A Song of Wraiths and Ruin | Book Review | Spoiler Free | Overbooked [CC]

welcome back to dead good book reviews i’m judith 
and you’re watching another episode of overbooked  
the series where i talk about every single book on 
my shelf because i went into the woods one day and  
an old man was there and he told me to do this and 
made me promise but then when i went back to ask  
him some questions about it he had disappeared 
and all there was was a circle of mushrooms
today i’m going to be talking about a book 
that entered my life in 2020 i’m going to  
talk about roseanne a brown’s a song of 
wraiths and ruin showing you the cover  
some quick disclaimers before we start i’m going 
to keep this as spoiler free as humanly possible  
i don’t think i’m going to talk about any spoilers 
if anything comes up i’ll put spoiler skips  
i bought this book myself this is a y a fantasy 
book that released in june of 2020 and saw a fair  
amount of hype here on the bookish internet it is 
the first installment in a west african folklore  
inspired duology with the sequel a psalm of 
storms and silence is due to release in june  
of 2021. rosanne a brown was born in

ghana and 
then moved to maryland when she was a child and  
now currently lives just outside of washington dc 
she has a background in writing fiction and also  
in journalism as ever i will have her website 
linked below so that you can check out any more  
information on her other books and anything else 
you might be interested in this is a dual point of  
view story we have two perspectives we have karina 
and malik and karina is the crown princess of the  
city ziran it’s a desert city karina was already 
struggling to live up to the memory of her older  
sister and then she’s forced into an even more 
precarious position after her mother the sultana  
is assassinated karina has to try and keep her 
fracturing land together throughout this solastia  
festival and also in the background she’s kind 
of thinking maybe she might try and resurrect her  
mother with dark magic but to do that she’ll need 
the heart of a king and what better way to get a  
king than to offer up your hand in marriage as a 
prize for the winner of the solastia competition  
malik by contrast is a young boy trying to 
escape his war-torn country with his sisters  
they want to start a new life in the city but 
everything goes a bit wrong when his younger  
sister is kidnapped by a vengeful spirit malik’s 
forced into a deal where he can have his sister  
back but only if he kills the princess and what 
way to get close to the princess why it might  
just be to enter that competition of course 
i think you get the gist of where the story  
is going on the surface level i could draw a lot 
of comparisons between elements of this plot and  
elements of various other ya fantasy books we’ve 
seen over the years what i think that this book  
does well and does differently is it combines 
those tropes into something a little bit new  
we’ve all seen the assassin finds their way into 
the royal competition to get close to their target  
thing we’ve read that book before but i think the 
fact that this book balances that with karina has  
her own agenda and she has her own subterfuge 
going on and arguably it’s a little bit more  
questionable than malik’s intentions all of 
that combined along with a lot of the other  
stuff that’s happening in this book makes the 
book feel not too tropey y a fantasy while still  
retaining a lot of the essence that makes that 
enjoyable as a type of book to read in terms of  
plot is exactly what i like in a book it’s a clear 
structure of events as part of a competition love  
a competition around which the rest of the story 
can grow of course that does always run a risk the  
second book won’t be as strong as the first one 
because you don’t have that clear structure but we  
shall wait until june to pass judgment on that i 
really like this setting and i don’t just mean the  
world and the culture but i think the fact that 
this book takes place across a festival in this  
desert city was really really powerful because 
it brings together all these different elements  
of society and it heightens the action and it 
creates all these wonderful moments of tension  
and celebration all just because of the way that 
this book is set i feel like i need to reframe  
this slightly i’m a little bit too high up can i 
do that halfway through a video probably there’s  
a lot of big things happening but because of this 
kind of heightened atmosphere of this festival it  
all feels very natural that’s not to say i’m not 
excited to see more of the world beyond the city  
after the sequel but i think the city is a really 
really good setting we get a lot of the vibrance  
of the culture and the people but also rosanne 
a brown manages to balance that with a lot of  
claustrophobia around the city particularly in 
karina’s viewpoint just this is more an additional  
note i am always a sucker for description of 
clothing particularly formal clothing ball gowns  
every all of that it just it hits home and this 
book has a lot of really good clothing description  
i enjoyed it i actually thought that the romance 
in this book was very interestingly done and i do  
mean that in a positive way i’ve said it before a 
y a fantasy romance isn’t going to be for everyone  
some people really do not enjoy them and that 
is perfectly fine i think in this instance i  
would be more likely to recommend this book to 
somebody who’d been burned by y a romance before  
don’t get me wrong some of the characters 
get feelings for each other quite quickly and  
those feelings are arguably kind of intense but i 
think that intensity is really well managed what  
we don’t have is i saw you one time in the street 
we made eye contact and now i would jump in front  
of an army for you one of the moments that really 
stuck out for me is there’s a character reflecting  
on what their life might be like if they 
could be with another character and what their  
feelings might be in the future and i thought 
that was really interesting because so often  
y a fantasy romance is about the here and now 
it’s not really about the future beyond the odd  
oh if only we could one day live together in an 
epilogue and be very happy this was much more i  
want to know where my feelings with this person 
could go because i’m not gonna let them go there  
yet and i just thought that was really interesting 
in a way that i haven’t seen ya romance handled  
very often a few things that maybe i didn’t enjoy 
quite so much i wanted a little bit more from  
karina and i think the issue was and this may be a 
personal thing i find alternating between point of  
views when it’s just dual point of view quite 
difficult especially if you’re not seeing two  
sides of the same scene so you have two characters 
doing quite different things and i’d find i was  
just getting into the swing of karina’s story 
and then suddenly i’d be in malik’s story and i’d  
have to get my head around that i just found it a 
little bit difficult to do and maybe that’s just  
me but it’s probably something to keep in mind if 
you have a similar problem another thing that’s  
probably personal preference i wanted a little 
bit more out of the magic in this book and i think  
it’s similar to other stories where the magic 
isn’t a huge part of the setting to begin with  
so maybe i went in with unrealistic expectations 
but what i am hoping for in the second book is a  
little bit more of an exploration of this magic 
and what it means some comparisons if you are  
interested in reading anything similar i feel 
like comparing this to the orisha series by Tomi  
Adeyemi is a little bit obvious and it will come 
across as like i’m a white person who’s read like  
all of the really popular ya fantasy by Black 
authors i am going to recommend that because  
i think it’s a good series so far and i am would 
recommend it to you if you enjoy ya fantasy i will  
also recommend Raybearer which i have recently 
read when i’m filming this and i think was  
absolutely phenomenal also really really great 
ya fantasy if you have any more recommendations  
for ya fantasy books by Black authors or adult 
fantasy books by Black authors or sci-fi please do  
put them in the comments below i’m always looking 
to expand my reading in that area because i will  
completely call myself out and say that i fall 
a bit flat when it comes to recommending those  
things the last recommendation i maybe have is 
the first book in the mask of shadows duology  
that’s what it’s called yes by lindsay 
miller which is similarly a contest it’s  
framed slightly differently but it but there were 
some familiarities between this and that book and  
i think maybe that would be something to explore 
if you were interested do i think you should read  
this yes i do i think it’s well worth a read 
if you’re into ya fantasy and maybe you want  
something that explores kind of familiar tropes 
in a bit of an unfamiliar way but still delivers  
on the same kind of feelings you get from those 
tropes i will say this isn’t one of my top ya  
fantasy reads i have others that i love a lot more 
i think something about this is just a little bit  
too slow for me but i think that when the second 
book is out it’s going to be a really strong  
duology when paired together and we will have to 
wait and see until june to find out thank you so  
much for watching this episode of overbooked i 
hope it’s been informative and interesting you  
can also follow me on all of my social media 
that is linked below you can subscribe because  
it makes me feel loved and appreciated that’s 
all from me and i will see you in the next one  
there’s gonna be some bloopers now as ever 
i will have her website come on judith

%d bloggers like this: