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Review: Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron

Hey all, Dani here.

Woohoo, it’s time for another book review. Once again I am putting a spotlight on Black authors, because I’ll be completely honest, their books are stunning. The magic systems and the cultures and the worlds within these pages are spectacular, and I would love to have more people talking about these great books, and by us all talking about these books, we can help more excellent books like them be published in the future.

We the readers have the ability to put our money where our mouth is, and to lift up and support the kinds of stories we want to see more of. I love buying books, especially awesome sounding fantasy adventure stories. And as I discover more of these with peoples and cultures I want to experience more of, I am definitely buying up more and more. I know that I was a blind buyer of books, paying more attention to how the story sounded over whether an author was male or female, or what color skin they happened to have. But I’m going to do better about that. There are so many more worlds I want to explore, and mythologies I want to learn more about, and an easy way to do all of that is to read more diversely.

All right, now let’s jump into this review.

Kingdom of Souls

Book Details

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 496

Publisher: HarperTeen

Publication Date: September, 3, 2019

ISBN: 0062870955 (ISBN13: 9780062870957)

Summary

THERE’S MAGIC IN HER BLOOD.

Explosive fantasy set in a world of magic and legend, where one girl must sacrifice her life, year by year, to gain the power necessary to fight the mother she has never been good enough for.

Perfect for fans of Sarah J Maas, Tomi Adeyemi and Black Panther

THERE’S MAGIC IN HER BLOOD.

Arrah is a young woman from a long line of the most powerful witch doctors in the land. But she fails at magic, fails to call upon the ancestors and can’t even cast the simplest curse.

Shame and disappointment dog her.

When strange premonitions befall her family and children in the kingdom begin to disappear, Arrah undergoes the dangerous and scorned process of selling years of her life for magic. This borrowed power reveals a nightmarish betrayal and a danger beyond what she could have imagined. Now Arrah must find a way to master magic, or at least buy it, in order to save herself and everything she holds dear.

An explosive fantasy set in a world of magic and legend with a twist you will never see coming.

My Thoughts

Rating: 4 stars

This poor book has sat on my bookshelves for at least six months without me picking it up. I feel awful about that. Why? Because first of all, this cover is gorgeous. It is vibrant and detailed and it really does draw you in. Second, the story sounds interesting. It’s always fun to follow a magic-less character within a magical society.

The first 100 pages or so of this book was a bunch of character and world set up. I didn’t really get drawn into the story in the beginning. Thankfully, as a long-time reader of fantasy, I know not to judge a 500 page book on the first 20%. Sometimes it takes time to build up to excellence.

As the story progressed, and the plot began to pull together, as action began to happen, and Arrah found herself trying to save herself and save her people, that’s when I began to get even more intrigued.

The magic system is interesting. And the details of the world and the culture and the peoples was wonderful and full of detail and color and life. I enjoy seeing setups that feel similar to stories that I’ve read before, while also being rather different because of the set up. Having so many fantasy worlds based on an European or American culture or mythology…well those kind of stories are a dime a dozen. We see them everywhere. Not that those are bad, because I do still enjoy them. But I want more Eastern inspired tales instead of Western society. I want more African magic. It introduces me to a wonderfully complex new set of magical rules and deities and I absolutely love it.

I’m interested to see what will happen in the next book. You can count on the fact that I already have it marked in my release calendar.

Where to Get a Copy

You can pick up your own copy of this book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or from your local indie bookstore through IndieBound.

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