A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Inspired by African myth, A Psalm of Storm and Silence offers the opportunity to discusss leadership and sacrifice.
It's never too late to seek forgiveness. Children should not be blamed for the trauma visited upon them by others. Families can be reunited and heal.
Positive Role Models
Malik and Karina are very different individuals, but they share a sense of compassion for the innocent bystanders who are harmed by their magic. They blame themselves for acts forced upon them by adults but find ways to forgive themselves and others.
The characters read as African or Middle Eastern. The story's inspired by African myth. Magic is widespread throughout the land, and it is treated with respect.
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Violence & Scariness
Violence or the threat of it is nearly constant. Characters die and are resurrected. A boy is tortured for days on end. A minor character poisons a guest. Lightning is called down to electrocute warriors.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Malik and Karina talk frankly about sex, particularly masturbation. Malik is the one to suggest that they keep their hands "above the waist," which they do in a couple of short scenes.
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Swearing is fairly mild -- "damn," "hell," and "ass" -- until a couple of high-intensity moments, when "f--k" is used.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that A Psalm of Storms and Silence is the second half of a fantasy duology begun in A Song of Wraiths and Ruin. Roseanne A. Brown continues the story of star-crossed lovers Malik and Karina as they try to foil a deadly curse. There's violence throughout -- torture, battles, murder; characters die and are resurrected; lightning is called down to electrocute warriors. And there's a bit of romance that includes physical intimacy (with "hands above the waist") and swearing ("damn," "hell," "ass") that turns harsh a couple of times ("f--k") when things go wrong.
Is It Any Good?
The myths of Africa inspire more fantasy fiction now, and this long and complicated saga of magical warfare shows the genre at its best. In A Psalm of Storms and Silence, author Roseanne A. Brown builds a fascinating world full of magic, monsters, and intrigue, investing her characters with the solidity needed to make the story grab traction and go. Karina and Malik are haunted by their pasts, and they want to make amends, but they face a formidable selection of antagonists, supernatural and mortal. The plot moves quickly, but there are lulls in the action when all the talking, thinking, and strategizing becomes just the slightest bit oppressive. Fantasy fans will appreciate the ways in which the intricately detailed plot comes together at the end. The duology makes good on everything it promises -- action, romance, politics, adventure -- and marks its author as a young talent to watch closely.
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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.
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