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Disenchanted by Brianna Sugalski // Monsters, Banter and adventure through a dark forest

  GOODREADS // AMAZON // BOOK DEPOSITORY Breton princess at the peak of the French Renaissance, Lilac lives prisoner in her parents' castle after a wicked secret is revealed on the eve of her tenth birthday soirée. Years later, her coronation ceremony looms, and between the riotous townsfolk and scheming nobleman bent on snatching the throne, Lilac prepares for the worst... Until a mysterious letter arrives from The Witch of Lupine Grotto, detailing a curious offer to cure her darkness forever. Lilac begrudgingly trades her coronet for a cloak and ventures into the forest Brocéliande in pursuit of the impious enchantress at the edge of town. With only the protection of an inherited dagger—and unsolicited help of the sardonic stranger who inserts himself on her quest—she must traverse Brocèliande and return in time to claim her rightful position as sovereign monarch. This is the story of a cursed princess, A crestfallen killer, The town that wants them to burn, And the witch

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown // Magic, Diversity and plot Twists Galore

The first in an fantasy duology inspired by West African folklore in which a grieving crown princess and a desperate refugee find themselves on a collision course to murder each other despite their growing attraction.

For Malik, the Solstasia festival is a chance to escape his war-stricken home and start a new life with his sisters in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. But when a vengeful spirit abducts Malik’s younger sister, Nadia, as payment into the city, Malik strikes a fatal deal—kill Karina, Crown Princess of Ziran, for Nadia’s freedom.

But Karina has deadly aspirations of her own. Her mother, the Sultana, has been assassinated; her court threatens mutiny; and Solstasia looms like a knife over her neck. Grief-stricken, Karina decides to resurrect her mother through ancient magic . . . requiring the beating heart of a king. And she knows just how to obtain one: by offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia competition.

When Malik rigs his way into the contest, they are set on a course to destroy each other. But as attraction flares between them and ancient evils stir, will they be able to see their tasks to the death?
 (A huge thank you to the FFBC tours and the publisher for the eARC and the opportunity to be a part of this blog tour. Click on the tour banner above to view the tour schedule) (International Giveaway at the end of the post)

     The book was pitched as "What if Aladdin and Jasmine had to kill each other?" and naturally I was flailing and dying to read the book. I'm a simple girl. They said diverse fantasy with angst and I said HELL YES.


~Protagonists you want to root for~

     Malik is the absolute cinnamon roll of ever who just wants to save his little sister. He is a sensitive soul who loves listening to and telling stories, who would help an absolute stranger, who holds on to his sister's stuffed toy hoping to give it to her when he saves her. Excuse me I'll be over there crying.

    Karina is someone who has lost too much; who had already been drowning when her mother too is taken away from her. She's not easy to like because often she comes off as someone who doesn't care about others or the consequences of her actions but with time, I started sympathizing with her. She had lost her father and sister before and now her mother and is suddenly thrust into a position of responsibilities when she hasn't even grieved properly.
Aminata was right. The world would last a single morning without her. And if it didn't, well, that was hardly her problem.

     Neither of them are killers but they are willing to do what needs to be done for their family. Malik will give anything to save his innocent little sister and Karina will give anything to bring back the mother she lost so suddenly and unexpectedly. But between the two, I think I favored Malik more. Karina at times made supremely brash decisions and was ruder than she had to be which did not win any points from me.

~Solid mental health rep~

     Both the protagonists suffer from anxiety and panic attacks of different kinds. Karina has been plagued by attacks since the day she lost her father and sister. Mentions and memories of them bring on her panic attacks that result in splitting headaches and over time she has learnt various ways of dealing with them; not all of them ideal.
In the years after the fire, it had come frequently, but now it only visited her every once and again, a reminder that her childhood demons were poised to strike at any moment

     Malik suffers panic attacks due to his childhood; back when his abilities were seen as a disease to be driven away by his family and people; back when no one had believed he could see spirits. His panic attacks and jumbled thoughts that come with it are described so well by the author. He also has social anxiety which makes him fumble his answers to very simple questions and makes him try his best to blend into the background of social gatherings.
Malik wasn't sure how long they stayed like that - minutes, maybe hours. Adetunde sat by his side the entire time, chatting aimlessly about everything and nothing. Slowly, Malik's bearings returned as the tendrils of panic slowly receded"

I also liked how for both of them, there were other characters who understood and helped them overcome the panic attacks.

~So much culture and diversity~

     The world is built on west African folklore and it's so fascinating. There is a LOT going on but the author explains the world so well without info dumping us and that's awesome! I loved how diverse the world was within itself. There were matriarchal kingdoms and patriarchal ones, cultures that believed in magic and those that did not and just everything is so diverse! Like two people could pray to the same patron god and yet they'd be from entirely different parts of the world and follow different rituals and culture.

     Also I'm so here for the casual queer diversity. Although there isn't a major rep; it's mentioned how the consorts of the Ziranian Sultana could be of any gender and a certain character mentions their sister's relationship with another girl and such.

     Also special mention to all the foods and dishes described in the book. Ms. Brown you succeeded in making my mouth water even in serious situations because of ALL THE FOOD.

~So much stabbiness and betrayals~

     I certainly did not see that coming. There are reveals throughout the book as the protagonists realize there's more to the world than they knew. Karina has never left Ziran and throughout the book she comes face to face with the truth about her ancestors' past and herself. Malik has travelled a lot to reach the city where he hoped to find his fortune but learns there is more lurking in the city than just opportunities.

     I'm happy to say that for most of the big plot reveals, I so did not see it coming and was left gaping like a fish. The ending just made me go "Whaaaaaa" and then "EXCUSE ME WHERE IS BOOK TWO?"

~Three dimensional secondary characters~

     I just HAVE to talk about this. The secondary characters really drew me in because they're so interesting and the author doesn't ignore their stories. There's Leila, Malik's older sister who wanted to have more formal education but had to give up her apprenticeship to raise her siblings, Tunde who is kind but also calculating so readers and the characters are left wondering if his kindness is real or a part of his elaborate schemes, Farid who is raised by the Sultana and her husband as their ward and has a complex relationship with the family and so many more charcters who I wanted to know more about.

~A song of wraiths and ruin is a wild ride with lots of diversity, fantasy, engaging characters and a nail-biting plotline! ~

Do you have any recommendations for fantasy books by Black authors? Tell me in the comments below!