A Song of Wraiths and Ruin || Book Review/Chat || some spoilers [CC]

Well hello!
Welcome back to my channel, Jashana here to
talk about a friggin book!
You know what the book is… because it’s
in the title…
but here it is, somewhere on the screen
for you…
and it is A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by
Roseanne A. Brown.
I almost wasn’t going to do an
individual review for this
because, it’s a debut novel to my
understanding,
author of color, and i didn’t dislike
this book by any means, but i also didn’t
love it LOVE it and so i kind of didn’t
really want to do an individual review…
but i actually have a lot to say about
it apparently!
I’m actually filming this intro after–i
thought this was going to be just a
recent wrap-up, but i talked about this
book for like
20 some minutes so i was like, all right
well i guess i should do an individual
review of this book!”
But i will have linked down below, some
other reviews of people who
really loved this book, and i will try to
find some own voices
reviews as well from some black
reviewers.
Because i think that’s always important
with books like this, especially in
fantasy… if you have a

fantasy book
written by an author of color with
characters who are
black and brown um, even if that isn’t
necessarily a part
of the the narrative and they aren’t
marginalized in this fantasy world,
it’s still the representation, right–it’s
still important for
people who can appreciate that
representation,
seeing that cover and feeling like “I see
myself”
you know? So i will have that linked down
below.
This is young adult fantasy in an
African-inspired world–
kind of like north African? At least from
my interpretation that’s what it felt
like…
we have a princess heir who loses
her mother at the very start of the book–
this is in the
synopsis like on the dust jacket–and
it’s just before
a huge festival celebration
in their country that happens like once
every 50 years
and basically Karina wants to resurrect
her mother,
she wants to bring her back from the
dead with this ancient ritual she finds
in an
old ass book which would require a few
things,
including the heart of a king! Her
father’s dead and she doesn’t know any
other kings,
so she decides “hey this competition
that’s happening, that i get to pick
the prize for… i’m gonna have the prize
be
marrying me, so then they’ll marry me
and they’ll be a king and then i can
kill them and take their heart.
So that’s her plan. And then we have a
boy, Malik,
who is traveling with his older and
younger sister
to this city for this festival, trying to
make some money to send back to their
home. And Malik
loses his baby sister to a demon–
demon catches the baby sister, for
reasons,
and in order to get her back and save
her life,
he is told that he has to kill the
princess, Karina,
for this demon. And if he does not do
this by the end of this festival
celebration week or however–I think it’s
a week, yeah–
um then like his baby sister’s gonna
die a gruesome death at the hands of
this demon. s=So he does not want that to
happen, so he
joins this competition thinking “oh i’ll
be able to get close to the princess”
and then she announces “hey the winner
gets to marry me” — and i’ll get into that
in a second,
i’ll get into my thoughts in general in
a minute–some spoilery stuff kind of…
and yeah there is magic and
some pretty cool lore and mythology
wrapped up in this, like the world
building… i really appreciate it. It was
a lot of fun. I love when there’s made up
mythology, or mythology inspired by other
cultures,
um and like the lore of it and learning
new things
about the ancient times and etc– i just
think it’s a fun time. The pacing was
really consistent for me throughout this
book, and this was an incredibly readable
book, it was a page-turning
type of book for me. Even though there
were parts of it that didn’t work
for me necessarily and certain things i
wasn’t
in love with, it was still just such a
quick
page-turning read. I wanted to know what
was gonna happen next!
I enjoyed the characters, generally
speaking… there were some things that
bugged me but overall like,
i liked them, i was invested in them on
some level.
Specifically Malik, i was pretty invested
in
Malik’s goal. We also have
anxiety rep in Malik and then migraine
rep
in Karina, and as a migraine sufferer
myself–now i don’t have
chronic migraines… technically to have
chronic migraines
it has to be like 15 or more in a month,
and usually i have like 10 or less…
so i have episodic migraines. I really
appreciated seeing
some representation of a main character
having these migraines.
Now, was it relatable to me on a personal
level?
No, because her experience is was very
different from mine,
and her experience also was kind of
wrapped up in some other things…
basically she kept getting triggered by
essentially thinking about difficult
emotions, thinking about difficult
memories… grief,
right–her extreme intense grief
from losing her sister and her father–
again in the dust jacket–that was like
what would trigger her
migraines… and for me, i’ve never had a
migraine
triggered by like thinking about
difficult things… and yeah my migraines
just have
never been triggered by difficult
emotions or anything like that, and i
don’t know anyone who has,
but i’m certainly not the fucking
authority on
everybody with migraines… i haven’t taken
a worldwide poll or anything like that,
so
there very well could be people who have
that. And so what her
migraines were actually like connected
with was essentially–
it’s kind of spoilery, so spoilers for a
second….
it was revealed later that essentially
she had a very intense mental block
and basically like a ptsd type of thing
with the death of her sister and her
father.
She was like, blocking that out like,
repressed memories
essentially… she had some very repressed
memories,
and so that was kind of what was really
triggering her migraines, was that her
her brain was just like “nope nope can’t
go there!”
And so it would give her a migraine, so
you know that explains that a little bit.
So like i said,
i didn’t exactly relate on a personal
level to the representation,
but that’s not to say that it’s bad
representation or wrong representation,
and i still appreciated that it was
there. And then the anxiety rep
was pretty cool–I don’t have anxiety so
i can’t speak to
whether or not it was good
representation… i will try to find
some own voices like, anxiety rep reviews,
someone talking about it… but the anxiety
rep was kind of cool
in in my perspective, from my perspective,
because later it essentially
helped him… uh spoilers again uh,
for the ending… so the part where
the demon guy–why can’t i remember his
name? I didn’t write it down and i just
can’t remember the demon dude…
um the king, the faceless king–when he
was like
in Malik’s brain, he was like “what the
frick is all of this?!”
And Malik is just kind of like “it’s my
anxiety bro,
deal with it… like you thought this was a
great idea to try to possess my mind
and i fucking tricked you. I know how to
deal with this–you don’t!”
And that was pretty cool… um again i
don’t have anxiety but,
i, i would think that anyone who does
have anxiety that that would be,
because it like made him powerful, right–
it made him
more powerful than this demon king guy.
So the ending
did have, like towards the end, there’s a
lot that happens at the end… it’s
very action-packed and like “oh shit this
is happening… now this is happening… now
that’s happening…”
so if you like a really action-packed,
dramatic ending
and great setup for the next book–
like for sure great setup, i might pick
up the next book even though i didn’t
love love this book just because of how,
how that was set up… like you wanna know
what’s gonna happen like, shit!
But yeah so the ending was pretty
exciting and there were some “oh shit”
moments, as i call them…
but also there were just quite a few
like twists and turns
and reveals that didn’t exactly work for
me
personally… that fell a bit flat for me.
And my my biggest thing with this book
that
kind of took my enjoyment level down a
little bit…
Karina’s motivation for wanting to
murder someone for their heart… it just
felt kind of weak to me…
Malik’s made total sense, like hi,
a demon has my sister and is gonna like
tear her limb from limb
if i don’t go murder this princess who i
don’t know…
she might be a nice person, i have no
fucking idea, but i gotta go kill her…
but like that makes sense, like you don’t
want to do this…
he’s not a killer, Malik is like a really
good person, a really nice person,
and he doesn’t want to do this at all
but also he’s like,
“fuck! m=My little sister!” Like, his sister’s
like five or six years old…
he’s not gonna stand there and just like
let her be killed, obviously, so his
motivation made sense.
There’s this thing i have to do like, i
HAVE to do this…
anyone would feel the same way. Anyone
would feel like “i literally
have to do this because i won’t be able
to live with myself if i let my
little sister be murdered, i just can’t
do it. So i have to go
kill someone even though that feels
really wrong to me,
and i don’t want to do it.” Great, makes
sense. Karina…
first of all, i didn’t feel like her
relationship with her mom was set
up for me to feel like she should be
that sad when her mom died…
it–she literally says that like in the
last 10 years since her dad and her
sister died, that she’s
barely seen her mom… like she gets
summoned to her mother’s
rooms at the very beginning and
she’s so shocked and like “what? Oh my god,
i’m going to see my mom and my mom never
talks directly to me…
she always talks through servants and
stuff like, why am i going to my mom’s
rooms??” So obviously you don’t have a
close relationship with your mother…
and she feels like her mom doesn’t even
like her… and in this moment she says
that to her mom and her mom
looks wounded and is like “you think i
don’t like you?”
And then they kind of have like a nice
moment and then
she gets killed. And now, seeing your
parents–seeing anyone, seeing a human
being get murdered in front of you
in a very dramatic fashion… that, that’s
going to be difficult time… that’s
traumatic… that’s like holy shit,
you might have some ptsd from that… and
even if you’re not that close with your
parent,
it’s still your parent. I understand that.
Um,
and also even if she like hated her mom
and had no relationship with her mom… now
she’s alone…
so that’s sad and difficult. She doesn’t
have her father, she doesn’t have her
sister,
now she doesn’t have her mother… she is
alone as far as family is concerned,
right?
And she’s like, kept in this cage
essentially… you know, in this palace.
So she doesn’t really have like a bunch
of friends and now you’re the heir
and now you have to rule… it’s a lot,
right? Totally understand all of that,
completely understand… but i just
couldn’t get behind her like,
“I have to kill this–whoever wins–so that
i can bring my mom back.” …no you don’t… you
don’t have to do that.
Like, if her mother was part of some
prophecy,
right… maybe, maybe there was some
prophecy that like
xyz person is gonna be the one to save
the world,
and Karina was convinced that that
person was her mom… “oh my god that’s
obviously my mom!”…
that would make sense. Like okay, you
literally believe that your mother
is the key to saving all of humanity so
yeah,
you would be very motivated to go commit
homicide
to bring her back… but it’s literally
just Karina being like
“i’m not fit to be the queen, so let me
bring my mom back… she’s so much better
at it like, she
is–she’s made for being the queen, she
was such a good queen… i should bring her
back…”
it’s literally just her like thinking
she’s not
a good queen but like, you have to be the
queen eventually anyway…!
What did you think was gonna happen when
your mom died of old age someday?
Like, you are the heir, you’re the only
one… you have to be the
queen anyway at some point… you’re just
doing it sooner than you thought. So like
logically it just didn’t make sense to
be like “well my mom’s better at
being the queen”… well it’s like yeah no
shit, she’s
been the queen for how many years? You
need some experience… but like
now is your time to get the experience!
She just, every time she would say like “I
have to do this”
my immediate thought was “no you
literally don’t though…”
you know what i mean? And like yes,
technically Malik didn’t
have to kill anyone but like, his
motivation was
way better to me, way stronger… her
motivation was just so fucking weak to
me…
but i saw some reviews of people saying
that it made sense to them
because of all the things i mentioned
previously–she’s alone now, she’s just
over
fucking whelmed… is like “i can’t do it so
let me bring my mom back”…
but again my experience with it, my
perspective, was just
like, it’s so illogical… you don’t
actually have to do this. It would have
been
stronger to me if there had been some
kind of prophecy that–and even if she
was wrong
and like it clearly was her and not her
mom but she just didn’t–
you know, imposter syndrome–she didn’t
think it was her, it still would have
made more sense like, why she felt like
she had to do it…
you know what i mean? And then–spoiler
here…
before, towards the end… so i didn’t like
her motivation or i didn’t think her
motivation was that strong
for wanting to commit fucking murder uh,
needlessly, in my opinion but so i’m
annoyed the whole book like “you don’t
have to do this oh my god she literally
doesn’t have to do this though”
and then it comes down to the moment
where it’s like, all right,
here’s the guy, he won, here’s your king
to kill and get his heart to do this
thing…
and she’s like “oh i can’t do it, i
actually can’t do it…”
I just was like, god damn it!
Now is when you decide?! At the literal
last moment,
is when you decide like, “yeah actually i
don’t have to do this…
i’m not going to…” I was so irritated
like jesus christ…! And then the ending…
like i said, the ending is very exciting…
but there were just a few parts about it,
almost where it felt kind of messy
and kind of convoluted and kind–like I
was kind of like, wait
is this… is what i think happening…
happening??
They’re on this like, stage and
the guy, the servant guy, now i can’t
remember his name either…
who was her like confidant and then he’s
like “ha ha i’m actually the bad guy”
technically,
he wanted to bring her sister back
because he was in love with her, right… so
he,
they’re on this stage, he’s got the
princess
like tied up and like “we’re gonna kill
her, we’re gonna execute the princess”…
oh this whole crowd of people is here to
watch,
because they think the princess killed
the queen so they’re all here to watch…
everyone… and it’s the end of this like
festival… everybody’s like, hyped
and they’re like “cool we’re gonna see an
execution”, I guess… and then he starts
doing this like magic thing and
throwing all the stuff into a pot and
like the
corpse of the dead princess, been dead 10
years,
starts rising and all these people are
just watching…
and then a demon shows up and then Malik
shows up and he’s like
gonna fight the demon… and then he does
some–the demon literally comes out of
like, a pool of like
blackness… and all these people in the
crowd are just like,
“yeah cool!” I’m like, nobody thought this
was weird??
Not a single person was like “what the
fuck is happening right now?! What am i
watching?”
Like, they all just were like, there’s
like fireworks in the background and
they’re all just like “yeah!
Fireworks!” And i just, i don’t know, i
found that a little unbelievable,
and it was distracting me i kept being
distracted thinking,
“nobody nobody thinks this is odd? Like
not a single person??” And then the way
that she was like,
carried out to safety seemed
again, a little bit messy and kind of all
over the place…
but you know, it is what it is… um,
it didn’t make me hate the book by any
means, there were just some elements that
didn’t really work for me,
personally. But i still had a good time
reading it and like i said, the way it
ended
sets it up SO well for the next book
and i might, i might pick up the next
book… and the elements that i didn’t
love about this one could be gone in the
next one and if they are
then i think i would really really
really enjoy the next one.
As i said, i enjoyed the characters–Malik
especially, he just was so sweet
and i did enjoy Karina as a character
and they were both
very complex characters and i
appreciated that. On my one to ten, I gave
this a 6.14,
which translates to three Pusheenicorns!

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