Kingdom of Souls (Kingdom of Souls Series #1)

Kingdom of Souls (Kingdom of Souls Series #1)

by Rena Barron

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Overview

A girl with no gifts must bargain for the power to fight her own mother’s dark schemes—even if the price is her life.

Crackling with dark magic, unspeakable betrayal, and daring twists you won’t see coming, this explosive YA fantasy debut is a can’t-miss, high-stakes epic perfect for fans of Strange the Dreamer and Children of Blood and Bone.

“Magnetic and addictive. This book is black girl magic at its finest.”—New York Times bestselling author Dhonielle Clayton

Heir to two lines of powerful witchdoctors, Arrah yearns for magic of her own. Yet she fails at bone magic, fails to call upon her ancestors, and fails to live up to her family’s legacy. Under the disapproving eye of her mother, the Kingdom’s most powerful priestess and seer, she fears she may never be good enough.

But when the Kingdom’s children begin to disappear, Arrah is desperate enough to turn to a forbidden, dangerous ritual. If she has no magic of her own, she’ll have to buy it—by trading away years of her own life.

Arrah’s borrowed power reveals a nightmarish betrayal, and on its heels, a rising tide of darkness that threatens to consume her and all those she loves. She must race to unravel a twisted and deadly scheme… before the fight costs more than she can afford.

Set in a richly imagined world inspired by whispered tales of voodoo and folk magic, Rena Barron’s captivating debut is the beginning of a thrilling saga about a girl caught between gods, monsters, and the gift and the curse of power.

“Masterful.”—SLJ (starred review)

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

07/15/2019

Every year, Arrah, the unexceptional 16-year-old daughter of two potent witch doctors, travels with her father from the city of Tamar to the kingdom’s tribal lands for the ceremonial summoning of Heka, the orisha who gives magic to mortals. Nobody older than 16 has ever come into magical gifts, so after this year’s sacrament fails to trigger a change in Arrah, she loses hope. There is a rite that allows an ordinary individual to trade years of his or her life for enough magic to execute a single spell, but Arrah has never been sufficiently desperate to try it, until someone starts stealing Tamar’s children. After performing the ritual, she learns the terrible truth about the kidnapper’s identity and uncovers a plan to free the soul-devouring Demon King—one that she has no clue how to stop. First in a planned trilogy, Barron’s West Africa–inspired fantasy debut is a slow-burning, character-driven tale of vengeance, greed, sacrifice, and star-crossed romance. Organic worldbuilding and a rich central mythology featuring a vibrant pantheon of fallible gods ground Barron’s intricate, if occasionally convoluted, story, which thoughtfully examines issues of faith and free will. Ages 13–up. Agent: Suzie Townsend, New Leaf Literary. (Sept.)

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Driven by intricate mythology with meddlesome, vengeful gods. Fantasy fans will find a refreshing, beautifully crafted setting in this novel.

Rebecca Ross

Lush, captivating, and full of my favorite things: a vivid world, a cast of compelling characters, and a young heroine ready to rise and fearlessly fight for her beliefs. This powerful coming of age story lingers long after the final page.

Kendare Blake

I couldn’t get enough of Kingdom of Souls. Wonderfully written, and full of dark magic and danger, it was a story I couldn’t wait to escape into. Highly recommended!

Dhonielle Clayton

Magnetic and addictive, Kingdom of Souls turns ambition into sacrifice and blood into power. Magic is always worth the price—and the pain—and this book is black girl magic at its finest.

Booklist

A tough-as-nails protagonist overcomes odds stacked heavily against her in this captivating debut.

Rebecca Schaeffer

Crackling with tension, this masterpiece of escalating stakes doesn’t pull its punches.

Elly Blake

Barron’s lush prose and boundless imagination enchant the reader with a vivid world, compelling characters, and twists to keep you reading all night. Kingdom of Souls spellbinds with fresh and dazzling magic.

Mindee Arnett

Set in a lushly drawn and fresh magical world, Kingdom of Souls was a wild, heart-wrenching ride. Every turn took me by surprise, and these unforgettable characters face a complex evil that threatens from both without and within. Readers won’t be able to put this one down.

Samira Ahmed

Powerful. Captivating. Heart-wrenching. Rena Barron has crafted a thrilling, twisty, unputdownable epic about a complex, brave young woman who must find the true magic within herself in order to fight for her family, her people, and her life.

Booklist

A tough-as-nails protagonist overcomes odds stacked heavily against her in this captivating debut.

 Dhonielle Clayton

Magnetic and addictive, Kingdom of Souls turns ambition into sacrifice and blood into power. Magic is always worth the price—and the pain—and this book is black girl magic at its finest.

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

Driven by intricate mythology with meddlesome, vengeful gods. Fantasy fans will find a refreshing, beautifully crafted setting in this novel.

School Library Journal

★ 08/01/2019

Gr 9 Up—Legend has it that the orisha destroyed all of the demons in the Almighty Kingdom, but when children begin to disappear from the Kingdom and a great evil looms, it seems that perhaps the orisha were wrong. And if they were wrong about this, where else have they failed? Sixteen-year-old Arrah is the daughter of two powerful witch doctors in a long lineage of magic. For as long as she can remember, she has waited to come into magic of her own, and though she has the ability to see magic, she cannot touch it. Magic in the Kingdom, however, can be acquired at a cost. Will Arrah be willing to give up years of her life in exchange for the magic that might be able to save the people she loves? In this epic West African–inspired debut, Barron weaves a story filled with blood magic, political intrigue, epic world-building, and a brilliant cast of characters. VERDICT Fans of folklore-inspired fantasy and Laini Taylor's Strange the Dreamer will relish in this masterful tale. From start to finish, this magical debut is not to be missed.—India Winslow, Cary Memorial Library, Lexington, MA

Kirkus Reviews

2019-06-15
A teenage girl ashamed of her lack of magic must step up when she discovers evil at work in her kingdom.

Privileged Arrah has never wanted for anything—except magic. Though she comes from powerful magical lineages on both her parents' sides, when she turns 16 without developing any gifts, she must finally admit she won't be blessed with magic. Heartbroken, Arrah throws herself into discovering who's behind the recent child abductions in her kingdom. The magic needed to accomplish such a task has a high cost, and her discovery of the culprit proves to be a devastating revelation. In Arrah's West African-based world, there are orishas as well as other gods and demons, and orishas are able to converse directly with humans. Arrah, aided by her friends (including love interest Rudjek), must mine hitherto unknown depths in herself in order to stop the ascension of the Demon King, who supposedly was vanquished by the orishas long ago. Though the pace is sometimes slow and the page count perhaps higher than needed, Arrah's a compelling heroine, relatable in her fallibility, and her story is intriguing. Most characters are black; Rudjek is biracial (his light-skinned mother and a handful of other characters hail from the north).

An imperfect but promising series opener. (Fantasy. 12-18)

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062870971
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication date: 09/03/2019
Series: Kingdom of Souls Series , #1
Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 512
Sales rank: 184,834
Lexile: HL740L (what's this?)
File size: 1 MB
Age Range: 13 Years

Customer Reviews