A Song of Wraiths and Ruin (2020)
Author – Roseanne A. Brown
Genre – YA Fantasy
Page Count – 480 pages
Rating – 5/5
Told from the perspective of Karina and Malik and inspired by West African Folklore, I can think of a lot of reasons why this should be your next fantasy read.
Karina and Malik, while drive by the same desire to prove themselves, could not be more different from each other. Karina is the Crown Princess of Ziran ruled by her mother, sultana Haissa Sarahel. She feels a distance with her mother ever since the untimely death of her father and her older sister, Hanane.
Malik is an Eshari, a group of people considered lowly and beneath every other clan in the realm of Ziran. Destitute and willing to change his life, he and his sisters, Leila and Nadia have changed identities to enter Ziran. But a cruel turn of events forces Malik to make a deal with a grim folk which puts him right in the middle of the Zirani festival of Solstasia and its Championship.
THINGS TO LOVE ABOUT THE BOOK
1. The storytelling
There is a part in the book where Malik tells a story and everyone is nearly in a state of trance while listening to him. And that’s what it felt like to read the book.
Each chapter weaves into the next one flawlessly. Once you pick up the book, it will be impossible to put down.
2. Whole lot of contrasts
The story is made up of many contrasts in the world building as well as the characters. There are two types of magic – Ulraji and Zawenji. While Malik is tasked with murdering Karina, she is completely occupied with resurrecting her mother.
While she falls into the role of sultana, she constantly feels the need to bring back her mother. Malik is torn between saving his sister and his blooming love for Karina.
3. Karina is the heroine we all need
Karina is a terrific character. She is young and reckless but when she needs to be mature and on her guard, she is. She is full of doubts and aware that people will try to take advantage of her perceived innocence.
She is strong, willful and self aware and you will fall in love with the character in just a few pages.
4. Karina and Malik
The romance between the two characters is realistic and you would love to ship them. There are no unbelievable events happening, no haters to lovers sort of thing.
5. Mental health positivity
This is probably the thing which stood out the most for me and made me instantly love the book. Malik, who often suffers from panic attacks and thinks of it as debilitating, comes to terms with it when he realizes that its not a weakness.
He uses it as a strength which saves a lot of lives.
6. Serious Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire vibes
If you loved the Triwizard tournament, you will love the Championship of Solstasia.
And you will love the champions as well.
7. Side characters
The side characters are really dynamic and important. Leila, Malik’s sister is intelligent and caring. Afua, a young girl of 11 is full of life and simply badass. I especially loved Tunde, another Champion.
8. Its a duology
After reading the book, you will be wanting more. I was sad when the book ended and I’m glad that there soon will be another installment to it.
SOME PROBLEMS WITH THE BOOK
None. It was perfect.