Kingdom of Souls

Magic and girls who try so hard and a long line of witches, oh yes!

Reading it? Oh no…


Explosive fantasy set in a world of magic and legend, where one girl must sacrifice her life, year by year, to gain the power necessary to fight the mother she has never been good enough for.

Perfect for fans of Sarah J Maas, Tomi Adeyemi and Black Panther


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, 2019

Look at the cover and tell me you don’t want to read this book. This cover is #goals and totally made me judge the book by it.

Which didn’t exactly work out for me this time around.

I wanted to love Kingdom of Souls so dang much. SO MUCH, Y’ALL. It’s got everything I could ever want from it; non-European fantasy setting, a kickass main character, magic and blood and danger! But there was something about the writing that threw me off and I could never get back on afterwards.

I can’t exactly pinpoint it, but the writing never felt natural to me. It was a hard read–not in the sense that the writing was difficult, but that I was so bored. I kept checking the time, or seeing how much longer I had left in the book. I kept thinking about starting my next read the entire time I had this in my hands. I tried to power through it. I got as far as 76% of the way through. I just wasn’t invested in the story or the characters. Not only was so much introduced at once, we never got a chance to marinate in the world or the story or the tension (if there was any).

A ton of characters are introduced and then we go chapters upon chapters without a single mention of them. Any plot point we hit races past. It felt like Barton was trying to push too many stories into one book. It didn’t feel like one main plot, plus a subplot or two. It felt like two or three main plots squished into one. Everything felt forced, villains felt one dimensional (and don’t get me started on who the “actual” villain is supposed to be. It just a hot mess). When people died, I didn’t care, even though Arrah, our main character, really loved this person and saw them as a brother. We saw them interact once, for a brief conversation. And that was it.

Despite all that negativity (I know, I know, I’m sorry), I actually really enjoyed the concept of Kingdom of Souls. I felt that Barton did a great job conceptualizing the magic and the world, but just fell short conveying that to the page. I was intrigued by the magic system; it was, after all, enough to get me to read 3/4ths of the book. But the entire time, I was just waiting for something better to happen. For some reason to connect. And, for me, it never came.

My rating: ★★★☆☆

Published by Magdalyn Ann

I'm a 20 something YA/Fantasy author looking to spread my stories around the world. My strengths seem to lie in procrastination, puppies and puns. Apparently alliteration as well.

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