A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A Brown
Publication Date: June 2nd 2020
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?
I listened to the audiobook through scribd and if you want two months click HERE! I get a month free if you use the link, so that would be cool!
As I normally do with audiobooks, I have to talk about the EXCELLENT narration for this book. Like… WOW. There were two absolutely phenomenal narrators that changed voices for different characters and it was just so engaging and fun and intense in all the right places! I DEFINITELY recommend trying out the audiobook if you’re looking for a good one!
I’m going to start by saying that I really loved that there were trigger warnings in the beginning of the book. There was anxiety and depression rep that I really appreciated. And the other trigger warnings were death, violence, self harm, and animal death.
The world building and magic system in this book was so interesting! I especially loved that there was a whole astrology categorization based on the day of the week you’re born! (And you can see what you are HERE–I’m Moon Aligned!)
On top of that, the two characters were just absolutely ICONIC? Soft boi Malik who would do anything to save his sisters after getting them into the mess in the first place? a true Queen Karina that would do anything to save her mom? Literal ICONS.
As I said before, It was so interesting to see Malik cope with his anxiety and panic attacks while Karina wrestled with guilt and depression in the form of migraines. I think it’s so good that there was this rep that you don’t normally see in fantasy books and I definitely appreciate it.
I loved the whole mystery behind magic. There were so many different layers to the whole plot and it was just absolutely amazing! The Solstasia competition is so intriguing and totally spun the trials and competition trope in a unique and magical way!
One thing that kind of took me out of the story was that I actually do know someone named Farid so that was kind of funny, but that’s besides the point! It definitely made things interesting throughout the story, that’s for sure!
I really enjoyed speculating what would happen and how everything would come together. AND THE LAST LIKE 10 CHAPTERS?! OH MY GOODNESS. I COULDN’T STOP. I PHYSICALLY GASPED AND ALSO YELLED “NO!” A FEW TIMES. It was absolutely brilliant!
I am DEFINITELY looking forward to more books in the series and I’m definitely going to be getting all of Roseanne Brown’s future books!
If you like amazing world building and magic, enemies to lovers, murder and political intrigue, mental illness rep, and deadly competitions, you’ll love this book! Read this if you want some really iconic one-liner moments (and that one Jasmine moment), magical illusions with storytellings, creepy wraiths and monsters, a new kind of mythology, deadly scavenger hunts and mazes, pretending to be someone you’re not, secret passageways in the palace, music, and lots of twists and turns!