Author: Roseanne A. Brown
Series: A Song of Wraiths and Ruin
Series #: 1
Genre: fantasy
Age Group: young adult
ARC?: no

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? 


It has taken me a hot minute to compose a review for this book. Not because it was bad, but because of the opposite. It was so good that I was having trouble forming words for the delightfulness of this book. Fantasy is one of my favorite genres. I truly enjoy getting lost in a world that is different from our own. Brown brings so many good things to the fantasy genre, and to me, this book is an amazing debut. I was transported to the amazing world that Brown has created and I didn’t want to leave!

The Writing
What can I say other than screaming “I LOVE IT” from the rooftops. When asked to talk about why I like her writing so much, there is no one thing that I can put my finger on. It lingers with you, it makes an impression, and it feels like you can just…breathe it in. I use the word “flows” a lot, and it does flow, but it goes far beyond that. It is magical to read, how the dialogue and prose are woven together…it is stunning and beautiful. I can’t even say anything else because it was so good.

The Pacing
One of my biggest fears in regards to fantasy novels is pacing. Pacing can be done really well or it can be done so poorly it sucks the life out of everything. But when it is done well, like it is here, you become engrossed. You aren’t trying to skim sentences and chapters, instead you want to linger in this book, you want to stay forever because it is brilliant. And the pacing for this book is that. Brown does an excellent job of alternating between “downtime” and action. It is suspenseful all the way through.

The Plot
Heck, I’m not even going to talk about the plot much beyond what the synopsis says. The plot is amazing — in fact, I think this is one of the strongest fantasy plots I’ve seen in a while. There is something to be said for a book that has such depth to the plot in more ways than one, and that makes everything relevant or at least work together to keep you guessing. Also, the plot in regards to the characters is amazing. Who doesn’t like enemies dueling it out? (I love it!)

The Characters
Please give me all the characters. We talk about characters who are too strong, who are too weak, who we say are “annoying” and I am guilty of that too. But these characters are endearing and wonderful and lovely. Malik — he is so soft and warm and his relationships with his family rang true and wonderful. Karina as a character is also excellent. She is so strong, but flawed and sweet. It’s the fact these characters are so multifaceted that make them believeable and great. They aren’t static, they leap off the page and you want them to win, because you love them so much.

The Worldbuilding
Again, the worldbuilding for this book is outstanding. I commend Brown on it. I felt that this world was vivid, and that I could actually be there. She took the time to weave moments through that define the world and the book without it becoming too overwhelming.

If you haven’t figured it out, I loved this book. I am so excited for the sequel because it is absolutely amazing and I am so DESPERATE to find out what happens next.