A SONG OF WRAITHS A RUIN by ROSEANNE A. BROWN
A REVIEW by ALEXA DUNCAN
One of my most anticipated releases of the year, A Song of Wraiths and Ruin, was published to much fanfare back in the beginning of June. I was so excited to get my hands on a copy
of the book that I bought my own (we also have a copy here at the library) and got to reading as soon as I finished the other book I’d been in the middle of. This dual-POV fantasy novel is based on West African mythology and folklore, starring a refugee named Malik and a princess named Karina. Their stories intersect in Ziran, the capital city of Sonande. Karina is the princess of Sonande’s kingdom (queendom, really), while Malik magics himself into being the Champion for Ziran’s Solstasia, a week-long festival in which champions from every “alignment” of Ziran is chosen to compete in a series of challenges for a big prize.
Malik, however, needs to be in the Solastasia’s games for a reason: His little sister, Nadia, has been kidnapped by a trickster god, and the only way to save her is by killing Karina. And so, he sets out to kill Karina while Karina has her own murder to contend with: The murder of her mother, queen of Sonande. Karina wants to bring her mother back and the only way to do this is through a deal with a god. She kills a champion of Solstasia, her mother comes back to life. Simple, right?
If this all sounds a bit confusing to you, it’s because it is. I personally loved A Song of Wraiths and Ruin’s worldbuilding and found the intricacies to be fascinating. The “alignments” system, the system of sorting people into “houses” according to the elements such as water, fire, life, and more, reminded me a lot of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Which is not a bad thing, of course. ATLA is one of my favorite shows of all time. Aside from the extremely intricate world, A Song of Wraiths and Ruin excels at character relationships. I was immediately endeared to Malik and his relationships with his sisters, Leila and Nadia. The three of them clearly love one another and their banter is hilarious to read. I also just loved Malik in general. He has anxiety and often suffers from panic attacks—something you don’t often see with male characters not just in YA fiction, but fiction in general. I liked Karina, too. She’s funny and headstrong and a little dramatic. This drama always makes her fun to read about.
I really enjoyed my time with A Song of Wraiths and Ruin. The worldbuilding is fun and fresh, the setting and characters so transportive you can feel carried away as you read. If there’s anything we need right now, it’s a little escapist fiction, and that’s exactly what ASOWAR is. Pick up a copy of the book at the Oreana library today!