A Song of Wraiths and Ruin | Review // YA Fantasy as it should be!

Greetings readers!

You know that moment when you put a book on hold at the library the day after it releases and it predicts a 26 week wait? Yeah I know the feeling. Happened with this book. But then the book gods shined down on me and it ended only being about a 3 week wait! Which was just in time to do a buddy read this with Natalie @ TheFineArtofReading!

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin (A Song of Wraiths and Ruin, #1)
via Goodreads

Pub Date: June 2nd, 2020
Publisher: Baltzer & Bray

The first in an fantasy duology inspired by West African folklore in which a grieving crown princess and a desperate refugee find themselves on a collision course to murder each other despite their growing attraction.

For Malik, the Solstasia festival is a chance to escape his war-stricken home and start a new life with his sisters in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. But when a vengeful spirit abducts Malik’s younger sister, Nadia, as payment into the city, Malik strikes a fatal deal—kill Karina, Crown Princess of Ziran, for Nadia’s freedom.

But Karina has deadly aspirations of her own. Her mother, the Sultana, has been assassinated; her court threatens mutiny; and Solstasia looms like a knife over her neck. Grief-stricken, Karina decides to resurrect her mother through ancient magic . . . requiring the beating heart of a king. And she knows just how to obtain one: by offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia competition.

When Malik rigs his way into the contest, they are set on a course to destroy each other. But as attraction flares between them and ancient evils stir, will they be able to see their tasks to the death?

The Likes

Wow, I had a really fantastic time reading this novel. I remember reading the synopsis when I first added the book to my TBR and thinking YES this is for me. But since I am who I am, I never really reread it so I went into this a little blind and I came out with an illuminated mind!

First of all we have to talk about this epic world. Inspired by West African folklore, this book is steeped in myth and magic and lore. From the houses of gods to the griots to huge creatures that roamed the land, every single page was presented something interesting to note and discover! Brown did an amazing job of building this world and walking the reader through every new point of information. I especially loved that this story took place during a special festival that comes every few years and that it is centered around a magical competition, which always means lots of antics and fun! On top of this amazing crafted world is the deceptive world of politics that touches every character! The relationships between governments and nations is a tricky business, not so black and white as it might first appear to be. I don’t want to say too much because spoilers! but let’s just say things get real twisty and I was shooketh!

AND THESE CHARACTERS! We get to accompany two spectacular characters! First up is I-do-not-give-a-single-F Karina! She is fierce and trouble making and way too cool for you! She never wanted to rule, but when she’s thrust into the role she becomes the queen of finding loopholes because all my girl really wants is to get out! I really enjoyed Karina’s character! She was always shadowed by her sister and then she was always under so much pressure from her mother to step up and act up. Reading about her journey in dealing with all the grief and expectation was very compelling!

Then there is Malik, an absolute king. Being the definition of a cinnamon roll, you can’t help but adore this boy. He absolutely loves his family and will go to any length for them which is just such an admirable trait, but he is also very naive and it takes him a journey and a half to build up his courage (which considering the circumstances is very understandable!) But don’t let the shy-boy fool you he is also SLY af. You wouldn’t expect it but hmmmmmm he is not that innocent *in the words of Britney Spears*

The magic in this book is very interesting but very mysterious, which just brings out more high stakes and fun! There is a lot more to come in the sequel and I am super super excited for it!

If you love heart-racing stories then this book is definitely for you! The amount of twists and turns this book took, the betrayal that happens, the revelations that occur are jaw-dropping! I was seriously bug-eyed as I was reading this book! There were some points where I just couldn’t put it down. Let it be known that the stakes in this book are HIGH. There is so much to lose and death seems like a very big likelihood when you start reaching the end! There was never a dull moment to be had, it wasn’t always all action, but there was always something that was going on that kept me clinging to the book.

I also loved that this book had a large emphasis on the representation of mental health. Karina copes with reoccurring migraines and Malik is often overcome by panic attacks. They both endured trauma in their pasts that trigger these symptoms and it was very eye-opening to read about it in a fantasy novel. I liked how Brown embraced these experiences in the character’s arcs, there is one moment that was really special that I just– !!! –My heart burst when I read it! We don’t get mental health representation often in fantasy so I really enjoyed reading about it.

The questionable section really doesn’t exist for this book. I enjoyed every second of it!

Overall, this was an incredible YA debut! It was a suspenseful, twisty, magical tale full of heart and high-stakes! There is something for everyone in this book I think! And that ending is sure to leave every reader totally astounded! I for one cannot wait for book 2!

Rating: 5 / 5 Stars

Recommend: Absolutely yes!

Let me know what you think! Have you read this book yet? Are you looking forward to reading it! What are your favourite books that have themes in mental health? Bonus if they’re fantasy!

*Link to a master list of how you can help Black Lives Matter movements and other humanitarian movements across the globe*

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

12 thoughts on “A Song of Wraiths and Ruin | Review // YA Fantasy as it should be!

Add yours

  1. Great review! I’ve seen this shared everywhere so its good to read a review on it. I love a twisty plot so this is definitely on my tbr list

    Liked by 1 person

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