8 Rated BooksREAPER OF SOULS by Rena Barron

REAPER OF SOULS by Rena Barron

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The last witch of the tribal lands struggles with the history she has been told all her life, and the truth in this brilliant sequel novel. The kingdom of souls.

title: Shortness of souls
author: Rene in the closet
genre: Fantasy, yeah
Publisher: Harper Tin
Date published: February 18, 2021
hard cover: 448 pages

After so many years of longing for the magic gift, Lara has the only thing she has always wanted – at a terrible price. Now, the last surviving witch doctor, she is left to collect the shattered fragments of a family that has betrayed her, a kingdom that is in a state and long-buried secrets of who she is.

Desperate not to repeat her mother’s mistakes, USA must return to the tribal lands to seek help from the remnants of her parents’ people. But the shadow of the Demon King is getting closer than she thinks. And as Ara struggles to decipher her connection to him, defeating him begins to seem increasingly impossible – if it’s something she can bring herself to do at all.

Taking place in an imaginatively rich world inspired by tingling stories in the spine about voodoo and folk magic, Kingdom of Souls was acclaimed as a “masterpiece” by the School Library Journal in a star-studded review. This explosive epic sequel will lead readers to the conclusion not to be missed.

Standalone or series: Book 2 in the Kingdom of Souls series

How I got this book: acquired

format: hard cover

Warning: This review contains unavoidable spoilers for Book 1, The kingdom of souls.

Review

After years of no magic at all, Arrah is now the most powerful and last witch doctor in the almighty kingdom. Thousands were massacred by demons, thanks to the sister of Ara Apia, leaving Ara among the last survivors of the tribal lands. But even though she sealed Apia’s soul, Ara knows the danger has not passed. The King of Demons is still desperate to be released from his prison and begins to bleed in USA’s mind, insisting that they are connected and Sara is in fact Dima – the anonymous Orisha, who has betrayed her brother Dahu’s lover, the demon. king.

While USA is trying to drive the Demon King crazy, she is also struggling in her other relationships – as the most powerful magic wanderer in the almighty kingdom, she is the natural heir to her mother’s role as high priestess. (Not that Shara wants to be a part of this business.) Forced to navigate the weight of expectations from the church, things get even more complicated due to the fact that Rodjack’s father, Vizier Soran Omri, took over the kingdom and declared Rodjack the heir apparent. Arrah and Rudjek’s relationship is already in tension thanks to the discovery of their legacy – Rudjek, a descendant of and now Craven himself, is immune to magic and created to kill those who use magic; USA, a powerful ancient god, whose magic rises dangerously whenever she and Rodjack are close. When Rodjack’s father makes an active connection to discredit the USA and maybe even harm her, the star-crossed affair is in a pretty difficult situation.

Fortunately, America’s preoccupation with the politics of the almighty kingdom is easily distracted when it reveals an explanation that suggests that some people from the tribal lands have managed to escape the purge of baking. Desperate to find and rescue these survivors, USA and her trusted friends, a surveyor, a squirrel, and an unlikely companion to the former Crown Prince Turek, head out into the hills. Of course, saving her people is not as easy as it sounds – there are still powerful demons released as a legacy of Apia’s short life, ruled and guided by the will of the Demon King. There are also human enemies sent by Rodjack’s father to kill Arra and erase the threat she and her men pose to him. And all the while, there is a growing understanding that Shara is not only awake – she is also imaginary. And Dima no longer sleeps.

The second novel in Rene Baron’s Wonderful Kingdom of Souls series, Shortness of souls Releases a whole new loot of dangerous complications, powerful mythology and the highest stakes for the young heroes Arrah and Rudjek. Wow, how much I loved it.

Easily, the best thing about this series is its powerful and complex mythology. It is a multi-world, multi-generational story that presents gods who are both petty and powerful, and whose decisions have cataclysmic consequences. In this second novel, we learn more about Dima and Faded – how they met, how they fell in love, and the choices that will shape so many deaths and losses in the centuries after their choices. We also learn more about the other Orisha, and how they too are bound to their powers and choices. I especially liked getting to know more about Fram (Orisha of Life and Death), although learning more about Re’Mec and Koré was also pretty neat. Mostly, I appreciate Rene Baron’s sense of scope – it’s a complex story, with characters who have had eras to make connections and decisions that keep coming together and colliding and crashing.

Speaking of complicated, I would miss if I did not mention some of the romantic entanglements in this particular novel. When I’m done The kingdom of soulsI was expecting a triangle between Arrah, Rudjek and Daho. I did not expect some other actors to appear (reviewer, for example), although I can appreciate the nuances – the feelings are not always clear and the attraction is not always simple. especially Not when you’re a teenager channeling ancient gods and their centuries of pampering choices.

Which brings me to the other reason Shortness of souls Employee: Awake. The US choices in this book (and in the first book, to be honest) are very flawed, but with all of it feel very True. Sponsored by finding the kidnapper in Book 1, Ara chooses to swap years of her life for magic – and justifies the choice for herself through her first-person narrative that she does it to find her girlfriend, no matter the fact she has always longed for magic all her life and this is the most important point of friction . In Book 2, the US election is justified because it does things just to save its members, to save its people, to save Rodjack from death – regardless of the consequences of that election, over and over again. To Ara’s credit, she’s struggling with her new strength and at some point knows she’s crossed a line, reminiscent of her sister and mother’s use of their power … and yet, despite all this, USA continues to make the same decisions. If one takes Arrah’s choices beyond the place of a boy who has been given immense power, Dima and Dahu’s choices (heck, even Apia’s and Artie’s) all make awful sense.

For all the reasons I love these books, there are some thankful downsides. This second novel now combines the narrative in Rodjack’s first person, which felt like a deviation from the narrative style of the first book and a bit of sophistication. Yes, we know that both Arrah and Rudjek are on fire, and his side story / plot was actually dull compared to Arrah’s. (However, I liked the addition of Dima’s point of view and memories to the narrative – I wish we could have seen more of Orisha’s other vantage points, as we did in book 1.) There are many plot twists, most of which are well executed, though there are some fakes that felt unnecessary and not developed. Similarly, I’m not entirely sure the overall plot progress made much sense – there are gates to other worlds that seemingly can be crossed at random, so why are they so important / impossible? – but because the characters, overall. Myths, and huge revelations at the end are so good, in my humble opinion one can ignore the holes in this plot.

I really liked this book, and I can not wait to find out what happens next. (Especially because of these huge repercussions and revelations in the last two episodes!)

Rating: 8 – Absolutely brilliant.

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