they travel back in time...
Let's Pretend Fire Station
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
It's a busy day at the fire station! Chldren can...

Latest Member Reviews

These Feathered Flames (These Feathered Flames, #1)
 
5.0
"THESE FEATHERED FLAMES is an enchanting YA fantasy about sisterhood, power, and destiny. When twins are born in the royal..."
The Other Side of Perfect
 
4.3
"THE OTHER SIDE OF PERFECT is an engrossing YA contemporary about loss, grief, moving on, friendship, and sisterhood. Alina has..."
Indivisible
 
5.0
"INDIVISIBLE is a heartfelt and riveting YA contemporary about family, feeling different, and immigration in the US. Mateo is a..."
My Last Summer with Cass
 
5.0
"“A good friendship is like a work of art.” Megan and Cass have been friends forever. Their..."
The Prison Healer (The Prison Healer, #1)
 
5.0
"THE PRISON HEALER is a stunning and captivating YA fantasy read. This book takes place in a prison, Zalindov, which..."
The Forest of Stolen Girls
 
5.0
"There were so many things I really liked about this book. The case of the missing girls was obviously the..."
Poison Priestess (Lady Slayers, #2)
 
3.3
"POISON PRIESTESS is an intriguing YA historical fiction that follows Catherine Monvoisin, a fortune teller and infamous master of poisons...."
Ember of Night
 
4.3
"EMBER OF NIGHT is an intense and steamy YA fantasy read. The book follows Harley, an almost 18-year-old who has..."
The Sky Above Us
 
3.3
"THE SKY ABOVE US is a YA drama about grief, loss, and the search for something better. The book follows..."
Poisoned
 
4.3
"POISONED by Jennifer Donnelly is a YA fairytale retelling of the original Snow White by the Brothers Grimm. In it,..."
Sex Kittens and Horn Dawgs Fall in Love
 
N/A
"[b]AMOXIL[/b] is used to treat many different types of infections caused by bacteria, such as ear infections, bladder infections, pneumonia,..."
What Beauty There Is
 
5.0
"WHAT BEAUTY THERE IS is a consuming and compelling YA thriller. The book is told from several points-of-view, but primarily..."
Havoc (Haven, #2)
 
3.7
"HAVOC is an intriguing continuation of a YA paranormal romance. In this world, witches and werewolves live side by side..."
Coming Up for Air
 
4.7
"COMING UP FOR AIR is an intense and heart-wrenching YA contemporary with some heavy themes. The book is told between..."
A Curse of Ash & Embers (The Blackbone Witches, #1)
 
3.7
"A CURSE OF ASH AND EMBERS is an intriguing, character-driven YA fantasy read. Elodie has received a letter of employment..."
Zoe Rosenthal is Not Lawful Good
 
4.0
"ZOE ROSENTHAL IS NOT LAWFUL GOOD is a fun YA contemporary about embracing what you love and finding your people...."
All our Hidden Gifts
 
4.0
"While being forced to clean an old room in her Catholic school, Maeve finds an old tarot deck that instantly..."
Just Our Luck
 
4.3
"JUST OUR LUCK is a charming YA contemporary about loss, anxiety, and friendship. Leo is a bit of a loner,..."
Flamefall (The Aurelian Cycle, #2)
 
5.0
"FLAMEFALL is the absolutely stunning and enthralling sequel to FIREBORNE, and the second in the Aurelian Cycle trilogy. The book..."
The Glass Queen (The Forest of Good and Evil, #2)
 
5.0
"Return to Enchantia and meet the Glass Queen in this second installment of Gena Showalter‘s series Forest of Good and..."