Book Review: A Song Of Wraiths And Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown

Book: A Song Of Wraiths And Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown

Published June 2020 by Balzer + Bray|480 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: A Song Of Wraiths And Ruin #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

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?

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.

I liked A Song Of Wraiths And Ruin!  It took me a while to get through it, and I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would, but I’m still glad I read it.

I liked that Malik cared so much about his sisters.  They are really important to him, and he just wants things to be better for both his family and himself.  I’m not sure how I feel about Karina but I felt for her.  I can understand why she’d want to resurrect her mother- she just didn’t feel ready to step into her mother’s shoes.  It couldn’t have been easy, having to be the heir after the death of her sister, and the unexpected death of her mother.

Things are not what they seem, and Karina learns a lot about what’s really go on, and what’s holding her country together.  Things go very, very wrong, of course, and things are going to change pretty drastically.  But I think they’ll get there.  It makes you wonder what’s going to happen next, with everything that happened in this book.  There were some twists and turns along the way, and those things make me curious about what Karina is really up against, and how it’s going to work out.

There are a lot of different connections in this book- I didn’t see all of them right away, but looking back, they did make sense, and it was something that made me sad for Karina.  It really affected and changed things for her, and to find out who did it and why…it had to have been a shock to be betrayed like that.  I’m kind of wondering what I’d pick up on if I did a re-read of this book but maybe before the next book comes out, I’ll do a re-read.

This was another book I struggled to get through, and this was a book where I found myself reading a few chapters at a time.  I had a really hard time focusing on this book.  It is what it is, and that’s just how it worked out, because I did want to like this book more.  Still, the world is interesting, and like I said before, you can’t help but wonder what’s going to happen next.

Something about it made me think of Children Of Blood And Bone- I’m not sure what it is, but I think, if you really liked that book, you’ll like this one.  They do go pretty well together!  I don’t know if it’s the setting or the magic, or what, but it’s a pretty good read-alike for that book.

3 stars.  I liked A Song Of Wraiths And Ruin, but I struggled to get through it.  Still, I liked the world and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Book Review: Children Of Blood And Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Book: Children Of Blood And Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Published March 2018 by Henry Holt Books For Young Readers|525 pages

Where I Got It: I own it…in print!

Series: Legacy Of Orisha #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut, perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Sabaa Tahir.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. 

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good. 

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.

If you read one book this year, please, please, please let it be this one.

Before reading Children Of Blood And Bones, my answer would have been American Panda or The Belles.  That changed, and while my answer could change (there’s a lot of reading left to do), I hope it hope it doesn’t.

Children Of Blood And Bone is absolutely amazing.  I was pretty excited about it, but I was more excited when I saw the book launch would at Mysterious Galaxy.  And after hearing the conversation between Adeyemi and Marie Lu about this book, I was even more excited.

It’s such an intense book, and even though it’s a fantasy set in West Africa, Zelie’s world felt so familiar to me.  There are a lot of parallels to our world, and the entire time I was reading it, I couldn’t help but think about oppression and genocide and injustice.

Zelie is amazing, and I really felt her heartbreak and sorrow at losing so many people.  Her heartbreak was real, and for some reason, it really made me miss my grandma, more than I already do.  Of course, the loss of my grandma, and the loss of her mom are very different.  Losing people the way the Zelie lost people…it’s not something that I have to think about or worry about, and I know I said this a couple of sentences ago, but you feel it the entire book.

The world…there are no words that are good enough to describe how amazing this world is.  The further I read, the more amazing Zelie’s world became.  There were no info-dumps, I could picture everything very clearly, and everything was explained so well.  This is not going to be one of those series where I never get the information I so desperately need and want.  The world building felt very natural and not at all forced, and everything we learn builds on what we already know.  It is so well-paced and there’s a lot of action, of course, but the book never drags or feels slow.

We follow three different characters in this book, and normally that’s something that is hit or miss for me- with a strong emphasis on the miss.  But it worked really well.  We follow, Zelie, of course, in her amazing-ness.  And while Amari seems naive, especially at first, she really proved me wrong by the end of the book.  I love the friendship that she and Zelie develop.  These are two people who I assumed would not be great friends, and yet, they have this really strong friendship by the end of the book.  And we also follow Inan, who definitely struggles between what he has to be and what he has to do, and also with who he really is.  Which I can relate to, and I feel like others can relate to as well.  But in comparison to Zelie, and even Amari, he kind of took a backseat.

Don’t get me wrong, his chapters are very important, since he is on…the opposing side…for a lack of better phrasing.  Even one of the three characters not narrating would take away from the story and the world.  There’s a really good balance between the characters, and I feel like you see so many different perspectives in this book.

The magic was really unique, and I loved that there were so many different kinds of magic.  I can’t wait to see more of the magic in the next book, and it’s going to be a long wait to see what happens next, especially with how the book ended.

I feel there are no words that are good enough to describe how much I loved this book.  I know it’s long and there’s a lot of hype, but it is absolutely worth it, and please don’t let that keep you from reading Children Of Blood And Bone.

5 stars.  This was a heartbreaking but truly magic fantasy that is completely deserving of all of the hype. If you pick up one book this year, this is the one to read.