Reviews

Kingdom of Souls Review

Overall Enjoyment: 3.5/5

Characterization: 3/5

World building: 4/5

Diversity: 3/5

Goodreads Summary:

Magic has a price—if you’re willing to pay.

Born into a family of powerful witchdoctors, Arrah yearns for magic of her own. But each year she fails to call forth her ancestral powers, while her ambitious mother watches with growing disapproval.

There’s only one thing Arrah hasn’t tried, a deadly last resort: trading years of her own life for scraps of magic. Until the Kingdom’s children begin to disappear, and Arrah is desperate to find the culprit.

She uncovers something worse. The long-imprisoned Demon King is stirring. And if he rises, his hunger for souls will bring the world to its knees… unless Arrah pays the price for the magic to stop him.”

Kingdom of Souls was a rollercoaster for me. I fell in love with the beginning of this book. The world building was great with wonderful descriptions that really painted a picture for me. The whole being upset because all her family had magic and a lot of it made sense. However, about halfway through the book just stalls.  The descriptions get boring and it just get so drawn out and most of what was compelling about the story disappears. I almost gave up on it, but I pushed through and the last 40-50 pages made it worth reading til the end. I’m even curious about the second book.

I’m in love with the world building. The author did an excellent job of describing the different tribe as well as the city life. The magic and religion are described fairly well. The author also did an excellent job of creating some morally gray characters especially surrounding the mother. It was nice for the world to show that rarely are all people all good or all bad.

Characters. I would say this is where the book struggles the most. Alyna is alright. I found her interesting at the beginning, but then kinda lose interest. She has a complex relationship with her mom, but I don’t ever feel like enough is done with it for it to feel compelling or as interesting as I was hoping for. She has a loving relationship with her dad which I enjoyed, but then that disappeared too. All the other side characters got so little attention they really felt more like plot devices than full, breathing people. I would say this is more of a plot driven story vs a character driven story.

Plot. Normally talk about plot in relation to all the other categories, but I felt like it might be needing its own section. This in my opinion is a plot driven story. There’s lots of interesting stuff happening in the beginning and end of this book that definitely made me want to keep reading. What you really need to worry about in this story is the middle. As I mentioned, it just completely stalls in my opinion. Alyna and family go to a more remote location so there’s no one else to interact with and it’s basically 100 pages of inability for anyone to do anything. It was a part of the book where there was no hope and that made me feel really uninterested in the story. It gets better though so I encourage you to push through if you enjoyed the beginning of the book.

The diversity is okay. We’re set in a fantasy Africa setting so obviously all our characters are people of color. We have a woman of color as our lead which is excellent. There’s so mentioned of lgbtq+ characters, but its so vague and fleeting that its almost not worth mentioning. We have some characters who have definitely experienced trauma and have some PTSD, but again it feels so vague I’m not sure if you’d truly count it as representation.

Overall, it was an alright book. I tend to prefer character driven stories which is really what kept me from truly enjoying this story as much as I was hoping to. However, if you prefer a novel that really focuses on the development of the plot rather than focusing on characters, I think you could really enjoy this book.

Friday Feature

Friday Feature- Marlon James

Marlon James, photo taken from Wall Street Journal

Marlon James is a Jamacian-born author who works in both Minnesota and New York as a professor. In New York, he works as an adjunct lecturer at St. Francis College. In Minnesota, James is associate professor in the English department. He has published four novels so far. Two novels have received multiple awards.

What’s so great about him?

He is taking a different perspective to writing a book series than I’ve seen before. Marlon’s most recently published novel Black Leopard, Red Wolf is the beginning of a series. This series is going to be telling the same story, but with each book being from a different perspective. He says it is then up to you to decide which character you choose to believe. There may be other book series that do this, but I haven’t heard of them and I’m very excited to see where this story and this changing of perspective goes.


His Published Books

John Crow’s Devil

The Book of Night Women

A Brief History of Seven Killings

Black Leopard, Red Wolf


Most information came largely from this wikipedia post. All source information on this post was checked and proven accurate, but in order to not write a large list I direct you to a single post.

Authors, Friday Feature

Friday Feature: Tomi Adeyemi

Picture taken from Instagram with permission of the author.

Tomi Adeyemi, what a lady! She is 25 year old Nigerian American who graduated from Harvard with a degree in English literature. Before writing a bestselling novel Tomi studied West African mythology and culture. Tomi Adeyemi’s first published book was Children of Blood and Bone. She is currently working on the sequel, Children of Virtue and Vengeance, which should be released June 4th of this year.

What’s So Great About Her?

Tomi Adeyemi is a woman on a mission.


I was determined to write an incredible YA story, with adventure and imagination like nothing people had ever experienced. And my protagonist was going to black.
And you know what? It wouldn’t matter.
Because when you have a good story, it doesn’t matter who the story is about. 

Or more specifically,


So that is why I write. The dream is the same, but the purpose is different. It isn’t fame or success; it is a burning passion to tell a story about someone who is different and to force readers to fall in love with what is different from them.


To give you a little bit more background on those statements, Adeyemi was greatly affected by the internet backlash about Rue being cast as a young black girl in the movie version of The Hunger Games . She was particularly upset when people stated they were less affected by Rue’s death specifically because she was black. Now, even I remember hearing about the Rue controversy and being upset that people could be so outraged simply because the casted actress was black. But, Adeyemi didn’t just get upset. She took that hurt and used it to craft a best-selling novel. She wrote to give representation to girls who may not have felt like they had it before. You can’t get motivation better than that. She is everything I want in an author and you should definitely check her out. She even offers free writing advice and courses on her website! You can check it out here.

The quotes came specifically from this blog post. All other information came from Toni Adeyemi’s personal website.