I'm not gonna lie, it's been a minute since I've been impressed with a YA fantasy. I live for fantasy, but somewhere down the line, every series started blurring together and I just couldn't find any stand outs. Enter A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown. I bought this when it first came out, and I'm sort of kicking myself for waiting this long to read it since it's now one of my favorite reads of the year.
|Pub Date: 6-2-20|
YA - Fantasy
When Malik and his two sisters arrive in Ziran for the Solstasia festival after leaving their war-torn homeland behind, he's looking for a fresh start. But he soon realizes Ziran might be more dangerous than he imagined. After his younger sister is taken by a vengeful demon spirit, Malik is forced into a dangerous bargain: either kill Karina, the crown princess, or his and his sister's lives are forfeit. Malik will do anything to get his sister back, even if that means rigging his way into becoming a champion in the Solstasia competition to gain access to the princess.
Karina has never wished to be the queen of Ziran, but after the death of her older sister and father, she knows that one day the crown will fall to her. That day comes quicker than she would like after her mother is assassinated. Beside herself with grief and surrounded by a court that doesn't seem to have her best interests in mind, Karina decides to try and resurrect her mother using dark magic, but she'll need the beating heart of a king to complete the ritual-- and she knows just how to get one: by offering her hand in marriage to the winner of the Solstasia competition. The pair only has until the end of Solstasia to complete their tasks, and with the end creeping near and tension and attraction building, the question is will they even be able to go through with it?
I just have one thing to say-- Wow. This was so entertaining, so captivating, and all around so much fun. Karina and Malik are such strong individual characters and I loved seeing the story through both their point of view. I did lean slightly more towards Malik only because he's such a soft boy that I just wanted to protect him, whereas Karina was so fierce and could definitely hold her own. Brown seamlessly weaved together magic, mythology, and court politics into such an amazing story that I was fully invested the entire time. I'm also such a sucker for a competition aspect in stories, and this one was just *chefs kiss*. All the elements I love in fantasy were here, but in ways that felt so fresh and new. I can't wait to see what else is in store for this series.