Review: Reaper of Souls by Rena Barron

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.

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