A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Uses West African mythology and legend to tell its story.
The bonds of family are especially strong. If someone makes a deal that's too good to be true, it probably is.
Positive Role Models
Malik and Karina are both compelling characters. They're impulsive, resourceful, and brave. Malik has magical powers; Karina is a strong fighter. Each understands that they will have to make sacrifices to save the ones they love.
Violence & Scariness
There are a handful of violent scenes, mostly involving swordplay and magic. A villain is thrown off a roof.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Karina and Malik strike a few romantic sparks, but she marries someone else, waking up in bed with him (no details given).
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Infrequent use of words including "damn," "hell," and "rat piss."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Karina and Malik drink to excess a couple of times.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that A Song of Wraiths and Ruin is a fantasy novel based on West African mythology written by debut novelist Roseanne A. Brown. The narrative focuses on two teens -- a princess named Karina and a street boy named Malik -- who make supernatural agreements in the hope of restoring their families. Swearing isn't frequent and is rarely harsher than "damn," "hell," or "rat piss." There are a few scenes of violence, including dark magic and swordplay. A villain is also thrown off a roof. Karina wakes up in bed beside her new husband, but no explicit details are given. Karina gets sick drinking wine. Malik also drinks to excess.
Is It Any Good?
Novels inspired by African folklore are growing in popularity, and this first half of a fantasy duology makes the most of its magical setting. A Song of Wraiths and Ruin introduces readers to two well-constructed teen main character who are ready to do almost anything to restore their fractured families. Karina is more than spoiled royalty -- she's ready to take on all comers. Malik is more careful, but a deal with a devil usually doesn't end well. Fans of Tomi Adeyemi and Sabaa Tahir are likely to appreciate the book's action scenes, the unpredictable plot twists, and the sharp dialogue. A Song of Wraiths and Ruin transports readers to a vividly rendered world of magic.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.