A Song of Wraiths and Ruin

HarperAudio. 2020. 1,204p. $39.99. ISBN 9781094160627.
Gr 7 Up–Inspired by West African folklore and tales of intrigue and magic, this unique fantasy brings together an unlikely pair struggling to survive loss, loneliness, and agonizing feelings of inadequacy. Forces conspire to place both Karina, a grieving princess, and Malik, a despairing refugee, in untenable situations requiring them to make unthinkable, even heinous choices. Set against the background of the Solstasia Festival, its revelers, and its most hallowed contest, this tale unfolds with slow realizations, half-truths, and bargains in which no one really wins. Brown’s riveting debut intertwines characters’ lives in the past and the present. The author allows the art of storytelling to almost become a character itself as the plot progresses and moves through story and belief. Both the main characters and the listeners face candid and at times startling depictions of cutting and anxiety. Listeners will relate to these deeply flawed, wholly authentic characters. Narrators Jordan Cobb and A.J. Beckles alternate reading as the point of view changes from one character to the next. Each narrator brings to life not only their own protagonist, but also the events as they see them. Listeners will eagerly await further books in this series.
VERDICT This is an essential purchase for libraries with a call for fantasy, romance, and adventure.

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