Review of 'Kingdom of Souls'

Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron
1st book in the 'Kingdom of Souls' series

kingdom_of_souls.jpg Despite the best efforts of her grandmother, an Aatiri chieftain, Aarah is unable to perform magic despite her coming from a long line of witch-doctors. Her mother, Arti, is a powerful magician and Ka-Princess is disappointed in her daughter's lack of magical gifts. It is a confusing and frustrating time for Aarah not only with the magic but also her long friendship with Rudjek all confused with feelings of a much deeper nature. After children start disappearing from the streets of Tamar Aarah is forced to visit a charlatan for a spell that will exchange years of her life to allow her to perform magic. But will it be too little, too late? The Demon King is returning…

A intriguing novel set in an epic West African world of magic and sorcery, “Kingdom of Souls” is a bit tricky to follow with a lot of unusual character names, tribes and folklore to keep up with but is worth the trouble. Though the story does somewhat lag in the middle and is somewhat confused the finale certainly does not fail to deliver on action though it does leave a number of questions unanswered. To be sure, this is the first book in the “Kingdom of Souls” trilogy so there is much more story to follow. As the story progresses it often takes completely unexpected turns as one disaster follows another….Yes, not a lot of happiness to be found here. To be sure, this story is all about the rather privileged main characters and their mythology with the lives of “normal” citizens only barely sketched out to provide a bit of context meaning it is often difficult to relate to.

An interesting first book from Barron though I am not sure I will be picking up the sequels. Interesting, certainly, but I often found it quite difficult to get into though it will be interesting to see where the series goes with really only two or maybe three characters left at the end that I actually cared about.

Rating: “It is OK but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2020-08-10

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Publication Date: 2019

ISBN: 9780008302245