Synopsis: 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.
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? (Goodreads)
Publication Date: June 2nd, 2020
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Trigger Warnings: anxiety and panic attacks, migraines
A Song of Wraiths and Ruin is a riveting fantasy inspired by West African folklore and has beautiful plot line with interesting characters. This was one of my most anticipated books this year and I was so excited to read it. This book was everything I had hoped for and more!
The story of this book follows Malik and Karina. Malik is a refugee who comes to the city of Ziran with his sisters for Solstasia, a festival. But due to the surprising turn of events, Malik’s younger sister Nadia is abducted by an evil spirit. The only way he can save his sister is if he kills Karina who is the crown princess of Ziran. On the other hand, Karina’s mother, the Sultana has just been assassinated and Karina wants to resurrect her mother but the process requires the beating heart of a king. So for the Solstasia festival, Karina decides to offer her hand in marriage to the winner. Malik rigs himself in the competition and thus starts the whole game filled with magic, betrayals, deceit and love.
The story was interesting, eerie and magical. It keeps you guessing and surprises the reader at the same time. I loved the plot, it was strong and filled with so many elements, and it was written so well.
The two main characters of the book were Malik and Karina. I love how fleshed out, well-written and complex both their characters were. Karina’s character was especially so layered and I really ended up loving her arc.
Malik was an Eshran refugee who comes to Ziran with his sisters for a better life. Malik is such a pure character and reading his love for his sisters and his family was heartwarming. He is a cinnamon roll and a silent fighter. He also gets panic attacks which is another aspect which is sensitively dealt with and well-written. But then as the story progresses, we get to know his other sides such as his persistence, his talents and the character blooms as the story moves forward. I loved how sweet Malik was and also quite different from the broody male protagonists we read in fantasy genre. It was super fun to read.
Karina was the Crown Princess of Ziran. While reading the first few chapters, Karina comes across an unlikable and privileged. But as we read more, her character unravels and she turns out to be so intriguing. I loved how well layered her character was. Karina gets migraines and this is also dealt well. Her loyalty, her love and her dedication was really well explored and fun to read about. I love such complex heroines and Karina ended up being my favourite.
I loved how there was rep panic attacks, anxiety and migraines and that too for the main characters. I loved how well the author explores this in both the characters and the way it is written.
The other characters are also really fleshed out and they’re all different and important to the story and I definitely loved them all in the roles they played.
Amazing World Building and Magic System
I cannot stress enough how much I adored the world building in this book. It was magical, eerie and suspenseful and keeps you enamored. The characters and the story along with the world building come together so well and it transports you in the city of Ziran with its descriptions and vibes. The culture, mythology and folklore was weaved well together and it is absolutely stunning.
The magic system in this book was so unique and beautiful. A lot of it was tied to spirits and gods and there were different temples for different gods. I don’t want to go in much detail due to spoilers so all I will say is that it was amazing and one of my favourite parts about the book.
The romance aspect of the book was the only thing which felt a little underwhelming to me. This is not necessarily a bad thing because I went in expecting a lot more. Since it was pitched as enemies to lovers I kind of expected more on that part. Though the slowburn element in definitely there, I felt like it wasn’t enough and I would have loved to read a bit more. I am sure it’ll be more explored in the second book which I am super excited to read especially after that ending!!
The book also focuses on the themes of refugees situations and migrations and fighting for what you believe in and also unlearning the wrong things you have been taught and changing your perspective. It was very well handled by the author.
Overall, A Song of Wraiths and Ruin is a gorgeous fantasy with amazing characters, intriguing plot, glorious world building and a good plot. It is everything a fantasy lover would love and I would definitely highly recommend this book to all.
I thank the author and the publisher for providing me with an E-Arc through Edelweiss. All opinions are my own.
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