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West African Folklore Fantasy: A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown

A fantasy by a Black author, with Black characters, with West African folklore, and a plot for the princess and a refugee to murder each other. COUNT. ME. IN!

by Roseanne A. Brown
Series: A Song of Wraiths and Ruin #1

Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Publication Date: 
June 2nd 2020 by Balzer + Bray
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

Rating: ★★★★½
Goodreads | Amazon
The first in an immersive 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. 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 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 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?
At the very beginning, I was kind of wondering where everything would go in the story and how it would come to fruition. But then, the world building sucks you in! It's very developed, not confusing at all, and intriguing from the start! There's lots of intrigue and suspense to keep you on your toes, which I loved!

Each patron deity ruled over a single day of the week, and when a child was born, the midwife would carve the emblem of one of the seven gods into their left palm so every person could know their Alignment.

This fantasy surprised me because it portrays Mental Health, one that's so close to my life, so I was able to relate in that aspect with Malik. I loved that while the MH is talked about, it's not the forefront of Malik's character. It also ends up being such a strength! I loved the twist the author did on this.

"This is my mind. I am the strongest person here."

While this has romance, it's not FULLY the focus. There's also a focus on the family. Malik and his sisters have such a bond that they'd do ANYTHING for each other! 😭 Right from the start, we get Malik and his sisters. Slowly, we start getting introduced to them and their story. And when something happens, it shows to what length these siblings would go to protect one another.

Speaking of romance, boy was I feeling the chemistry! It definitely kept me wanting more! It was really good, even with the added fact that they want to kill each other without the other knowing. 😍 We mostly get just the tip of the ice berg of the romance, but I adored what I got, and I'm so looking forward to see how it all plays out in the sequel!

Anyone who tried to take this city from her would soon discover that the Kestrel's daughter had talons of her own.

THE FOLKLORE! I learned so much and again, not confusing at all! It got me so intrigued to learn more about it. It gives you enough to want to search more for yourself. The West African folklore played a massive part of the entire story, to the point it almost felt like another character. Sometimes a folklore gets pushed back in the story, but Roseanne did a brilliant job in incorporating it from the beginning to the end!

This story portrays some form of racism and it totally resonates with what's happening right now in our world. I won't say more so I don't spoil, but I highly suggest you check it out for yourself!

He was the kind of person who could be arrested at any time for any reason, who could do everything the soldiers told him to do and still leave encounter harmed.

THE TWISTS! This book is full of unexpected twists and turns! So much so, that the reader forgets this book is long! I had no idea it was 480 pages! Everything flowed so well with enough intrigue to make you want to keep reading!

Overall, A Song of Wraiths and Ruin is freaking fantastic and great read to kick off June. I'm so looking forward for more books by Roseanne A. Brown!

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