C.G. Drews's Reviews > Kingdom of Souls

Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron
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bookshelves: epic-fantasy, young-adult, read-2019

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 mythology
I 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.

// characters
Ok 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)

Also can we take a moment for a book full of FEMALE VILLAIN!? Complex. Interesting. Epic female villains. Yesss thanks.

// overall
Definitely 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.
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Reading Progress

March 19, 2018 – Shelved
March 19, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
August 19, 2019 – Started Reading
August 21, 2019 – Shelved as: epic-fantasy
August 21, 2019 – Shelved as: young-adult
August 21, 2019 – Shelved as: read-2019
August 21, 2019 – Finished Reading

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