A Song of Wraiths and Ruin

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin

Book - 2020
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An instant New York Times bestseller!

The first in a gripping 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--from debut author Roseanne A. Brown. This New York Times bestseller is perfect for fans of Tomi Adeyemi, Renée Ahdieh, and Sabaa Tahir.

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 his younger sister, Nadia, as payment to enter 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 heart-pounding 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?

"Magic creates a centuries-long divide between peoples in this stunning debut novel inspired by North African and West African folklore. An action-packed tale of injustice, magic, and romance, this novel immerses readers in a thrilling world and narrative reminiscent of Children of Blood and Bone." (Publishers Weekly, "An Anti-Racist Children's and YA Reading List")

Don't miss the second book in this epic duology, A Psalm of Storms and Silence!

Publisher: New York, NY :, Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers,, [2020]
ISBN: 9780062891495
Branch Call Number: TEEN FIC Bro
Characteristics: 466 pages : map ; 22 cm


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As a debut, this one is absolutely fantastic. The way that Roseanne constructs this world and the characters within it is nuanced and interesting, and I was invested all the way through.

sjpl_rebekah Jan 25, 2021

Did Rebel of the Sands have a love child with The Selection and Children of Blood and Bone??! If so, I’m pretty sure it’s this book. But in all seriousness, this book contains bits and pieces of a number of YA books I have read, including another book I just reviewed: Witches Steeped in Gold. It wasn’t entirely original, but I really loved the way magic was incorporated into the story. I was far less enthused about the romance. It just felt…weak. I don’t really have any other way to describe it. The chemistry between Karina and Malik was extremely lackluster. In fact, for some reason I just found Malik’s character to be lackluster in general. We know he is faced with an impossible choice – kill the princess or let his sister die – but he kind of just accepts it lying down (though I do like what the author did at the end with his character). Karina, on the other hand, also has a difficult choice, but shows so much more strength of character, despite her reluctance to accept her future role as queen. Maybe the author will change my mind about this in the sequel, because the relationship between the two will undoubtedly play a key role in the trajectory of the story. I hope so because I like the world she has created and wish to see more of it.

This was a wild one and I absolutely loved it.

In the city of Ziran, the Alaharis are all-powerful. Princess Karina is set to inherit the throne from her mother, the Kestrel, though it's the last thing she wants; as the festival of Solstasia approaches, she wants nothing more than to disappear among her people and enjoy the celebration to its fullest. Malik, on the other hand, wants to escape from the poverty and hardship of his home in Eshran, and the festival provides the opportunity to enter the city using a false identity with his two sisters. Fate will intervene for both Karina and Malik, however, and bring them closer than either of them would like, as they fight for their homelands in two very different ways.

As a debut, this one is absolutely fantastic. The way that Roseanne constructs this world and the characters within it is nuanced and interesting, and I was invested all the way through.

Malik and Karina are both such different people, and in many ways, different from your typical YA fantasy characters. Karina can be brash, but she's got a fiery soul, and I appreciated her grit throughout. She doesn't question herself as much as some heroines, though she has her fair share of angst, and the way she stands up for herself and makes sometimes impetuous, spur-of-the-moment decisions left me wondering what she'd do all the way through the story. Malik and his anxiety, panic attacks, and general uneasiness was also very different for a male YA lead; he was very relatable, and ultimately extremely satisfying as a character. He is constantly battling demons, both literally and figuratively, and boy, did it tug at the ol' heart strings.

As I mentioned earlier, the world-building here is SO cool. I really loved learning about Ziran and the broader world of Sonande, and the politics at play, the subjugation of the Eshrans, the way that plays into every aspect of life for Malik, all of it is handled really well. I really felt for Karina because this city and the multiple people vying for control of it felt very...big, I suppose, and complicated.

And plot-wise, this one had everything I love about YA fantasy. Some good twists, a few plot points I didn't predict, and page-turning action. I absolutely love a book with a solid structure, and the three tasks of the Solstasia festival provided exactly what I was looking for. I was excited to see what the competitors were going to have to do next, and all the rest of the action made this one quite fast-paced, despite how character-driven it also feels.

I wanted to be surprised more than I was, and that's the only reason I leave off half a star. I predicted a certain character's deception, and I just wished I didn't. However, this is an absolutely wonderful debut, and I can't wait for the sequel.

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Sep 08, 2020

Lives up to the amazing cover. Seriously there were some plot points that I felt didn't quite fit...but the author pulled all those loose threads together at the end. If Prizzi's Honor and Children of Blood and Bone had a baby, this book is what would happen.


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Ziran belonged to the Alaharis. As long as there was breath in Karina's lungs, it always would.
Anyone who tried to take this city from her would soon discover that the Kestrel's daughter had talons of her own.

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