Before, Arrah was shamed by having no magic at all. Now, with demons on warpath, she is the only one in the world who has it.
Explosive fantasy set in a West-African world of magic and legend. Perfect for fans of Tomi Adeyemi, Laini Taylor and Sarah J Maas.
Book Two in the extraordinary Kingdom of Souls Trilogy
After years yearning for the gift of magic, Arrah has what she’s always wanted – but it came at too steep a price. Now the last witchdoctor, she’s left to pick up the pieces of a family that betrayed her, a kingdom plunged into chaos, and a love that can never be.
While Arrah returns to the tribal lands to search for survivors, Rudjek hunts down the remnants of the demon army – and uncovers a plot that would destroy what’s left of the world.
The Demon King wants Arrah. If he can’t be stopped, he will destroy everything, and everyone, standing in his way.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 49 members
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.
As Reaper of Souls reveals, no one is completely good or bad in this story. Not the Orisha, not the royalty, and not even our heroes. Everyone has their own secrets, and it's only a matter of time when they come to light. This book flips back and forth between Arrah and the Unnamed Orisha's stories, expanding the scope of the world as Barron dives deeper to the Kingdom's history, the demons' origins, and the utter havoc that still haunts the Orisha to the present day. I thought the climactic reveal in Kingdom of Souls would be the most shocking reveal in the series, but Reaper of Souls does not hesitate to strip down the grandeur from history and expose the ugliest, messiest bare bones lying beneath it. Not even this, though, can be trusted as Barron shows that there are always another perspective of things — some of which would later serve as a complete game-changer in the narrative.
Barron's lush and atmospheric writing makes for a truly immersive adventure where magic permeates all things. The vibrant traditions and rituals of Arrah's ancestral magic come to life a captivating mirage; while the dark magic and its dangers are truly felt as a sense of creeping, chilling horror where the worst can happen at any moment (which as Reaper of Souls demonstrates, it often does).
Barron's cast is no slouch either. Each and every relationship, actions, and choices made by every character take on a new, deeper meaning with each page. Barron made the right choice in having her narration flipping back and forth throughout the Kingdom's history, as each turn of events at one point come to provide context and/or affect another. Even the bittersweet romance—and the messy dynamics surrounding Arrah, the Unnamed Orisha, Daho the Demon King, and Rudjek—blossoms into a tangled web of complex, yet deeply meaningful relationship between all four parties involved. Reading Reaper of Souls was akin to watching a meticulously-arranged domino pieces fall down — a thrilling rush of excitement as the characters grow, interact, and drive their relationships in new ways while finding their way through the chaos.
Arrah's dark characterization, in particular, continues to impress me in this book. She finds herself struggling to juggle handling the war she had found herself embroiled into, the legacy of those who paid the price for her survival, and the destructive revelation of her true identity. Barron has made it clear in her first book that Arrah is a flawed heroine (with a lot of baggage heaped on her) who will make some dark choices in times of desperation, and Reaper of Souls sees this arc spiral further down a darker path as Arrah is thrown to even more desperate times where she does indeed have to make some harder calls.
Reaper of Souls is a profound book exploring passion, hard decisions, and heavy consequences that come with every single choice transcending ancestral lines. It is a much more intimate, emotional, and character-driven book that tells its dark plot exceptionally well with generous helpings of insane plot twists and high-octane suspense. This roaring, explosive 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.
My many thanks to HarperVoyager UK and the author for the Advance Reader’s Copy of Reaper of Souls in exchange for an honest review!
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
I was invited to read Reaper of Souls, having read (and very much enjoyed Kingdom of Souls last year) and I was so happy!
My first read of the year, this sequel picked up mere weeks from the end of book 1 (and wasn't that an ending) and I was quickly pulled back into the rich and vibrant lands that Rena Barron has created.
Aarah is struggling with her guilt after the events of the battle at Heka's Temple, and the loss of the tribes, she misses Rudjek (who is dealing with his own elevation in status and restrictions, thanks to his Dad, along with his newly discovered heritage and the gifts and the constraints that come with it) and the demon king keeps sliding into her thoughts!
Added to this, the demons are still a threat, the Acting Almighty One (Rudjeks father) wants to dismantle the temple and ban magic.
This novel is fast paced, full of twists and turns and depending on your feeling towards certain characters will potentially leave you a little bit broken by then end (I am not ok and I need book 3 immediately in the hope that it will leave me less broken!)
As is often the case, this book is really hard to say a whole lot about without giving too much away (and I am not one for spoilers) but 2 books in, it's already in my favourite trilogies list and I highly recommend reading them!
Thank you to HarperTeen for sending me this ARC! And, before we start of, the same disclaimer which applied to my Kingdom of Souls review applies here: I´m not an own voices reviewer for this book. A black book blogger could say so much more about it.
Reaper of Souls starts off almost immediately after the end of the first book. The great battle is won, for now the demon King and Arrah´s sister have been beaten back, and it´s time to deal with the aftermath. And that´s something the book does really well I think, focusing on what’s left, what´s going to happen after everything you know and loved has been destroyed.
Arrah won and saved the world, but she lost her family and all of the tribes in the process. Her world has been shaken and destroyed and she has to slowly find her way back into the new one. We see how the Kingdom is changing now (and not entirely in the best way), we see Arrah and her friends struggle with the trauma and loss they faced, and in Rudjek´s case also with the new heritage he has and the new title he bears after his father declares himself the new ruler.
Living is messy, emotion and healing are complicated and Arrah´s journey into the tribe lands, to find if there truly are no survivors left, is also a journey for her to find back to herself. If some survivors are left the survivor’s guilt she herself feels as the last witchdoctor, can be lessened.
But if all of that wouldn´t be complicated enough, the demon king is far from done. His demons are a constant threat, and over the course of the book it becomes clear he might not be as locked up as it seems. At this point I have to take a short aside, because I´m kinda proud of myself for catching the twist the moment it was set up. And that´s all I´m going to say for that, no spoilers.
Finding the tribes becomes intertwined with a race against the demon kings gathering armies and his growing plans, and at the same time, Dimma, the forgotten Orisha, is starting to tell her own tale, bringing more and more truths to the light. Arrah´s connection to her and their often clashing goals and loves add another layer of conflict for Arrah.
Kingdom of Souls was an amazing dark fantasy, full of nuance and great characters and deep twists. Reaper steps up the game even more, letting the characters grow and change and shedding light on some, like Daho, the demon king and Dimma. The question of good versus evil isn´t quite as easy and simple as it seems and yet some hard choices are still clear.
I loved seeing how the characters deal with what happen, how they grow and change. Sometimes bad choices are made, sometimes good ones, but the characters remain complicated and human and I just adore Arrah. Her ability to pick herself up again and again is remarkably, and after a while I just wanted to wrap her in a blanket and give her chance to rest. Because somehow, things just keep getting worse for her. She´s able to keep up, to keep fighting, and her love for her friends and family, even her sister, as complicated as that relationship is, is still strong. But she deserves a break.
If the first book deals heavily with the circle of abuse, this one focusses on how to move away from it, to try and break it. We are not there yet, this is the second book in a trilogy, which means we are left with an extremely evil cliffhanger and possible the end of the whole universe ahead (as it should be of second books in trilogies), but Arrah is now growing more and more aware of the role she plays and ready to take her fate and that of her world into her own hands.
I can´t wait for the Finale!
An amazing follow up to Kingdom of Souls! It had all the adventure and mystery and magic of KoS and so much more...
Arrah is back home, but not for long a clue sends her on a journey, with her two best friends, looking for any survivors of the Tribes. It's a gruelling trek, but along the way Arrah discovers things that changes everything.
I loved this one as much as I loved the first one. I don't know what else to say without giving all the things away! It's nonstop action, what else do you expect when you have warring gods and demons?! I cannot wait for the last book!