Book Review

Book Review: Kingdom of Souls (Kingdom of Souls #1) by Rena Barron

Rating: ☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 496 pages
Author: Rena Barron
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: September 3rd, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads



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


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.


I listened to this on audio and physically read it and both couldn’t sway me to enjoy this. The best I can say is that there’s potential and I know others will enjoy, but for a YA fantasy, I expected a lot more.

The first 100 pages or so was spent with Arrah complaining relentlessly about the fact she doesn’t have magic. We get it, it sucks, lets move the plot along. About the time things start to go in her favor she’s then CURSED. So nearly the entire book her curse prevents her from doing anything. Which kept the plot completely stagnant as she watched everyone else in the story try to actually do something. Without Arrah’s full participation I got lost in the world and magic system.

I wasn’t prepared for how dark it was. I didn’t like some of the scenes and I think that just sent me further away from this book being redeemable. There were also some repetitive phrasing and comparisons. It’s something I rarely notice unless it’s written MULTIPLE times. Time to change it up.

This book seems overall liked. Didn’t work for me, but it could work for you!

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: physical altercations, magic attacks
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: mass murdering of children, torture, child abuse, rape, sexual assault

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