15 December, 2020

[Review] A Song of Wrath and Ruins by Roseanne A. Brown

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Cover image from the goodreads website.

Series or Stand Alone: A Song of Wrath and Ruins #1
Release Date: 2 June, 2020
Publisher: HarperAudio (an imprint of HarperCollins)
Genre: African Fantasy/Fantasy/Young Adult/Young Adult Romance
Edition: Audiobook (available in eBook, and hardback)
Rating: ★★
Review Written: 6 August, 2020
Warnings: Death, Violence, Sexual Exploits, Magic
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?

See more by Roseanne A Brown at her website.
The start of another lovely duology I recommend, A Song of Wraiths and Ruins bring light to African folk lore with a new spin. Told in a dual voice of Karina and Malik, readers will be enticed into a world of fantasy and magic.

Karina, the younger princess of Ziran's Sultana, was never meant to take the throne. She was supposed to be the spare, married for political advantage at best, but never in charge. Instead, after an accident when she was eight, Karina is the only survivor to her family's legacy besides her mother. The relationship between the two has never been the same since that day either, though since she's repressed the memories of that night Karina doesn't understand why.

Malik is the middle child of a farmer and a weaver. Unfortunately, his parents marriage was troubled and his father left when he was young. Now, he's trying to redeem himself and help bring his mother and grandmother from a refugee camp for his people to the city of Ziran. Unfortunately for Malik, things go awry for Malik when a vengeful spirit takes his sister and makes him a deal he can't afford to lose - kill Karina and retrieve his sister.

The book twists and turns with its intertwined story, which was an interesting change from other books I'd read recently. Malik poses as Adir, the Soul Champion for the Solstasia Festival (a festival that takes place every 50 years to renew the magical barrier around Ziran) in an attempt to get closer to the Princess. Meanwhile Karina is plotting on how to revive her mother before the end of Solstasia. She has to marry so that she can cut out the heart of a King (since any of her suitors will become the King Consort for her). In a race between the two desires, they both find themselves drawn to each other, and even falling through the cracks into some of the darkest history of Ziran.

I honestly cannot wait for the second part of this duology to see what happens to both Malik and Karina. Karina is left outcast, her sister has been resurrected, and Karina's powers have been unlocked from the trauma that had locked them down. Now it's up to her and her friends to rescue the kingdom, while Malik attempts to help from within (having tied the vengeful spirit to his own soul).

The sequel, A Psalm of Storms and Silence, is expected to release sometime next year, and I can't wait to see what happens next.

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