Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron

kingdom of souls cover

The basics

Title: Kingdom of Souls


Series: Kingdom of Souls #1

- Kingdom of Souls (2019)
- Untitled (2020)

Add it: Goodreads

Goodreads Summary:

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.

Read a full summary of Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron below. If you can’t remember what happened in Kingdom of Souls and you need a refresher, then you’re in the right place.

what happened in Kingdom of Souls?

  • Arrah, our main character, was born into a family of witch doctors. Arrah is strange, though, because she has no magic. This makes no sense, and it’s upsetting for her. She can see magic, but not connect with it.
  • Desperate to gain some magic of her own, Arrah once visited a charlatan in the desert.
  • There’s a gathering, and Arrah’s grandmother (the chieftain), holds a ritual with the other witch doctors. Arrah sees Heka’s magic, but nothing happens.
  • Arrah goes to visit her grandmother again, who throw some bones on the ground. They fall into the same position as they always do, except something interesting happens this time – Arrah’s grandmother becomes angry, and demands to know who Arrah really is. She tells the green eyed serpent to leave. The green eyed serpent is a symbol of demon magic. Oh dear.
  • Arrah and her father return to Tamar. There’s a council held, and it’s revealed that children have been going missing in the city. Arti, Arrah’s mother, admits that she can use her magic to seek out this person, but can only glimpse at them from a distance.
  • Arrah speaks with her friend, Rudjek, who is to take over from his father, the Vizier.
  • Arrah helps her father collect herbs and talks to him about how vicious her mother is towards the Vizier. They do seem to hate each other.
  • Arrah goes to the Temple, which houses the Hall of Orishas. The orishas supposedly destroyed all the demons, except if this demon magic is real, they must have missed something.
  • Rudjek tells Arrah that the Familiars have been roaming around since the first child disappeared. This must mean something.
  • Another child – the sixth – is taken.
  • Arrah’s father tells her he’s going to the Aloo Valley – craven territory – to seek out a beast.
  • Kofi, one of the children that Arrah knows, goes missing.
  • A charlatan offers to open up magic to Arrah. Sounds creepy, but okay.
  • Arrah tries to find the child snatcher using her new magic. She spots a hooded figure (and Rudjek at the orphanage but that’s okay), and follows them. It’s her mother, Arti.
  • Arti figures out that Arrah is following her. She says she made a deal and had to take the kids. Arti binds Arrah to her soul using a symbol, which means Arrah cannot act against her mother.
  • It turns out that Arti was abused when she was younger, and this is partly why she’s acting this way. She struggles to tell right from wrong. Arrah gets upset because Rudjek knew about this the whole time, because his father was involved.
  • Arrah returns home and finds her father sat at the table. He has also been bewitched by Arti, and cannot betray her. Arrah, however, is able to give a charm a go to try to break Arti’s magic. She shouldn’t be able to even attempt it. It doesn’t work.
  • Rudjek figures something is wrong with Arrah but he doesn’t know what, and Arrah can’t tell him.
  • Rudjek tries to tell Arrah how he feels, but his father interrupts.
  • Arti leads Arrah to an altar. She has arranged the missing children in a single line, and then traps their souls in jars.
  • Arti says that the Demon King answered her prayers when she needed help. And so, she gives the souls to the Demon King.
  • Shezmu, a demon, possesses Arrah’s father. Arti wants Shezmu to give her a daughter. It’s a bit of a weird kink.
  • Arti says she plans on setting the Demon King free.
  • The Temple caves in, and Arti blames it on the people for angering the orishas.
  • Arrah meets an orisha called Koré. Koré has been keeping the Demon King imprisoned. Arrah asks her for advice on how to kill Arti. Koré says the orisha are unable to get to Arti while she’s protected by demon magi.
  • Arrah poisons her mother’s wine (another thing she should be unable to do), but Arti realises.
  • The Vizier finds out that Arti was behind the kidnappings, although he obviously doesn’t know the full extent of her plan. He banishes her, along with her whole family, from the Kingdom. Rudjek promises to find Arrah.
  • Arti admits that the orisha have never spoken to her. She also tells Arrah that Rudjek will die in the Dark Forest, and he’s there “because he is not who he thinks he is”.
  • Arrah and her parents (and their servants) reach Kefu, a strange city with strange magic. Time seems to work differently there.
  • Koré helps Arrah get rid of her curse. Arrah asks her to tell her grandmother that she needs help, except her grandmother apparently already knows.
  • Koré tells Arrah to delay her mother while the edam come up with a plan.
  • Arti’s unborn child is growing at alarming rates.
  • Arrah tells Terra, one of the servants, to run.
  • Arrah dreams about Rudjek, and then Arti gives birth to Efia. Arrah plans to kill her sister.
  • Efia grows quickly, and tells Arrah that she can see into other people’s minds, but not hers. Arti tells Efia to hurry up and find the Demon King’s soul.
  • Efia saves Arrah from demons, which is sweet, but then she enslaves a bunch of children and makes them play with her. She then goes off hunting. When she returns she says that she killed an orisha.
  • Arrah speaks to previous members of her grandmother’s family.
  • Efia and Arrah fight, and Arti protects Arrah.
  • Arrah escapes while Efia is away. Demons try to stop her, but Koré fights them off. Efia returns and snaps Efia’s neck. She then kills the witch doctors, but they manage to hide some sort of secret, and they bind their souls to Arrah’s.
  • Arrah returns to the city and meets up with her friends again. Apparently Rudjek has gone off to the North with another girl,except Majka says that Rudjek went looking for Arrah. Arrah figures that he’s gone to the Dark Forest.
  • The city is abandoned now. There’s a new heir, Narmer, who answers to a god called Efia.
  • Arrah uses magic to find Rudjek. She sees him injured in the Dark Forest.
  • There are ten orishas left now. Efia is busy killing them instead of finding Arrah.
  • Barasa tells Arrah that she can use the Demon King’s dagger to stop Efia. This dagger will kill her, though, even with her demon magic.
  • Rudjek appears as the group is heading into the tribal lands. Rudjek says he healed himself without the help of Re’Mec/Tam.
  • Arrah leaves her tent that she shares with Rudjek, and gets trapped in a maze. She eventually finds her way back, only to find Efia in bed with Rudjek. Rudjek looks appalled, and Arrah is angry.
  • There’s a fight between the group and the shotani. They leave Arrah alone. Rudjeck is injured but he heals himself. Cravens arrive, and it’s revealed that Rudjek is part craven himself.
  • The orisha tell the story of the Demon King, and how he wasn’t always so bad. Their sister found him dying by a lake, and taught him to consume souls to extend his life. This ended up changing his sweet nature, and started eating souls left right and centre.
  • Rudjek admits that his anti-magic along with Arrah’s magic will never work together.
  • They reach Heka’s Temple, and the Demon King speaks to Arrah. He tells her that she is the orisha who saved him by the lake.
  • Arti and the demons arrive and there’s a final boss fight. Arti tries to fix her mistakes, but Efia kills her.
  • Efia traps Arrah in the collapsed temple. There’s a small fight and Arrah stabs Efia with the Demon King’s blade.
  • It’s revealed that the Demon King’s (whose name is Dayo) people built skyscrapers and planes and made medicine. So this is actually set in the future? Unclear.
  • Arrah remembers that she is indeed the unnamed orisha from the stories. She found a way to pass souls on to others. Dayo kept becoming stronger and stronger. Fram, Arrah’s sibling, killed her, and Dayo kind of lost it. He started eating tonnes of souls and became more and more powerful. He planned to use demons to kill the orisha siblings for killing Arrah.
  • They burn Efia’s body.
  • Arrah and co. need to set off to a) find the Demon King’s dagger again (it was stolen by a demon during the fight), and b) kill all the things, and c) stop the Demon King.
  • The Demon King plans on finding Fram and making them tell him how to break the spell that hides Arrah’s memories.
  • The book ends with the Demon King talking about how his wife (Arrah/Dimma) doesn’t remember their son. WHAT.

This is a full plot summary of what happened in Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron. Check out our recap list for more recaps. If you can’t find what you need, you can request a recap from us!

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