I absolutely adored the use of blood magic in Kingdom of Souls, written by Rena Barron. The magic was so complex, well thought out, had limitations and it’s own exacting price. There’s a major emphasis on the various cultures that exist in the society, how unique and individual all of these cultures are, and where everyone fits. Then there is the kingdom itself which has its own politics and deity. Speaking of deities – I LOVED the gods in this book! They were so cool, arrogant, and well written. So much about KOS felt like ancient history as opposed to a fantasy book. One of my favorite tropes are Gods interacting with humans so this book didn’t disappoint me. Also there’s a really cute sapphic romance, so many different skin colors within the Black diaspora, AND I adored the relationship between Arrah and her father. Her dad is definitely the “caring and emotional” parent. I loved seeing binary gender roles reversed in this book.
The only thing I didn’t love: The writing was a bit simple in many places. It alternated between having awesome descriptions full of dope imagery and really mechanical sentences. It just wasn’t my favorite. I also didn’t completely dig the way a major character was introduced. It felt far too rushed and unbelievable.
Overall I think this is a great first book with loads of Black Girl Magic and celebration of African identities. I love Arrah and her friends and am impatiently waiting for the next two books!
*Rating: 4.25 out of 5 Stars
By Jesse E
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