This past week, after growing antsy and looking for something new to do, I found out the Orange Public Library was only a mile away from me. It was an easy decision to take a short jaunt there and get myself a library card. Quickly free to mill about the shelves, I soon found my eye caught by a powerful cover. Before the day was out, this book was open in my lap and the world shut out. Knowing how quickly I was gripped by the storytelling of this novel, I would be remiss if I didn’t recommend to you A Song of Wraiths and Ruin. Written by the exquisite author Roseanne A. Brown and inspired by West African folklore, this book is the first half of an epic duology I can’t wait to finish.
In a world where magic lurks just under the surface and haunts the two main characters, the arrival of a rare festival called Solstasia calls to the surface Malik and Princess Karina’s competing desires. Malik, a young man fleeing to Ziran with his sisters for a new chance at life, needs this festival to fulfill a deal with a powerful spirit and save his youngest sister from doom. Princess Karina, an unwilling princess determined to live a life undefined by her royalty, must use the few days offered by Solstasia to refortify the traditions kept by the sultanas before her. As their paths slowly begin to cross, it becomes clear that their ambitions won’t remain separate for long.
The alternating points of view bring a fullness to this fantasy tale and allow you to indulge in growing affections for both Malik and Karina. It brings life to the story to hear both of their voices and witness the culture and unique society of Ziran. On top of crafting a lush, lively, and detailed fantasy world, Brown addresses real-world and difficult issues, proving her writing prowess. I truly recommend letting her take you through this complex and high stakes adventure to find out if Malik or Karina get what they truly want.
Thankfully, Roseanne A. Brown followed up this harrowing tale with a sequel, A Psalm of Storms and Silence, that is available everywhere. Go show this talented author and her New York Times bestselling work some love! It is definitely worth a trip to your local library.