Kingdom of Souls – Rena Barron – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Utterly compelling and complex.

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.

The story centres around a young woman called Arrah, who was born from two powerful bloodlines of witchdoctors. Each year she is tested to call forth her own ancestral magic, her heritage, and each year it escapes her grasp. She yearns for the magic that comes so easily to others to impress her ever-disappointed mother and supportive, loving father. ⠀

There is another way to reach magic, scraps of it, but it comes at a cost, that cost being the years of your life. ⠀ ⠀

Back in Kingdom after coming home from the Tribal lands, children begin to go missing, Arrah is desperate to find out where they have gone and is willing to trade her years, for a scrap of magic to find the culprit. ⠀ ⠀

What she finds leads her on a rollercoaster journey of desperation, betrayal, loss and discovery for a demon king is rising with a hunger for souls and Arrah may be the only one who can stop him.

Utterly compelling and complex. I was hooked from the start and my heart breaks for the struggles of these characters against gods and demons from the dawn of time. Arrah is a fierce, heroic character who I fell in love with. ⠀ ⠀

A brilliant novel which surprised and excited me. I cannot wait to read it again and for the story to continue. ⠀

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