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A Song of Wraiths and Ruin

(A Song of Wraiths and Ruin #1)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  15,666 ratings  ·  3,634 reviews
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 o
Hardcover, 466 pages
Published June 2nd 2020 by Balzer + Bray
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Cimone Watson It's a little early to judge whether the book is cliche. And some black girls want to read swoony romances about black girls! I get what you're saying…moreIt's a little early to judge whether the book is cliche. And some black girls want to read swoony romances about black girls! I get what you're saying, really, but you really don't know how these tropes are going to be handled until you read it, and unless they're tropes that are problematic in themselves, I don't see reason to be so skeptical right off the bat. Besides, this has to do with West African folklore, which is becoming more prominent in YA, but we really didn't see it a lot for most of the 2010s. There was, and still is, lots of European-based fantasy. Some people don't get that black people want to geek out over stuff sometimes. Yes, social issues affect us, but that isn't our whole lives. Some of us are nerds and like speculative fiction and are happy to see people who look like us getting the full swoony-YA treatment. (Obviously, you can read books about and by black people if you aren't black, too.)(less)
Lindsay (novelandink) The ending is pretty open, but I wouldn't call it a cliffhanger. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series, but I'm not cursing the author for lea…moreThe ending is pretty open, but I wouldn't call it a cliffhanger. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series, but I'm not cursing the author for leaving things unanswered!(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  15,666 ratings  ·  3,634 reviews

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Start your review of A Song of Wraiths and Ruin (A Song of Wraiths and Ruin, #1)
Jun 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 - such a strong debut! This has everything I love in YA fantasy AND THEN SOME
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest

DNF @ p.130

I originally wasn't going to rate this book, since it was a debut and I didn't particularly care for the writing style, but people keep coming onto this review and leaving me rude comments saying that apparently you aren't allowed to write (non-rated) reviews for books you haven't read... so while I wait for my copy to renew again from the library, and since I did read almost a quarter of it, I will post my (rated) review with
Kathryn S (Metaphors and Miscellanea)
3.5/5 stars, rounded up because I really appreciated the mental illness rep. We don't get enough of that in fantasy books these days.

I'll clean up this review later, but here's a summary of my thoughts:

- The incorporation of African mythology was great, and I loved the Hyena stories. I hope we get to hear more of those.
- Love me a good musician, and Karina's performance skills were a fun addition.
- As I mentioned, the mental illness rep was great. Malik's panic attacks and Karina's migraines an
Lala BooksandLala
Oct 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
4.5 but we're rounding up!
Me loving a YA high fantasy? 2020 is wild.
Oct 04, 2020 rated it liked it
I really appreciate Brown's thought and care into the worldbuilding and the way she infuses West African mythology and culture into the story. There’s a lot of love written for Brown’s culture and it’s infused in everything from the folklore to all the delicious food that gets described. She also makes sure to highlight internal issues that the protagonists face like anxiety and panic attacks, and it’s especially important to see that softness and vulnerability in a male lead. I was most impress ...more
Sep 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
from a cultural standpoint, this book is fantastic. the diversity and representation (especially the anxiety rep!) is what gives this story its power. theres so much magic and heart and imagery. it reminded me very much of ‘children of blood and bone.’

and although im not as obsessed with the plot (full of YA clichés) and characters (karina is soooo annoying) as everyone else seems to be, i still found this to be a pretty good story. i thought malik was a high point - his humble nature is quite
giulia ♡❁ུ۪
Thank you Edelweiss and Balzer + Bray for the ARC.

in case you need some good news right now, the author describes this book as: black princess who doesn't give a fuck, black boy who gives so many fucks, slow burn enemies to lovers romance with PINING, so much backstabbing.

it's literally a west african jasmine and aladdin au but they need to kill each other despite obvious attraction.


Jananie (thisstoryaintover)
UGH SO GOOD. I NEED BOOK TWO NOWWW. loved both our main characters as the book alternates perspectives between Malik (our soft boy) and Karina (our determined fierce girl). this fantasy world is so rich with magic and history and truly comes alive on the page. BUT DAMN THE PLOT TWISTS, i need to know what happens next. this is the beginning of something epic, i can feel it.
Jun 04, 2020 marked it as to-read
I got a headache just by reading the description. It sounds too complicated for my mental capacity.
Jan 09, 2021 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

tw: death of family members; anxiety/panic attacks; hallucinations; self harm; possession

This was an intriguing start to a fantasy duology featuring a world and magic inspired by West African folklore. The world is lush and interesting, with a lot to build on. Creatures, celebrations, dieties, spirits, different kinds of magic.. this has it all!

I enjoyed both of our main characters seperately, but less so when their paths crossed. Karina is an angry, stubborn character without feeling
Ashley Nuckles
SO FREAKING GOOD!! I absolutely loved every second of this story. Between the rich worldbuilding to the dual perspectives of Malik and Karina (who both I was SO MAD AT sometimes but could always bring myself to love again), this story was brilliant! Can’t wait for book two!!
Maryam Rz.
RTC (Spotify book playlist)


I'm proud of how different communities are supporting #BlackLivesMatter in the current climate.


Thanks to Cath, I've found out Fairyloot has a limited exclusive edition of this book, all of the profits for which go to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, which supports the Black College Community and thousands of Black college students.

It's hardcover and comes with green sprayed edges and a signed book plate. For more info, go HERE.
myo (myonna reads)
i honestly don’t know how to feel, i don’t want to rate this book until i get my thoughts straight because i really was forcing myself to read this book and i feel like it would be unfair to the author. i really loved malik as a character, he was so soft and the rep for his anxiety was amazing but i didn’t really care for karina, i found myself dreading her characters because i feel like her character and her characters drive wasn’t conveyed well. i wasn’t convinced with the romance because sis ...more
I have so many conflicting feelings about this book. I mean sooooo many. But I think I'm going to go with giving this one a 3.75 and hope that I can explain why my feelings are all over the place .

So A Song of Wraiths and Ruin is a debut YA fantasy and the premise for this book is extremely interesting. Both main characters are seeking to help their families in ways that will put them into situations where they would ultimately kill each other. Of course this doesn't end up working out the way
Jun 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, fantasy
Enjoyable and unique but all in all rather mediocre.

The constant telling instead of showing, lack of interesting character motives and instalove made me feel disconnected from this story. A shame, because the world is unique and i feel this had a lot of potential. I did have an overall good time reading this, though (especially loved all the lore and storytelling aspects).

I go a bit more in depth in my video review!
Honestly one of the best fantasies I’ve read in a while. Lush, elaborate worldbuilding, genuine emotional stakes, beautiful imagery, engaging writing, and best of all, the story COMMITTED to itself. The grief, the familial relationships, the depiction of anxiety as an actual debilitating illness - this book showed up and actually delivered on its promises. Not only that, but it treats its villains with compassion and does not rest on the trite cliché of “good vs evil”.

A unique, compelling, exci
Tricia Levenseller
Feb 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: high-fantasy
This book gets five stars alone for Malik’s character. If you’re looking for more anxiety rep in high fantasy, definitely pick this one up!
“Now that he was seeing Karina up close, mistaking her for a servant felt like having mistaken the sun for a candle.”

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (more like 4,7)

❗❗No spoilers, here. You're all good.❗❗


I dug up some weird, scattered notes I had of my thoughts on this book to re-write this review. And it was all for you guys. Because you're a fabulous bunch of cuties.

The story was very well written. Roseanne Brown has done an excellent job with it. The West African Folklore she based it on was absolu
Noura Khalid (theperksofbeingnoura)
And I’ve found another favorite book! When I first read the synopsis I knew this was a book that I needed in my life. I’m happy that I actually took my time with it because the world building was something to behold. It was so much more complex than I thought. Every minute was riddled with stories and folklore and it was all just so magnificent that I couldn’t really put the book down (had to force myself to most of the time). It wasn’t in an info dumping way but everything was told when it need ...more
Zoe (Marauders version)


So I like this book and hate it at the same time because the author SOMEHOW puts in quality’s that I love and HATE. So that’s fun for me.

Karina stands on the fine line between a badass and a bitch. She is SO WHINY. PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER!! At times she was such a badass like when she beat the champion but then SHE THREW THE GODDAMN BOOK INTO
Aug 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
CWs: grief, parental death, murder, violence, self-harm, panic attacks, anxiety, alcohol use

Rep: West African inspired world + mythology, all-Black cast, MC with major anxiety and panic attacks

Fully-realized complex characters with dual points of view, rich world-building, gripping plot and a romance to root for - I wish this was the kind of YA fantasy I'd read in my teens.

So let's break it down.

Complex characters

"You are not strong in body, no. No one will ever sing songs about you
rachel ☾
#1) A Psalm of Storms and Silence ★★★★★

An instant favourite of the year, just wow.

Trigger warnings for (view spoiler)
Zoe Stewart (Zoe's All Booked)

I need a minute to collect myself after finishing this. It's the first YA fantasy I've read in a loonng while that didn't have a romance that took over the entire plot. There was a hint of a romance, and I cannot WAIT to see how it plays out in light of the last few chapters.

My body is so ready for the next book!
Jul 23, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Boy okay, big unpopular opinion here- this was fine.

TLDR Tropes-

- "Hunger Games" trials
- Multi POV
- Sweet boy, tough girl
- Demons and magical oaths
- Court drama
- Rags to riches
- Own voices fantasy

At it's best, ASOWAR was exciting, dramatic, and fills you with a sense of Disney wonder. At it's worst, it's slow and boring. The pacing structure is incredibly strange- sometimes picking up and moving with grace and speed- and other times, dragging and focusing on details that didn't feel like they w
Jun 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, audiobooks
malik really said EYE will choose royal coochie over saving my sister from an evil spirit
Ms. Woc Reader
May 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Once this book hit it's stride it was a wild rush. I didn't want to put this story down and miss a moment.

This book was pitched as "What if Jasmine and Aladdin tried to kill each other?"

So I was already prepared for action and intrigue which this story delivers.

Katrina needs a king's heart to perform a ritual to revive her slain mother and Malik needs to kill Karina to free his sister from a powerful being.

YA fantasy mixing romance into it can sometimes be really cringey in the execution. Luc
Nadhira Satria
DNF 60% because I can't take it anymore and I don't care enough and nor do I have the will to continue
I'm so beyond disappointed. This was one of my most anticipated reads of the year. The summary made it sound so interesting but I can't say the same for the execution.
It started really slow and boring. There was a LOT of info dumps and the worldbuilding was super confusing with so many names thrown around. It was just all over the place. I also didn't like the writing, I'm not saying that the w
Lucie V.
Jul 22, 2020 rated it liked it
✅ Folklore
✅ Gorgeous cover
🆗 World-building
🆗 Characters
🆗 Magic system
🆗 Plot and pace
🆗 Info-dumps
🆗❌ Romance / kind of insta-love

2.5 stars

I am disappointed. This book was not bad, but it was nothing exceptional either.

Malik and his 2 sisters are fleeing their dangerous homeland and are hoping to find a job in the capital city, but when Malik's younger sister is captured by a magical being, their plan changes. The only way Malik can have his sister back is to kill princess Karina. On the other sid
its 1 am
haven't done this in a while
it's great to be frickin up my sleep schedule again.
review to come when I'm coherent

edit: it's been 6 months
I'm kinda coherent now
malik deserves rights
he is mentally ill and hot
which is a mood
Karina is hot AS FUCK
extra points for dark skin characters
this is straight and I cared
I'm shocked as well
lol why did I say 'frickin' shut the fuck up bitch
not me acting like I don't swear multiple tim
April (Aprilius Maximus)
Aug 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: anxiety
“Do not underestimate the strength it takes to be kind in a world as cruel as ours.”

representation: all Black cast (own voices West African inspired fantasy), anxiety and panic attacks.

[trigger warnings are listed at the bottom of this review and may contain spoilers]


I really enjoyed this! I did guess who the baddie was pretty early on though and I think I was expecting more based on the huge amount of hype surrounding this book, but it was a really solid read and I can't wait for the se
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A Song of Wraiths and Ruin (2 books)
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A really good young adult book series can solve multiple problems at once. Quality YA fiction enriches the mind, surely, and sometimes even the...
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“Do not underestimate the strength it takes to be kind in a world as cruel as ours.” 55 likes
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