A Song of Wraiths and Ruin was one of my anticipated releases for 2020, and it lived up to every expectation that I had.
Title: A Song of Wraiths and Ruin
Author: Roseanne A. Brown
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Audience: Young Adult
Taken from Goodreads
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?
A Song of Wraiths and Ruin starts slow; but, it quickly picks up the pace with a gripping plot that continues to develop into something that I never expected. As you move further into the story, you can see how the development in the early pages lay the groundwork for some very thrilling plot twists at the end. Through the story, you are transported into Ziran and all the wondrous sights inside the city gates. Roseanne A. Brown’s writing leaves nothing to the imagination as she describes every detail of the Solstasia festival that the story is set around, which makes you want to join in on the festivities yourself.
When it comes to the characters, I have very mixed opinions about them. While I liked Malik, I felt that something was missing with Karina. Karina was our strong, independent princess who was never meant to rule, but after the death of her father and sister, she is forced into her current situation. She is still grieving their loss and is very against her succession to the crown. While I liked her pov’s, I didn’t feel that there was anything that I hadn’t seen before in other fantasies. However, the ending did leave the opportunity for her development to continue and improve in the second part of the duology.
I enjoyed reading from Malik’s pov because he had the most growth, and I connected to him. You could feel the love that he has for his sister’s and the lengths that he would go to be able to see them both safe.
Something that I did like about both characters is that they are morally grey. They are both faced with the prospect that murder is the only way they can get out of the situations they have got themselves into, and they are both willing to go through with it no matter the consequences.
A Song of Wraiths and Ruin is the first fantasy that I have read where one of the main characters has anxiety. Malik regularly experiences panic attacks, and this is not shied away from. His anxiety is a part of his character arc and the journey that he has as the book progresses. It doesn’t detract from the decisions that he is forced to make and is just part of who he is, which is something that I appreciated.
A Song of Wraiths and Ruin is a enemies to lovers romance, and while I can see the romance, I didn’t believe in it. It felt very insta-love as they don’t have very many direct scenes with each other where a real relationship could develop. There was almost an instant connection between them, and while Karina was Malik’s enemy from the beginning, Malik was not Karina’s. I am hoping in the sequel there will be more romance, as I was looking forward to an enemies-to-lovers romance.
One other thing that I will mention is that Roseanne A. Brown has also included a list of trigger warnings at the start of the book. This made it really easy to know what the possible triggering content could be before stumbling across it. It is something that I wish more authors would do.
I would highly recommend A Song of Wraiths and Ruin, especially as it is a debut novel. It had almost everything that I was looking for, and I can’t wait for the sequel, especially after the plot twists of the last 100 pages.
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