A Song of Wraiths & Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown

Monday, July 13, 2020


by Roseanne A. Brown
Series: A Song of Wraiths & Ruin #1
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, YA
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: June 2nd 2020
Source: Bought
Star Quotient: ★★★★
Kiss Factor: ✷✷✷✷

Aww, man! A Song of Wraiths & Ruin was so enjoyable, I did not want it to end. I've had my eyes on this book mostly because that cover is impossible to look away from. When I found out that the two main characters were trying to kill each other, I just knew I had to pick it up ASAP. I mean, it was total romance-ship worthy material, so I had to! The book was everything that I could ask of a solid YA fantasy!

What made this book a winner in my eyes were the protagonists. Both Karina and Malik had engaging and sympathetic voices, making them easy to bond with. I liked that we got to see both of their sides in A Song of Wraiths & Ruin, allowing readers to get to know both of the characters fairly intimately. Karina's character, in particular, touched me. She was still grieving the loss of her sister and father when her mother, the Sultana, is assassinated right in front of her eyes. Suddenly, this flaky princess finds herself with all of her mother's responsibilities on her shoulders. Grief-stricken, she finds a magical book that shows her how to resurrect a dead mother. To complete the resurrection ceremony, she will need a King's beating heart. This is where the famed Solastia competition comes in and Karina decides to set the prize for the victor to be her hand in marriage. Karina's character development was a work of art. She started off in this book entirely unsure of herself, vulnerable, and not fully aware of her own worth. Her relationship with her mother was shaky at best, but there was deep love on both of their ends before the Sultana's demise. We see Karina fully blossom into a young woman who owns up to her responsibilities and faces every obstacle with pride and grace. Obviously, she was young and heartbroken, so she was prone to making mistakes along the way, but Karina was a character who learned from her mistakes. I loved Karina and her journey and I can't wait to see how it progresses in the sequel!

This review already seems like a love letter to Karina. That's not to say I didn't love Malik, because I did. Malik was soft, sweet, and so loyal - so 100% my kind of love interest. Malik and his sisters have just arrived in Ziran as refugees when his baby sister is abducted by an evil spirit who asks for Karina's assassination in return for his sister. He finds a way into the competition to win Karina's hand, but he struggles with what he has to do. I really enjoyed the parallels to Karina and Malik's characters and motivations. Both were highly goal-oriented people who cared deeply about their families. Like Karina, Malik goes through a journey of growth in A Song of Wraiths and Ruin. I was tense throughout most of the book because I was worried for both of their lives. A sweet friendship with a tinge of chemistry develops between the two that further complicates each of their goals. I don't know what it is about love interests trying to kill each other in fantasy romance, I am 100% a sucker for this kind of trope. It just adds so much more tension to a ship that I can't get enough of. The romance in A Song of Wraiths and Ruin is on the lighter side, but I was still very satisfied because they shared lots of great scenes together. I can tell that there's so much more tropey goodness to come in the sequel.

The setting in A Song of Wraiths and Ruin was also breathtaking. I don't believe I've read a lot of books set in Africa, despite being from Africa myself, so the West-African setting of this book was an exciting experience. What I liked best about the world-building in this book was how the author managed to make it simultaneously approachable yet rich and complex. The folklore, the culture, and just the atmosphere were striking and memorable. There's also an incredible magic system in this series that I can't wait to learn more of. The plot too, as I alluded to earlier, was very exciting and tense. I liked that even the villains in this book were so well-fleshed out that I sort of understood why they were being villainous. You know you're reading a good book when you find yourself also somewhat sympathizing with the villains/morally-grey characters! I was also impressed with how the author beautifully intertwined so many real-life themes such as racism/casteism and mental health illnesses. It made the book feel real despite the fictional setting.

The only thing I did not like about A Song of Wraiths and Ruin was the ending - specifically, that I do not have the sequel in my hands right this moment. The book ended on a tense note and I honestly can't wait to see how everything pans out!

Let's chat!
Have you read any YA fantasy books set in West-Africa? Are you interested in reading this book?
Let me know in the comments below!

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