✨ A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown | Book Review ✨
Roseanne A. Brown is the author of last year's bestselling A Song of Wraiths and Ruin and this year's upcoming (and highly anticipated) sequel, A Psalm of Storms and Silence. Although A Song of Wraiths and Ruin (otherwise known as ASOWAR) came out literally a year ago, I just managed to read it and y'all.
I should have read this a year ago! This book is everything. It is layers upon layers of a complex, deeply-thought-out plot combined with dynamic characters, a slow-burn romance, thrilling action, and a truly unique magic system that I can't wait to read more about in the second installment.
A brief overview of the plot: Malik is a refugee trying to enter a prosperous city, Ziran, during Solstasia, a weeklong festival that only comes around every 50 years and heralds a whole new era. Karina is the princess of Ziran, who has just lost her mother and whom everyone thinks is nothing but a spoiled brat (spoiler: I would die, or maybe kill, for Karina).
Malik has to participate in the Solstasia competition in order to (wait for it...) kill Karina. Karina offers her hand in marriage to the winner of the competition in order to (wait for it...) kill the resulting king and use his beating heart to resurrect her mother.
Yeah. The two are set on a collision course and I spent half the book screeching to myself You're not each other's enemies just work together please I beg!!! But of course Brown, masterful storyteller that she is, knew better than I what her book and characters needed :)
I loved so many things about this book. Malik has anxiety, and the representation of that was spot-on and I loved it for so many reasons: mental health representation is so important, but also we rarely see boys getting to be soft and hurting and overcoming the social stigma of that. Karina is not an "unlikeable" heroine per se, because as I mentioned I adored her from jump, but she is unlikeable to her citizenry. She's had a tough life, okay? And she's coping as best she can as a teenager, which is to say, not very well at all. RELATABLE.
Both characters have wonderful arcs over the course of the book, ending up far stronger and more perfect than they began.
I mentioned the plot is complex. There's so much thought that it's obvious Brown put into everything from the most minute details of her world to the biggest overarching themes of the book. I loved how in-depth the story went in the myths, legends, and lore of the world. I felt like I was walking the desert streets myself, that's how immersive Brown's storytelling is, how real her creation is.
And the way she brought us on the journey was masterful. I was just the right amount of confused throughout the novel -- you know, when you don't know what's happening or going to come next so you're a little off-kilter, but you're given enough guidance that it's comfortable and you know your storyteller knows how to get you to a satisfying conclusion? Yeah, that's how it felt to read this book.
There's one scene that I just loved so much. I don't want to give too many details, but it involves underground cities and running from ancient creatures and maybe just maybe falling in love with someone you absolutely should not love because if you do you'll have to destroy them (and yourself in the process).
This book is just...chefs-kiss.jpg.
After finishing [this book], I am highly stressed for where book two will go - but equally excited. I love this story, I love this world, I love these characters, and will follow them wherever Brown sees fit to lead them. - Karis Rogerson's Goodreads review
If this review hasn't convinced you to pick up the book already, then I'm doing something wrong. Stop reading and pick it up now!