I read 153 books this year in a 50/50 split between audiobooks and other formats. Being unemployed helped that along, didn’t do much for me in terms of my mental health. But there were so many good reads consumed and published this year, I had to make two lists. Enjoy!
This book had me physically reacting to every plot beat. In A Song of Wraiths & Ruin, we follow Mailk and Karina. Malik brought his sisters to the city of Ziran with him, fleeing turmoil in their homeland, only to have his younger sister Nadia kidnapped by vengeful spirit Idir. Karina is the crown princess overseeing Solstasia, a once-every-50-years celebration of a comet’s return, but there might be more magic to it than that.
I loved both the main characters. They had such compelling storylines and particularly the representation of anxiety and migraines for Malik and Karina, respectively. The way magic tied into it and affected their character arcs at all stages really worked for me. In addition, Brown crafts a swoony enemies-to-lovers story between them, as they both want to sacrifice the other to save their families. The side characters also kick as, and, again, I audibly gasped at the reveals throughout the way.
The world-building in this one is a delight for anyone looking for dubious politics, betrayals, and intrigue. The framing of the Championship helped give the story a strong sense of pacing. As most people know, I am a fan of attempted necromancy and spirits that speak to the main characters.
An epic tale inspired by West African folklore with all of my favorite tropes wrapped into one fantastic package.