Kingdom of Souls 01: Kingdom of Souls

Kingdom of Souls 01: Kingdom of Souls

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Synopsis

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. – Goodreads

Review

Wow, what a story.

Reading the synopsis and beginning the book, you think you’ve got a general idea of what is going to happen if you’ve read a lot of fantasy prior to this. What I loved is that every time I anticipated the next big surprise, I was totally wrong. By not shying away from making difficult choices and using complex, nuanced characters Barron manages to write an incredibly clever, completely fresh take on the classic “mc chosen by the gods to stop a great evil.”

I was also quite impressed by the romance in this book. I greatly dislike reading romance and I particularly dislike it in fantasy stories. This is because authors often build these huge life-or-death, end-of-the-world stakes for the story and then have characters make trifling, childish decisions for love (frequently about people they just met) or lust that are incongruous with the rest of the book. Here Barron does an excellent job of balancing a budding relationship (that started before the story does) with the huge events overtaking the characters lives.

Finally, as always, Robin Miles did an outstanding job of reading the audiobook version of this and I can’t recommend that enough. Even with five months left of the year, I know this is going to be in my top-10 for 2020.