This month’s FYA Book Club selection is A Song of Wraiths and Ruin (A Song of Wraiths and Ruin #1) by Roseanne A. Brown. The first in a duology, the novel’s based on West African folklore and filled with themes that, while fictionalized, feel very contemporary.
Check out the discussion questions below! (Slight spoilers ahead.)
P.S. If you’ve already read the book, feel free to add any other discussion questions of your own in the comments!
Brown includes an author’s note at the start of the novel that reads: “Please note this book depicts issues of mild self-harm ideation, fantasy violence, emotional and physical abuse, anxiety and panic attacks, parent death, and animal death. I have done my best to approach these topics with sensitivity, but if you feel this kind of content may be triggering, please be aware.”
The title of The Song of Wraiths and Ruin follows a formula used by a lot of recent YA fantasy novels. If you were writing a YA fantasy and had to follow a similar formula to title your book, what would you call it?
1. What were your first impressions of Malik? How did they change as the book progressed?
2. And Karina? Did you feel differently about her at the end of the novel than you did at the beginning?
3. Malik’s anxiety is a large part of his character. If you have anxiety or deal with panic attacks yourself, did you find the portrayal of the illness accurate? If not, what did you think about this aspect of the story?
4. What did you think about the chemistry (or enemistry) between Malik and Karina?
5. Karina and her mother had a strained relationship, and it’s not clear until late in the book why the sultana was so terrible to her daughter. Did the reason(s) for her attitude make it “better”? Why or why not?
6. The Zirani Solstasia tournament of champions is unique from other YA tournaments. What aspect was your favorite (even if it was actually terrible)?
7. What did you think of the West African elements of the book?
8. Malik makes a pretty drastic decision about Karina toward the end of the book. What did you think about his choice?
9. Brown includes a content warning (see above) for this book before the story begins. FYAHQ always aims to call out content warnings in our review, but it seems to be becoming more common for authors to include these notes themselves. What are your thoughts on this?
10. A Song of Wraiths and Ruin is the first in a duology. Do you plan on reading the sequel, A Psalm of Storm and Silence? (It was released on 11/2/21.) Why or why not? Do you have any predictions for the series’ resolution?