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After so many years yearning for the gift of magic, Arrah has the one thing she’s always wanted—at a terrible price. Now the last surviving witchdoctor, she’s been left to pick up the shattered pieces of a family that betrayed her, a kingdom in shambles, and long-buried secrets about who she is. Desperate not to repeat her mother’s mistakes, Arrah must return to the tribal After so many years yearning for the gift of magic, Arrah has the one thing she’s always wanted—at a terrible price. Now the last surviving witchdoctor, she’s been left to pick up the shattered pieces of a family that betrayed her, a kingdom in shambles, and long-buried secrets about who she is. Desperate not to repeat her mother’s mistakes, Arrah must return to the tribal lands to search for help from the remnants of her parents’ people. But the Demon King’s shadow looms closer than she thinks. And as Arrah struggles to unravel her connection to him, defeating him begins to seem more and more impossible—if it’s something she can bring herself to do at all. Set in a richly imagined world inspired by spine-tingling tales of voodoo and folk magic, Kingdom of Souls was lauded as “masterful” by School Library Journal in a starred review. This explosively epic sequel will have readers racing to the can’t-miss conclusion.


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After so many years yearning for the gift of magic, Arrah has the one thing she’s always wanted—at a terrible price. Now the last surviving witchdoctor, she’s been left to pick up the shattered pieces of a family that betrayed her, a kingdom in shambles, and long-buried secrets about who she is. Desperate not to repeat her mother’s mistakes, Arrah must return to the tribal After so many years yearning for the gift of magic, Arrah has the one thing she’s always wanted—at a terrible price. Now the last surviving witchdoctor, she’s been left to pick up the shattered pieces of a family that betrayed her, a kingdom in shambles, and long-buried secrets about who she is. Desperate not to repeat her mother’s mistakes, Arrah must return to the tribal lands to search for help from the remnants of her parents’ people. But the Demon King’s shadow looms closer than she thinks. And as Arrah struggles to unravel her connection to him, defeating him begins to seem more and more impossible—if it’s something she can bring herself to do at all. Set in a richly imagined world inspired by spine-tingling tales of voodoo and folk magic, Kingdom of Souls was lauded as “masterful” by School Library Journal in a starred review. This explosively epic sequel will have readers racing to the can’t-miss conclusion.

30 review for Reaper of Souls

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rena Barron

    A prince repelled by magic. A king bent on revenge. A witchdoctor who does not walk alone. I am super unbiased, and I think this book is pretty good. :-) Visit the Kingdom of Souls website for quizzes, book club questions, and other fun goodies. Check out the Kingdom of Souls Universe Guide for definitions of terms used in the book. REAPER OF SOULS - US COVER REAPER OF SOULS - UK COVER A prince repelled by magic. A king bent on revenge. A witchdoctor who does not walk alone. I am super unbiased, and I think this book is pretty good. :-) Visit the Kingdom of Souls website for quizzes, book club questions, and other fun goodies. Check out the Kingdom of Souls Universe Guide for definitions of terms used in the book. REAPER OF SOULS - US COVER REAPER OF SOULS - UK COVER

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra Elend Wolf

    After the incredibly cardiac ending that we had in Kingdom of Souls I can't wait to get my hands into this sequel... I suffer that I have to wait until next year. I have so many hopes for that glorious love triangle that I can't even begin to express them. Especially because I haven't been excited about a love triangle in a long long time. And I need more information on Daho. The only thing that bothers me about this book is the cover... I'm not a fan of this style of covers. Hopefully, ano After the incredibly cardiac ending that we had in Kingdom of Souls I can't wait to get my hands into this sequel... I suffer that I have to wait until next year. I have so many hopes for that glorious love triangle that I can't even begin to express them. Especially because I haven't been excited about a love triangle in a long long time. And I need more information on Daho. The only thing that bothers me about this book is the cover... I'm not a fan of this style of covers. Hopefully, another edition will have a prettier one as the first one did.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Umairah | Sereadipity

    I was so excited to read Reaper of Souls as I was completely enthralled by the first book in the trilogy. I have to admit, while the book had a lot of strong points, it didn't fully live up to my expectations and pales in comparison to Kingdom of Souls. I think my problem is that objectively it is exactly the sort of interesting, twisty book that I usually love but it just failed to engage me and all the aspects of the first book that I loved weren't as compelling to me in this one. Plot: 3/5 Char I was so excited to read Reaper of Souls as I was completely enthralled by the first book in the trilogy. I have to admit, while the book had a lot of strong points, it didn't fully live up to my expectations and pales in comparison to Kingdom of Souls. I think my problem is that objectively it is exactly the sort of interesting, twisty book that I usually love but it just failed to engage me and all the aspects of the first book that I loved weren't as compelling to me in this one. Plot: 3/5 Characters: 3.5/5 Writing: 4/5 In this book Arrah was a lot more mature and also much wearier and worn out by all that she had been through and all that she had yet to do. Haunted by her past actions, it was interesting to see Arrah realise that the magic she had sacrificed so much for was a double edged sword that she couldn't trust herself to wield only for the good of others. Comparing her decisions at the end of this book to her decisions at the start of Kingdom of Souls it was clear how far she has come and how her outlook on the world has changed. The only thing that didn't diminish for me in this book is how much I love Arrah. She wasn't perfect, she made reckless decisions and did morally questionable things but she was also strong and loyal and in her heart she wanted the best for everyone. I like how she was at one with herself and owned her mistakes even as she often walked the fine line between hero and monster in the eyes of others. This book was also Rudjek's time to shine- he even had chapters from his perspective. In the previous book I felt like he was less self-assured so I liked how he stepped up in this book and came into his own, taking on leadership and initiative. I liked how the barriers between Arrah and Rudjek being together were explored and how they communicated about it but I didn't love their relationship as much as I did in book one. As I was reading I became less and less engaged in their romance and cared less and less about whether or not they'd get to be together. I read most of Kingdom of Souls in one sitting unable to stop and desperate to find out what would happen next. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case for Reaper of Souls. For most of the book I wasn't engaged by the plot and there were many points whilst reading where I was so close to DNFing but didn't because I remembered how much I enjoyed the first book and convinced myself it would get better. However, near the end of the book there were some good plot twists and I think the book ended on enough of a strong point to convince me to read the final book in the trilogy when it comes out. The thing I disliked the most about the plot was Dimma and the Demon King's story. I can't really explain why without spoiling too much but even though it was an important part of the storyline I didn't like the focus being taken off of Arrah and Rudjek because they were the ones I cared about. Although it built on the same ideas as Kingdom of Souls- magic being a gift and a curse, the corrupting nature of power and love that destroys as well as heals- I liked Reaper of Souls but nowhere near as much as the first book. However, I would recommend fans of book one to give the sequel a chance because I know for a fact that there are a lot of people who enjoyed it more than I did. Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review This review and more can be found at my blog Sereadipity!!!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Woc Reader

    One thing I love about this series is that the world is lush. I love when a fantasy paints a clear picture of it's setting. I think one of Rena Barron's strengths is creating the atmosphere with food, clothes, the hustle of the market place. The magic system is well thought out and it's fascinating reading about how it formed. It's not oversimplified nor overly complex. This time the story splits the narrative between Arrah and Rudjek's POV's with flashback's that give the orisha Dimma's memorie One thing I love about this series is that the world is lush. I love when a fantasy paints a clear picture of it's setting. I think one of Rena Barron's strengths is creating the atmosphere with food, clothes, the hustle of the market place. The magic system is well thought out and it's fascinating reading about how it formed. It's not oversimplified nor overly complex. This time the story splits the narrative between Arrah and Rudjek's POV's with flashback's that give the orisha Dimma's memories. I thought this format was much better because it allows us to become familiar with Rudjek. While I still wasn't fully convinced of his love story with Arrah; I felt more of a contention to him. He like Arrah was also discovering his powers. Rudjek's anti-magic powers prevent him and Arrah from touching and being around each other long. How can their love survive when they can't touch? Then the changes in the Kingdom and Rudjek's family coming in to power provide another obstacle against them. Arrah sets off to explore the tribal lands to look for survivors after hearing that some may have escaped. While Rudjek is hunting down a demon army. I liked Dimma's memories because she had a relationship with the Demon King who is the big antagonist in this story. Arrah and her friends have an image of him based off the stories told to them however she shows the loving and vulnerable side of him. Every time I was infuriated at this book and wanted to scream, "Why is this happening?!" it turned out that what was happening was truly a bigger part of the overall plot and not just some meaningless plot point to be forgotten. Just like the last story this was full of twists and red herrings. Every time I thought I knew what was going on I realized I had no idea. I love when a fantasy can keep me fully engaged throughout. This story did a very good job of balancing action and emotional beats. Neither side is completely good or bad in this story. This is a phenomenal follow up and I look forward to book 3. https://womenofcolorreadtoo.blogspot....

  5. 4 out of 5

    Chad

    A solid continuation of the series. Arrah and Rudjek are both dealing with the powers they came into in the last book and how they repel each other when all they want is to to be together. Both of them swiftly go off on their own missions to deal with the fallout of the last book and the Demon King's plans. There's a lot here dealing with reincarnation, past memories, and possession, all of which I don't find that interesting. Those types of stories have become very cliche at this point. Still t A solid continuation of the series. Arrah and Rudjek are both dealing with the powers they came into in the last book and how they repel each other when all they want is to to be together. Both of them swiftly go off on their own missions to deal with the fallout of the last book and the Demon King's plans. There's a lot here dealing with reincarnation, past memories, and possession, all of which I don't find that interesting. Those types of stories have become very cliche at this point. Still the book is well written and engaging. Received a review copy from HarperTeen and Edelweiss. All thoughts are my own and in no way influenced by the aforementioned.

  6. 5 out of 5

    christina

    ★ I received an ARC from the author via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ★ Kingdom of Souls Universe Guide I was really anticipating this sequel, after book 1's climatic ending. However, I was disappointed that Arrah resorted back to questioning her self worth, decisions, and whether or not she should even have magic for the entirety of this book. I was expecting Arrah to rise like a phoenix after the end of book 1 and be this bad ass with a new exciting love interest, similar to A Court ★ I received an ARC from the author via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ★ Kingdom of Souls Universe Guide I was really anticipating this sequel, after book 1's climatic ending. However, I was disappointed that Arrah resorted back to questioning her self worth, decisions, and whether or not she should even have magic for the entirety of this book. I was expecting Arrah to rise like a phoenix after the end of book 1 and be this bad ass with a new exciting love interest, similar to A Court of Mist and Fury. (that did not happen) I wasn't really a fan of Rudjek and Arrah's love story in the first book, and unfortunately that continues through to the second book, along with Sukar now having feelings for Arrah as well. (an unnecessary love triangle/square) I was really hoping that Daho the Demon King was going to get an awesome redemption arc and him and Arrah were going to destroy all the orisha, but Daho and Dimma seem to be just as crazy as the rest of the orisha. I was also really disappointed with Arrah's decision at the end of this book, and honestly without Efiya -it didn't feel like there was a real villain. I'm still invested enough in the series to read the final installment, but was bummed this one didn't live up to my expectations.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Haley Renee The Caffeinated Reader

    https://thecaffeinatedreader.com/2021... This sequel picks right up from where Kingdom of Souls left off. The battle ended, and the war is still raging though war always comes with a price. Arrah is trying to save Sukar from his wounds, some at her own hand. Essnai is supporting Arrah, while Rudjek is at the mercy of his father’s politics and doing everything in his own power to protect Arrah. (To be fair though Rudjek really is too strong and stubborn to be at anyone’s ‘mercy’) The book is seriou https://thecaffeinatedreader.com/2021... This sequel picks right up from where Kingdom of Souls left off. The battle ended, and the war is still raging though war always comes with a price. Arrah is trying to save Sukar from his wounds, some at her own hand. Essnai is supporting Arrah, while Rudjek is at the mercy of his father’s politics and doing everything in his own power to protect Arrah. (To be fair though Rudjek really is too strong and stubborn to be at anyone’s ‘mercy’) The book is seriously an emotional roller coaster though and Barron once more smashed my soul as she did in the last book. If you want to know why...you’ll have to read and find out or if you’ve read it just guess. Or I can spell out spoilers with my tears. Half jk. This amazing sequel is coming out in less than two weeks so please keep it in mind for your TBR! It does not disappoint and it was just as amazing as the first book. Thanks so much to Rena Barron, NetGalley and Harper Voyager UK for an eARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Eilidh

    ”Once there was a broken boy who fell from the sky, and a goddess, both terrifying and terrifyingly beautiful, saved him from certain death. The goddess had eyes the color of night pearls and a heart bigger than the entirety of the world.” Picking up immediately after the events of Kingdom of Souls, we follow Arrah and her friends search the tribe lands for any chance of survivors from the massacre in Kingdom of Souls. Meanwhile Rudjek navigates his newfound abilities and his power hungry father. ”Once there was a broken boy who fell from the sky, and a goddess, both terrifying and terrifyingly beautiful, saved him from certain death. The goddess had eyes the color of night pearls and a heart bigger than the entirety of the world.” Picking up immediately after the events of Kingdom of Souls, we follow Arrah and her friends search the tribe lands for any chance of survivors from the massacre in Kingdom of Souls. Meanwhile Rudjek navigates his newfound abilities and his power hungry father. I blaaaazed through this book. I’m talking one minute I was at 30% and then I was finished. The pace was exceptional, the story was so readable and fully loaded with action and twists. Barron certainly proves once more she’s a force to be reckoned with, with her writing. This time we not only follow Arrah’s perspective, but Rudjek’s as well, and the odd one from Dimma. Arrah is experiencing the aftermath of trauma from thee events in KoS. She’s guilt ridden, cracking under the pressure of trying to solve and fix everything and also dealing with her grief of lost loved ones. Rudjek’s perspective was pleasantly surprising. It was full of political machinations, warfare strategy and his devotion to Arrah. Personally, this was my favourite part of Reaper of Souls. Not only is it uncommon for YA series to give a voice to the male love interest, but it’s also uncommon for it to be as good as the female lead. With KOS we lost sight of him because it only followed Arrah, and we would have lost sight of him again if not for the addition of his perspective. We get to enjoy his character arc and his character development. In actuality, what we get with Rudjek in this instalment, is what I wish we’d got with Arrah. I also really enjoyed the odd Dimma chapters. It was exciting to learn about her and how that lead to current plot events. The orishas history is better than the excitement of reality TV. We learn more about Dimma and her relationship with her orisha brethren, that, they’re really bad at being gods. It’s entertaining. They just can’t do anything right - they can’t keep the children in line. They reminded me of the Fairy Oddparents, Wanda and Cosmo, with their shenanigans. However, I was a little disappointed with the lack of the demon king’s presence. In some ways, I felt the magic system fell to the wayside in favour of world building. I was tremendously disappointed with the lack of exploring Arrah’s chieftain magic. Salt was rubbed in the wound further when Rudjek explored his abilities, whilst Arrah was left stilted with her guilt. Maybe increasing the book’s length would have been beneficial to allow for this, considering the pace was on the whole great, thereby hypothetically allowing for more length without detracting from the book’s quality or enjoyment. Unfortunately I was super disheartened with the ending. I’m sure the author has some tricks up her sleeve going into the final book with respect to the ending, but it doesn’t change the fact I disliked it and it left me sour. But the romance aspects of the book were really nice. Reaper of Souls is actually quite a romantic book... yet darkly romantic. We not only follow the forbidden love of Arrah and Rudjek’s relationship, but we get insight to the origins of Daho and Dimma’s love story as well. I thought Barron contrasted each relationship very well, and I’m invested to know how they’ll both end. It actually gives me The Mummy vibes (almost). Twists! Twists! Twists! I didn’t see a good few coming. Barron certainly kept me on my toes and I felt the sequel connected to the first book very well to have excellent flow. The book lulled slightly in the middle but it builds in momentum again toward the end to be heart pounding and gripping. Ultimately Reaper of Souls raises more questions that’ll ensure fans will have their calendars marked for the grand finale. I can’t wait! Thank you kindly to Harper Voyager and Netgalley for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for this honest review.

  9. 4 out of 5

    S. Naomi Scott

    DISCLAIMER : I received an advanced reading copy from the publisher in return for an honest and unbiased review. My thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins UK for allowing the opportunity to read and review this book. It's at least as good as the first one, with the same mix of light and dark in the narrative. A full review will come shortly but suffice to say it's a strong four out of five stars. DISCLAIMER : I received an advanced reading copy from the publisher in return for an honest and unbiased review. My thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins UK for allowing the opportunity to read and review this book. It's at least as good as the first one, with the same mix of light and dark in the narrative. A full review will come shortly but suffice to say it's a strong four out of five stars.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kai (CuriousCompass)

    considering the first book has two different covers and they're both beautiful but so different, i wonder which art direction they'll keep for this book... >.> considering the first book has two different covers and they're both beautiful but so different, i wonder which art direction they'll keep for this book... >.>

  11. 4 out of 5

    May

    Once again I’m in awe of Rena Barron’s writing and talent for storytelling!!! Let me start by saying this series is dark and exactly the type of fantasy that I love because you know what?! Nobody is pure and good in their core, everyone has some dark in them and nothing is sunshine or happy ever after! There’s got to be casualties, that’s realistic because we wanna feel something when we read don’t we? The story is so amazingly written and has such fantastic twists that’ll blow your mind. And the Once again I’m in awe of Rena Barron’s writing and talent for storytelling!!! Let me start by saying this series is dark and exactly the type of fantasy that I love because you know what?! Nobody is pure and good in their core, everyone has some dark in them and nothing is sunshine or happy ever after! There’s got to be casualties, that’s realistic because we wanna feel something when we read don’t we? The story is so amazingly written and has such fantastic twists that’ll blow your mind. And the suspense will keep you on the edge of your seat the whole time!! There was so much I could also learn for myself while reading it! It’s not just fantasy. This book teaches you so many life lessons and has a beautiful message of hope. Also the character development was so realistic and relatable. Nobody can go from self doubt to becoming a hero in seconds it needs time and growth!! That‘s why I love how character-driven the story was. Also happy Black History Month!! It’s no coincidence this book is being released in this month; Though like Barron herself said she doesn’t think about making history. She thinks about the Black children and teens who wouldn’t have to grow up not seeing themselves reflected in books. How even though black people made so much progress, we’re dangerously close to a single narrative of what it means to be Black (meaning the hyper-focus in media on Black trauma without an equal balance of Black joy.) And THAT is a beautiful message! I was so fed up with YA and generally with fantasy lately but RoS showed me once again that it can be different and enjoyable. So please give this story your attention and I hope you enjoy it like I did!

  12. 5 out of 5

    2TReads

    I enjoyed this read a lot. Barron has thrown in twists and revelations that definitely get a reaction. "We tell ourselves what we need to hear to survive another day." -Tyrek ⌛ The threads of Barron's world are being woven tighter in #reaperofsouls as we see the ramifications of the fallout and the moves being put in place to either seize control, uncover the truth, or form a coalition to face what is coming. ⏳ Barron is committed to steadily building upon her world, further fleshing out her establis I enjoyed this read a lot. Barron has thrown in twists and revelations that definitely get a reaction. "We tell ourselves what we need to hear to survive another day." -Tyrek ⌛ The threads of Barron's world are being woven tighter in #reaperofsouls as we see the ramifications of the fallout and the moves being put in place to either seize control, uncover the truth, or form a coalition to face what is coming. ⏳ Barron is committed to steadily building upon her world, further fleshing out her established narrative, introducing twists, and revealing answers that shed more light on the orisha's actions and temperaments. She has also crafted a magic system that is complex and exists in the immaterial and physical, and the ways in which it can be accessed and used is rooted in African practices and lore. ⌛ The clash of morality and magic against political maneuverings and advancement is an interesting aspect that adds another layer of intrigue to this narrative. The dialogue between the characters is punchy, slick, reflective, and questioning, making the interactions between friends, enemies, and deities entertaining and pensive. ⏳ Orishas are cunning, powerful yet not limitless and must employ aid in order to achieve favourable outcomes, especially when their actions are part-cause for the fallout. ⌛ I really enjoyed this follow-up. ⏳

  13. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    Rena said, "f*ck your second book slump," let's go! REAPER OF SOULS starts off immediately following the exciting (and violent) events of Book 1, KINGDOM OF SOULS. Arrah and her friends must deal with the consequences of her mother and sister's actions. At the same time, Arrah and Rudjek are encountering more and more obstacles to their relationship. Not to mention, an extra love interest of two. 👀 There are twists, there are turns, there are meddling gods - and a Demon King determined to have his Rena said, "f*ck your second book slump," let's go! REAPER OF SOULS starts off immediately following the exciting (and violent) events of Book 1, KINGDOM OF SOULS. Arrah and her friends must deal with the consequences of her mother and sister's actions. At the same time, Arrah and Rudjek are encountering more and more obstacles to their relationship. Not to mention, an extra love interest of two. 👀 There are twists, there are turns, there are meddling gods - and a Demon King determined to have his revenge! If I'm being honest, I found the politicking in the capital a bit slow, but the rest of the plot had me hooked. I had a moment when I literally squealed out loud, "Omg, this is a love story!!" It is dark and twisty and I'm obsessed! 😍 And that ending! Overall I enjoyed this even more than the first. My body is ready for book 3! -- Thank you to EpicReads and NetGalley for sending me an e-ARC!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Stephenie

    Reaper picks up weeks after Kingdom of Souls. Like the first novel, the world is atmospherically dark, wicked and foreboding. While the tone is dark, there's plenty of comedic relief to break up the tension. At this point, I'm completely invested in Arrah, Rudjek and their world. They must be protected at all costs. Don't even get me started on the romance(s). Which, I also want to point out, some readers may not like the love triangle, but there's so much more to it. Clearly, Barron like to pla Reaper picks up weeks after Kingdom of Souls. Like the first novel, the world is atmospherically dark, wicked and foreboding. While the tone is dark, there's plenty of comedic relief to break up the tension. At this point, I'm completely invested in Arrah, Rudjek and their world. They must be protected at all costs. Don't even get me started on the romance(s). Which, I also want to point out, some readers may not like the love triangle, but there's so much more to it. Clearly, Barron like to play and taunt. It's a matter of perspective, I suppose, as the characters all feel that their acts seem justified in the name of love and justice. Who's at fault for that? Who's the villain in this story? Maybe they all are. And I'm not upset at Arrah's decision to choose herself for once, although I think some readers will disagree with me. Where there's a will, there's a way, and Arrah's a force, and she's going to find some way or another to save her kingdom, and it's people. Overall, my dark fantasy heart loved it! It was filled with twists, turns and revelations, I can't wait to read the conclusion. Read this if you enjoy... • a vast world inspired by West African folklore and mythology • dark magic & meddling gods • #IsThisAKissingBook a complicated star crossed romance that will leave a hole or melt your heart or both

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jacob Rundle

    Rena has done it again!!!! REAPER OF SOULS was EVERYTHING I desire in a sequel!!!! The characters’ development was SO REALISTIC AND SO WELL WRITTEN!!!! The story pulled me right in. I highly recommend this one to everyone!!!!!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Simant Verma

    June 18th, 2020: The cover of the sequel of Kingdom of Souls is here and OH.MY.GOD. So beautiful! Gorgeous! such a perfect contrast to the previous book and how beautiful they look together. Artist: Adeyemi Adegbesan Cover Designer: Jenna Stempel-Lobell June 18th, 2020: The cover of the sequel of Kingdom of Souls is here and OH.MY.GOD. So beautiful! Gorgeous! such a perfect contrast to the previous book and how beautiful they look together. Artist: Adeyemi Adegbesan Cover Designer: Jenna Stempel-Lobell

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jo

    Reaper of Souls sees our return to the lush, vibrant, and dangerous world that Rena Barron has masterfully constructed in her debut Kingdom of Souls. After years of yearning for magic, Arrah finally attains the one thing she's wanted - but she too discovers that it came at too steep a price. Still reeling from the devastating events in Kingdom of Souls, Arrah is left to shoulder the weight of a legacy, shattered relationships, a kingdom plunged into chaos, and a love so ill-fated. True to the re Reaper of Souls sees our return to the lush, vibrant, and dangerous world that Rena Barron has masterfully constructed in her debut Kingdom of Souls. After years of yearning for magic, Arrah finally attains the one thing she's wanted - but she too discovers that it came at too steep a price. Still reeling from the devastating events in Kingdom of Souls, Arrah is left to shoulder the weight of a legacy, shattered relationships, a kingdom plunged into chaos, and a love so ill-fated. True to the reputation Kingdom of Souls has built, this book continues the trend of driving head-on to messed-up situations - yet Barron manages to juggle all the hideous circumstances placed on her cast with the depth and nuance they deserve. The battle lines are clearly drawn, but the reckoning of the ugly truth behind the Kingdom's history leaves no one unscathed and forces many to reckon with the weight of their decisions on their conscience. Reaper of Souls profoundly explores passion, hard decisions, and heavy consequences that come with every single choice transcending ancestral lines. Reaper of Souls is a much more intimate, emotional, and character-driven book compared to its predecessor, but Barron still hard-carries its dark plot exceptionally well with generous helpings of insane plot twists and high-octane suspense. This roaring sequel to Kingdom of Souls is impossible to put down, and promises an explosive finale to the trilogy I sure wouldn't want to miss. Reaper of Souls is available for pre-order, scheduled to release on 16 February 2021 (US) and 18 February 2021 (UK). My full review can be found here. I received a digital Advance Reader’s Copy of Reaper of Souls from HarperVoyager UK and the author in exchange for an honest review

  18. 4 out of 5

    Layla

    I was granted an eARC from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Slow to start and then barreling straight into adventure, heartbreak and deception. I adored Kingdom of Souls so much and it's sequel does not disappoint. Rich with it's history coupled with a plan eons in the making, it takes the reader further into the world that Arrah lives in and the past that has forged their present. Prepare yourselves for twists and turns, epic battles and heart wrenching moments. I was granted an eARC from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Slow to start and then barreling straight into adventure, heartbreak and deception. I adored Kingdom of Souls so much and it's sequel does not disappoint. Rich with it's history coupled with a plan eons in the making, it takes the reader further into the world that Arrah lives in and the past that has forged their present. Prepare yourselves for twists and turns, epic battles and heart wrenching moments.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Holly Hughes

    ”This war will go on forever if we don’t do anything to stop it.” A solid successor and continuation of the series. There were a few moments that fell prey to second book syndrome, but on the whole the characters and world-building are fantastic. And those final chapters? DAMN. The final book is going to be one hell of a ride. I also loved that they brought back the same narrator from the first book, because she is excellent!!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Geena

    4.5/5 I am obsessed.... I am losing my mind.... the number of twists and turns..... had me screaming!!! It started off slow not gonna lie, but once it picked up speed it did NOT stop and I have so many conflicted feelings... ESPECIALLY THE END......

  21. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa B. ♡

    ARC provided via NetGalley in exchange of an honest review. Review to come

  22. 5 out of 5

    USOM

    (Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) Reaper of Souls is a story about the fate of the world they live in, but at the same time it's a story about love. Fluid and descriptive, Reaper of Souls has some fantastic writing twists that made me pause. Full of a love that would tear them apart, Arrah and Rudjeck face a love that repeals each other, one that could unmake them. But can they overcome it together despite the od (Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) Reaper of Souls is a story about the fate of the world they live in, but at the same time it's a story about love. Fluid and descriptive, Reaper of Souls has some fantastic writing twists that made me pause. Full of a love that would tear them apart, Arrah and Rudjeck face a love that repeals each other, one that could unmake them. But can they overcome it together despite the odds? Reaper of Souls hooks you from the beginning with action which demands that Arrah move forwards. Because at the heart of this story is the question: can we escape the mistakes of our past? It's easy to think that the past shouldn't define us. That the actions of our parents should have no bearing on our present. But what happens when we are confronted with the same choices, the same compromises? How do we make sure we don't fall into the same cycle of mistakes? What starts out as Arrah resisting the legacy of her mother, becomes more complicated as Arrah must fight for her life. full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...

  23. 4 out of 5

    Inkslinger

    ARC provided by HarperTeen/HarperCollins and Rena Barron via Edelweiss+. All opinions are mine and freely given. Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | BookBub 02-15: 'Reaper of Souls' is book two in the Kingdom of Souls trilogy by Rena Barron. A series already optioned for film by Michael B. Jordan's production company, it traverses multiple worlds and is inspired by tales of voodoo and folk magic. Even the first like of the blurb is full of intrigue. "A prince repelled by magic. A king ARC provided by HarperTeen/HarperCollins and Rena Barron via Edelweiss+. All opinions are mine and freely given. Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | BookBub 02-15: 'Reaper of Souls' is book two in the Kingdom of Souls trilogy by Rena Barron. A series already optioned for film by Michael B. Jordan's production company, it traverses multiple worlds and is inspired by tales of voodoo and folk magic. Even the first like of the blurb is full of intrigue. "A prince repelled by magic. A king bent on revenge. A witchdoctor who does not walk alone." Of course, I'm late to the party and didn't read book one, but it was very easy to catch-up on what the characters had been through in the early pages. Arrah is the last surviving witchdoctor. Betrayed by family, she finally has the ability to wield magic, but the cost was steep. The kingdom is in chaos and she can't even touch the one she loves. While Arrah journeys across the tribal lands in search of survivors from the demons' attack, Rudjek scours the land for the demon army's hold.. uncovering a plot that would destroy them all. The Demon King wants Arrah and time is running out to stop him. This is a very fast-paced story, so the pages just fly by. From the opening scenes as Arrah is returning to the Kingdom's seat of power, there's a feeling of urgency around her. The city is full of unrest with some citizens rallying against the new King and some in staunch support of him. Not everyone is thrilled to see Arrah and her entourage either, but the ones that matter to her are a different story. Rudjek is charismatic and bold, the moment he enters the scene.. but his insecurities make him charming too. As a craven, he has special skills of his own and they aren't always a boon.. but they do seem to come with a fun set of guardians and the dynamics between both those within his group and Arrah's is really entertaining. Plenty of sarcasm to feed my snarky soul. Arrah's.. complications are many, but they're very creative concepts. I loved the magic system and overall magical elements in this book, which are a vast, deeply developed mix of wild imagination and a very old way of life. The cast is full of beautiful, likeable, richly portrayed characters and at various times I found myself loathe to choose a side. Barron does an excellent job of conveying everyone's reasons for their actions to the reader, making it all the more understandable from every angle.. and much harder to accept when someone fails. My only complaint is a small one. In the attempt to create a twisty tale, there are simply too many 'gotcha' moments. Not to the point that they're hard to follow, just to the point they stop having as much impact.. but honestly that's a problem widespread across media these days.. and purely a preferential issue for me. Definitely not a deal-breaker. Honestly though, that's the only thing I felt could have been better. The book left me deeply torn as the characters on all sides had become so important to me. I'm eager for more. Don't miss this series! PURCHASE LINKS: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY | BOOKSAMILLION | GOOGLEPLAY BOOKS | INDIGO | KOBO | WATERSTONES

  24. 5 out of 5

    cafeyre

    Arrah always dreamed about having her gift of magic. However, when her dreams finally come true, she needs to pay a high price for them. After she finally defeated her sister, she is the last surviving witchdoctor. Together with her friends, she comes back home to pick up the shattered pieces of a family that betrayed her, and her secret identity that was buried long ago. Being back home isn’t easy since she is a daughter of a traitor. It’s not getting easier since the Demon King is closer now t Arrah always dreamed about having her gift of magic. However, when her dreams finally come true, she needs to pay a high price for them. After she finally defeated her sister, she is the last surviving witchdoctor. Together with her friends, she comes back home to pick up the shattered pieces of a family that betrayed her, and her secret identity that was buried long ago. Being back home isn’t easy since she is a daughter of a traitor. It’s not getting easier since the Demon King is closer now than she thinks. Arrah desperately tries to fix what her mother destroyed. She comes back to the tribal lands to search for the survivors. However, the voice of the Demon King in her mind gets louder and louder. He shares with her the memories she lost. With his shadow in her mind, it’s hard for her to stay in control. She begins to understand that defeating him might be impossible. Book Review: To be honest, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the first book. I was really disappointed with this book, while I had very high expectations. However, this book surprised me by how much more interesting it was. I loved how the author connected Arrah’s story with the unnamed goddess. We finally had a chance to learn more about Dimma’s life and what she did that cost her losing her life and name. Moreover, Demon’s King story is finally explained and shows a completely different side of his character and his past. I noticed a big improvement in Arrah’s character. In the last book, I was very annoyed by her. She was acting like an annoying kid that has only one goal in her life, to get power. I think that her growth can be connected to getting magic as she always dreamed of. However, receiving such a big amount of power has also its consequences and she felt it on her skin in a short time. She grows up to the responsibility of her people and she does everything to find the survivors of the tribe’s people. I think this is one of her characteristics I like the most. She never steps down when she knows that there is someone that needs her help. She gives herself to the case and there’s nothing that can stop her. Also, the fact that Arrah is the most powerful witch doctor is amazing. Every time she shows how powerful she is, I want to give her a standing ovation. Especially when she’s accompanied by Rodjek’s father. I still cannot stand him. I think he’s even worse in this book because he’s on the top. As much as I liked Rodjek in the last book, I was a little bit disappointed with his part of the story in this book. Especially, that he finally got his point of view in the book. The storyline was pretty boring. However, I like the idea of anti-magic very much. Without it, his and Arrah’s relationship would be flat. This actually adds a little bit of newness to the story. It makes their relationship different from the others and I like it very much. I always liked a forbidden love tribe so I wasn’t disappointed when this was a case in this story. What was also very well managed, were the scenes of the battles. I was very upset that so many people died, however, I’m glad that it happened. Thanks to it the scene was much more realistic since it’s not that often that everyone comes out of the battlefield alive or without a scratch. Especially, battle with blood-thirsty demons. The ending is the thing I’m not sure how to feel about. It made me want to read the next book, however, it ended in a way that there should be at least one more chapter. The epilogue was amazing, but the last chapter should have at least 5 pages of continuation. I was confused that it ended this way but maybe it was a point. The epilogue had a great cliffhanger so it makes us wait for book three. I didn’t feel this way after the first book, so it’s an improvement. idea of anti-magic very much. Without it, his and Arrah’s relationship would be flat. This actually adds a little bit of newness to the story. It makes their relationship different from the others and I like it very much. I always liked a forbidden love tribe so I wasn’t disappointed when this was a case in this story. What was also very well managed, were the scenes of the battles. I was very upset that so many people died, however, I’m glad that it happened. Thanks to it the scene was much more realistic since it’s not that often that everyone comes out of the battlefield alive or without a scratch. Especially, battle with blood-thirsty demons. The ending is the thing I’m not sure how to feel about. It made me want to read the next book, however, it ended in a way that there should be at least one more chapter. The epilogue was amazing, but the last chapter should have at least 5 pages of continuation. I was confused that it ended this way but maybe it was a point. The epilogue had a great cliffhanger so it makes us wait for book three. I didn’t feel this way after the first book, so it’s an improvement. I would like to thank NetGalley, Rena Barron and Harper Voyager for providing me with this book! I can't wait to read book three! I think book was definitely a step up in the story and I can't wait to read more of Arrah's story!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sifa Poulton

    Before reading REAPER OF SOULS, I re-read KINGDOM OF SOULS, and noticed a few elements that I did not enjoy, and so made the book a bit of a fight to get through. The main two complaints I had were: 1) A lot of important events happen off page and are told to Arrah in a couple of sentences, and then ignored - like the destruction on the city and kingdom with the Princes 2) The "twists" were not twists, but rather new information dumped on the reader widely swinging the plot in a different direct. I Before reading REAPER OF SOULS, I re-read KINGDOM OF SOULS, and noticed a few elements that I did not enjoy, and so made the book a bit of a fight to get through. The main two complaints I had were: 1) A lot of important events happen off page and are told to Arrah in a couple of sentences, and then ignored - like the destruction on the city and kingdom with the Princes 2) The "twists" were not twists, but rather new information dumped on the reader widely swinging the plot in a different direct. I noticed both of these happening in REAPER. The first, the events happening off page, was to a lesser extent in this book. Rudjeck's father has seized the kingdom off page and now Rudjeck is Crown Prince (we don't even get the chapter where he discovers this, even though it sounds like it's happening at the time of Arrah's first chapter). It felt like it was held back to have a "shock moment" from Arrah, though that was fast and lacked the weight of Rudjeck coming to terms with his father's actions and the consequences of his own life. He seems remarkably fine in his own chapters about this. There was another major event in Rudjeck's storyline - a big battle that changed everything - that he missed because he was unconscious. But then the battle seemed to have no consequences and they got the allies anyway. (I was also a bit disappointed that the opening act seemed to be setting up a political intrigue line between Rudjeck's father and a member of the previous royal family but that it was all then ignored from the next act onwards with quests, but that is indicative of my reading tastes rather than the book itself.) When it comes to twists, for one to feel satisfying, I believe three elements are needed: 1) The twist needs to flip the previous story on its head, or at least make you seriously doubt a lot of what's come before/given it a very different meaning 2) The twist needs to subvert a set of expectations that have been set up in the narrative 3)The twist needs to be based on a set of clues that have been subtly included so that you cannot notice them but in retrospect. This is so the twist feels earnt and fits within the story. In KINGDOM and REAPER, the "twists" rarely failed to meet any of those criteria for me, instead feeling like completely new ideas coming out of the blue. It made them less than satisfying, and often either confusing or (if the clues had not been subtle) very obvious. In REAPER, there were two particular "brands" of "twist" I noticed a fair bit. There had been a few of them in KINGDOM, but there were a lot in REAPER: the "cop-out death" and the "they were someone else all along" (to the point that one person's identity switched three times in the course of the book). I don't think it would have bothered me if there hadn't been so many, such that I trusted no death or mysterious character appearance. Unlike in KINGDOM OF SOULS, Arrah is not the sole narrator. She is still the primary narrator, but Rudjeck also has chapters, and the "talks" from the orisha are instead replaced by sections from Dimma's past that functions as backstory for Dimma and Daho. I'll be honest, I am not a fan of the Dimma/Daho backstory. The motivation of a conflict, in a nutshell, is that a goddess fell in love with mortal and didn't want to lose him, so made him immortal - sparking a war with her godly brethren. That premise is not one I like much, because a man's primary motivation for evil being a woman he loves dying never sits well with me. Plus, the end of KINGDOM reads as if Arrah knows she is Dimma, but apparently she doesn't in this book/is in denial? This is quite a long list of "things I did not like", but my review is 3 stars (which, for me is a "OKish" rating, but not a "standard read" like some people). This is because a) I can see why some people would like this as the issues I had were very much "things I personally don't like" and b) the pacing was not bad. Even though a lot of the plot frustrated me, it was still very readable (not a slog to fight through), which is pretty impressive.

  26. 4 out of 5

    King Maria

    The story of Arrah and her friends continues and this time there is a whole lot of twists and actions scenes. It was enjoyable, even though some characters changed from the first book and not in a good way. The story itself is not bad, but the plot twists were overwhelming. The only good thing I can say about the plot twists is that I did not see that coming. The characters that receive most attention are of course the books' POV characters, who are Arrah, Rudjek and Dimma. And maybe Sukar, but t The story of Arrah and her friends continues and this time there is a whole lot of twists and actions scenes. It was enjoyable, even though some characters changed from the first book and not in a good way. The story itself is not bad, but the plot twists were overwhelming. The only good thing I can say about the plot twists is that I did not see that coming. The characters that receive most attention are of course the books' POV characters, who are Arrah, Rudjek and Dimma. And maybe Sukar, but then we later find out the reason he's changed so much. Summary of the characters (my own assessment) is as follows: (view spoiler)[ Arrah. It's not a surprise that the character of Arrah has drastically changed from the first book. The change was welcome and understandable seeing as she went through the most from Kingdom of Souls. She was a well-written character to begin with (in my personal opinion) but the shift in her personality and manner is proof that Ms Barron is an excellent writer. With getting magic of the five chieftains, sort of awakening as Dimma, not being able to touch her boyfriend without going through searing pain, losing her father, having a bitch and murderer of a mother and a psychopathic half demon half sister would definitely change a person. And then the icing on the cake is the whole thing with Sukar in this book. WOW. I was really beginning to ship them. Rudjek. In Kingdom of Souls I loved Rudjek. I loved his charisma, his sarcasm, his playfulness and his relationship with Arrah. In this book, a 180 degrees turn happened. I found him rather annoying and his POV chapters were only half as interesting. He is now 'the prince' and must do his duties but I found myself not caring at all about his struggles. I don't even remember what his purpose was apart from being Arrah's tragic love interest and Re'Mec's sparring buddy in the art of sarcasm. Eevery character has flaws but his flaws just rubbed me the wrong way. I can't explain it. I almost wish he had just died. Dimma. We only knew Dimma as the unnamed orisha in the first book and she was a mystery throughout. It was actually refreshing and a progressive addition to tell her story and from her own mouth, so to speak, rather than another Orisha's or even Daho. I also liked the concept of reincarnation in this story between Arrah and Dimma; Arrah being Dimma and Dimma being Arrah but neither of them being each other. I am conflicted with my feelings for Dimma as she is a traitor and manipulator but her situation is also understandable because, well, love?? The other characters are seen through the eyes of he three aforementioned narrators, so there really isn't much to be said of them. The gods are meh, the friends of Rudjek are one-dimensional and Ms Barron tried to do something there with Essnai but her development still falls short. and then we have Sukar. That poor boy. I am so sad about how things ended for him. And I have to say I did not see this coming as well. It was a shocking and painful stab through and the heart from the back. I was beginning to ship Sukar and Arrah, thinking the author was deliberately writing Rudjek as an annoying little thing just so these two end up together. Alas, he unthinkable happened instead. Then we have the unnecessary and quite forgettable storylines of Tyrek and Efiya. Efiya should have stayed dead and Tyrek should have been treated better. He could have been a better ally than an enemy and sniveling little shit. The other sub-plot or something resembling a sub-plot is the one with the princess from the north. I thought something was going to come out of that. Was there even a point? I guess book three will answer my question. (hide spoiler)] All in all, this was a typical middle book. It did not hold a candle to the first book and rather served as a bridge to the third book. However, this book deviates from that stereotype in that there is just so much happening. Too much to be exact. Especially regarding the whereabouts of the demon king. That could have been a whole book of its own. 3.5 stars

  27. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    This is a BAD book. I staunchly believes that in SFF trilogies, second books are the baddest books, the most painful books because at the end of it, you find yourself at the dark night of the soul part. Favorite characters die, favorite characters get imprisoned or lose things that are important to them, or just get plain bitch slapped in the face. Therefore, REAPER OF SOULS is a BAD book. As I raced across the last pages of this BAD book, I kept mumbling What the fuck what the fuck what the fuck. This is a BAD book. I staunchly believes that in SFF trilogies, second books are the baddest books, the most painful books because at the end of it, you find yourself at the dark night of the soul part. Favorite characters die, favorite characters get imprisoned or lose things that are important to them, or just get plain bitch slapped in the face. Therefore, REAPER OF SOULS is a BAD book. As I raced across the last pages of this BAD book, I kept mumbling What the fuck what the fuck what the fuck. Honestly, my brain came out as a trembling, mumbling, incoherent mush post finishing this book. I survived this book, I wanted to yell across social media. Anyhoo, REAPER OF SOULS is a BAD book. B—Brilliant A—Amazing D—Daring Like for real! It got my heart racing, my lips frantically moving as I mouthed the words (that's how I read), and my brain zooming in on the words on my phone (I read eARC on my phone btw). I'm pretty sure even if a firecracker popped near my ears, I'd go deaf and still not feel it. I was too absorbed by this book. It sucked me in like the Jumanji game and when it ended, I was spit out into the real world like Robin Williams from that much loved movie. I wanted to scream at that ending, especially the second last chapter revelation (you'll get what I mean once you read it, folks). Anyway, the first 1/4th of REAPER OF SOULS was about Arrah and Rudjek and the rest of the world surviving and reacting to the events that transpired in the last book's climax. The edams are gone, their kas bound to Arrah now, who is no more a benik. But Rudjek is part Craven and hence, their existence repels and tries to cancel each other. No more kissing and holding hands. The poor boy has to wear gloves just to touch her. Meanwhile, Tamar and the Almighty Kingdom are in chaos. People are divided into magic followers and magic haters. Rudjek's power hungry dad, the Vizier, is as sly and calculating as before, if not more. Demons are out and about prowling the streets of Tamar, killing and possessing innocents. The tribes are gone and so is Heka. The rest of the pantheon aren't much help, especially Re'mec. If political schemes aren't upending Arrah and Rudjek's lives, magic and demons are. Meanwhile, the Demon King lurks beneath the surface, waiting for his Dimma, who we know from the ending of the last book, is Arrah's original birth. Now, personal opinions. I LOVE this book, albeit begrudgingly because it hurt me too badly. My broken heart is still battered, bruised, and bleeding. Characters reunite, only to be torn apart. As a villain stan/villain+monster fucker, I ship Arrah with Daho more than with Rudjek (sorry kid, nothing personal 😜😜). I loved every bit of interaction they had, including the POV chapters from Dimma tucked in between. For a moment at the middle of the book, I was thrown off this ship, but I roped back in lol. Although Daho is the Demon King, his love for Dimma/Arrah is so pure and genuine, it made me ship them extra hard. I know they won't be the end game but I'd like to picture that they are 😍😍. Anyway, this book comes out tomorrow, February 16th. Don't forget to pre-order (and bulk up some tissues jic). Thank you, NetGalley and HarperCollins UK, for providing me with an eARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Athena

    WOW!!!!!!!! 😍 😍 😍 😍 (I still don't know if my brain can form coherent sentences, but here it goes.) The publisher kindly offered me a reader copy via NetGalley. Yet, this is an honest review of the book expressing my own opinion. If I had to sum up this book in a phrase, it would be, Oh, Arrah. It's not easy being Arrah. Not when she doesn't have what she wants, and not when she has it, either. This girl has the burden of the world on her shoulders, and a huge crisis to solve--a crisis her family WOW!!!!!!!! 😍 😍 😍 😍 (I still don't know if my brain can form coherent sentences, but here it goes.) The publisher kindly offered me a reader copy via NetGalley. Yet, this is an honest review of the book expressing my own opinion. If I had to sum up this book in a phrase, it would be, Oh, Arrah. It's not easy being Arrah. Not when she doesn't have what she wants, and not when she has it, either. This girl has the burden of the world on her shoulders, and a huge crisis to solve--a crisis her family contributed to quite actively. I also haven't seen this many plot twists in a book. My jaw was dropping, and I was gasping every few pages. Rena Barron has created a masterful book, weaving plot threads like a Goddess of Writing, and thus creating one of the best sequels I've ever read. Most second books in a series aren't as good as the first book. But this one, oh this one delivered exquisite magical adventures with different casts of characters (depending on your POV) that had me in awe. The richest of world-buildings. We traveled a lot. We saw many different places, in many different ways, and I never felt confused or lost. The writing kept me in that place, and Arrah propelled us forward. A main character who you root for and empathize with. I love Arrah. She's my girl. I winced every time she hurt, and I wanted to hug her so many times. This is a multi-POV book, in case you're interested in this information. Arrah, Rudjek, and one more that I'll keep a secret. I'm not a fan of multi-POVs, but this one I loved. All three POVs are necessary to deliver this multi-layered story, and you'll end up liking them all, like I did. Having said that, in the first 40% of the book, there are some scenes that could have been cut. I personally enjoy this world so much that it didn't bother me, but I did find some scenes that could have been omitted. This series is spectacular. One of the best fantasy book series out there. Please, please, buy it and spread the word. Reaper of Souls is a showcase of masterful writing, plot-threading magic, deep character developments, and beauty all in all--even in the cruelest moments. 100+++ stars – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Author: Rena Barron Publisher: HarperCollins/HarperVoyager

  29. 4 out of 5

    S.J. Higbee

    I found that the first book quickly came to mind as I began reading this one, and Barron adroitly slides in useful reminders of previous events. However, I would strongly advise that you go hunting for Kingdom of Souls before reading this one. Far too much happens in that first book which directly impacts on events in this one for you to be able to get the most out of Reaper of Souls if you haven’t read it. Arrah continues to be a sympathetic protagonist as she now finds that trying to put togeth I found that the first book quickly came to mind as I began reading this one, and Barron adroitly slides in useful reminders of previous events. However, I would strongly advise that you go hunting for Kingdom of Souls before reading this one. Far too much happens in that first book which directly impacts on events in this one for you to be able to get the most out of Reaper of Souls if you haven’t read it. Arrah continues to be a sympathetic protagonist as she now finds that trying to put together the world after the havoc wreaked by her sister and mother is a daunting task. It’s always a challenge to portray a very powerful character as sufficiently vulnerable that we care and I was impressed that Barron managed to achieve this, without making her too angsty or much of a victim. The form of magic that is particularly prevalent involves inhabiting another person’s body – it’s deeply unpleasant and once again, Barron’s punchy prose reminded me of just what a revolting intrusion this is. No wonder there are swathes of the population who are convinced that all magic is innately evil. I really enjoyed the fact that Arrah found it difficult to use her magic benevolently. Given the number of enemies she is facing, it’s all too easy to rely on the powerful tribal magic that she is imbued with, to lash out and simply end them. The characterisation is the ongoing strength of this engrossing epic fantasy tale. Although I wasn’t particularly in the mood to be confronted with a largish tale featuring some really dark magic – nonetheless, I didn’t struggle at all. And that’s down to the quality of the worldbuilding, the strong characters and solidly good writing throughout. If you enjoy fantasy with an African setting, then this series comes highly recommended. While I obtained an arc of Reaper of Souls from the publishers via Netgalley, the opinions I have expressed are unbiased and my own. 8/10

  30. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    While Rena Barron’s debut novel, Kingdom of Souls, failed to blow me away, its sequel Reaper of Souls did just that. Gone are the repetitiveness of the writing as well as the one-dimensionality of the characters I found most distracting. In their place is an exciting world that brings something new to every page wherein the characters are deliciously grey in their morality. More importantly, Reaper of Souls helps fill in many of the missing puzzle pieces that made the first story more than a litt While Rena Barron’s debut novel, Kingdom of Souls, failed to blow me away, its sequel Reaper of Souls did just that. Gone are the repetitiveness of the writing as well as the one-dimensionality of the characters I found most distracting. In their place is an exciting world that brings something new to every page wherein the characters are deliciously grey in their morality. More importantly, Reaper of Souls helps fill in many of the missing puzzle pieces that made the first story more than a little confusing. Because the story involves an age-old clash between demons and gods, the analogy of the story as a gameboard is apt, and being able to see entire swaths of the gameboard not only helps in reader comprehension but also in entertainment as well. Plus, by taking the time to explain the conflict’s origins, Ms. Barron highlights the similarities between each party’s motives and behaviors. In so doing, she blurs the lines between the good guys and the bad ones, forcing you to reevaluate what you know about each character. It makes for compelling storytelling. Plus, I cannot stress how refreshing it is to read about characters who are not white and blonde-haired. I love that there is not one character with white skin within the entire text. I find the stories about the tribes fascinating and relish the chance to learn about a culture of color, no matter how rooted in fantasy it is. I read to learn, and Ms. Barron’s fantasy allows me to learn about life in someone else’s skin, whose culture is not Euro-centric and therefore all too familiar. With Reaper of Souls, Ms. Barron shows her writing chops. Not only does she flesh out her world and her characters, but she complicates the situation by making her two sides more alike than different. At this point, I have no idea how Arrah’s story is going to end, but I am more than a little excited to find out.

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