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?
Trigger Warnings: Alcohol abuse, Mild self-harm thought, Fantasy violence, Emotional abuse, Physical abuse, Anxiety and panic attacks, Parent death, Child death, Animal death.
“I think anything is worth protecting the people you love.”
Not a lot of books, especially debuts can leave such a memorable impression on me. It depends really on my journey with the story and receiving this book during the time my sister was hospitalized helped a lot. A Song of Wraiths and Ruin is a fabulous new Duology , the second installment coming shortly in 2021, and Roseanne A. Brown written such a fresh new story that I hope nobody will sleep on it. It has everything you’d want in a YA Fantasy, intriguing world, politics, rich and thoughtful magic system, a tournament, feelings to hurt us, great cast of characters and representation of black and biracial leads , gods and African mythology.
“He would have taken death a thousand times over if it meant his sister could live.”
Karina and Malik are such polar opposites of one another that they mirror each other like the moon and the sun. Karina is dealing with the reminder that everyone would had prefer she was the one who died in that fire instead of her sister, the better sister and her father while Malik is seeing and hearing things and naivety will probably be the death of everyone around him. Both are incapable of facing their problem in the beginning of the novel, Karina abuses her sorrow through exposing herself to danger and alcohol consumption and Malik hafta make a deal with a dark spirit to reclaim back his sister but has to kill someone in cold blood and that’s far behind his capabilities. I just love those two kids, Karina mourning and embracing finally her destiny as a princess and realizing that she might not be the right one for the job of protecting her country but god dammit she will do her best regardless of what everyone assumes of her reputation and Malik entering this world that would rather see him gone rise high and fulfill his promise at all costs even if it burns everything.
“Do not underestimate the strength it takes to be kind in a world as cruel as ours.”
Roseanne decides to approach this story and sure it is a fantasy story but it is much more then that. In my opinion it deals with dynamics and complexity of family, the repercussions of loss and what it means to those that are left behind, mental health representations with both our leads, Malik with his anxiety and panic attacks and Karina never ceasing chronic episodes that has barley any solution and growth as a person. This author is not kind to our protagonists or anybody but she isn’t cruel either, she wants them to mature through their own means, to teach them and us that no matter how impossible the path ahead of us is we can succeed if we just try. I love her for writing this beautiful story. I can’t wait for A Psalm of Storms and Silence because I don’t know how she’s going to end this ballad. If my review convinced you even a little bit, give it a try, purchase a copy or loan it from the library, it is worth it!
Is it Diverse? Black and biracial leads, West African mythology, Mental Health representations.