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A Song of Wraiths and Ruin

(A Song of Wraiths and Ruin #1)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  8,314 ratings  ·  2,204 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, 480 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 4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,314 ratings  ·  2,204 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 Speckels (Metaphors and Miscellanea)
Plot: sounds amazing
Cover: so pretty
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
♡ jules ♡
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.
Lala BooksandLala
Oct 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 but we're rounding up!
Me loving a YA high fantasy? 2020 is wild.
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!!
Mary S. R.
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
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
Jun 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, ya
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!
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
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!
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
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
Aug 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Update: ASOWAR TV show? ASOWAR TV show!!!!! The only thing to save 2020 is watching well-deserved authors of color getting their books optioned 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 Check out the announcement here

════ ⋆★⋆ ════

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 roman
April (Aprilius Maximus)
Aug 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, 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
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!
Vicky Again
Jul 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
!!!!! so much thought went into these characters & building them amidst all the action. i love malik so much he is my favorite disaster son. karina is stressed and trying her best but also not really. chaos ensues.
One of the best things about A Song of Wraiths and Ruin is how it makes its world come alive. It takes place during a festival that only happens once in decades, Solstasia, and it felt magical in a way I hadn't experienced in a long time.
Between the Patron Deities (who doesn't love a good faction-like system?), all the mythical creatures (talking hyenas? chipekwes? serpopards? yes), and the challenges we get to witness both inside the actual Solstasia competition and outside of it (...the wakama
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.

Whenever I hear romance and fantasy together I expect for some cringey moments. Luckily
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
rachel ☾
an instant favourite of the year,, just wow

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
Oct 12, 2020 marked it as to-read
My two brain cells: You need to get your life together, Sofia. This sounds like a book you would hate and then rant about. It's a Blank of Blank and Blank. There's a princess and forbidden love. Not to mention a "deadly competition" that will probably just be a cover-up for the instalove. This is not okay.

The rest of the empty space in my brain: oooo shiny green tbr button, me want to press
Jun 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks, fantasy
malik really said EYE will choose royal coochie over saving my sister from an evil spirit
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