Review by Jasmine Sov, 14
Kingdom of Souls By Rena Barron
Arrah, unlike many other people her age, does not yet possess magic. Despite her father’s reassurances that her magic will come, she’s losing hope. After all, her high-ranking priestess mother already all but shuns her. That surely means that her magic is never going to come. When children begin disappearing under mysterious circumstances, including one of Arrah’s own friends, she decides to take a big risk. By trading years of her own life in exchange for some magic, she will find out who the child-snatcher is and rescue the missing children. But what Arrah discovers is more horrifying than any child-snatcher—a rising Demon King, hungry for souls. If awakened, he could wreak all kinds of havoc on Arrah’s world—that is, if she doesn’t pay the price for the magic to protect it.
Kingdom of Souls, a West African-inspired fantasy tale, reads like many other books in the same genre. Dark, descriptive to a fault, and packed with several different deities and easy-to-forget kingdom names, the book attempts to create the feeling of truly being in Arrah’s world and only somewhat succeeds. I found myself having to reread pages several times in order to understand what had just elapsed within the past chapter or so. While I do admire the diverse cast and somewhat likeable characters, I just see this book as incredibly confusing. Kingdom of Souls, while heavily detailed and laden with a wide array of characters, remains a rather bewildering read.
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Catalog Number: YA SF BARRON,R