1. BREATH-TAKING BACKDROP – Solstasia afeshiya! This gripping YA fantasy is set against the backdrop of Solstasia, a week-long festival that is celebrated once in 50 years and ushers in a new era! What better setting for a tale where the two protagonists are on a quest to kill each other?
2. SOLID WORLD BUILDING – The world building is PERFECT! Not only is the world building on point, it doesn’t feel info-dumpy at all. ASOWAR in set in the city of Ziran, the capital of Sonande, which heavily draws inspiration from West Africa. The magic system, alignments of the citizens, long-lost and forbidden magic, sorcerers and the myths in this tale are perfectly woven into the plot and they make you want to jump right into the pages and discover more about this world!
3. WELL-EXECUTED ANXIETY AND PANIC ATTACK REP – As someone who has had anxiety and panic attacks, I think it’s safe to say that Roseanne has done justice to the representation. The scenes are well-written and perfectly portray how one feels during an attack. There is also a trigger warning issued at the beginning which I feel is absolutely necessary and all in all, well done!
4. PLOT TWISTS GALORE – I, for one, am a sucker for plot twists! The plot seemed sluggish over the first 150 pages but be warned, that’s the calm before the storm! The author throws a volley of plot twists at you and they will leave you gasping! A new plot twist springs up even before you’ve had time to get over the previous one! And believe me, these plot twists are maaaaaad.
5. WELL-FLESHED-OUT CHARACTERS – The characters in this book have amazing arcs and you can’t help but fall in love with them! Karina, on one hand, is a princess with a carefree attitude and is one hell of a rule breaker while on the other, Malik is my honey sugar plum😭 His love for his sisters, Leila and Nadia shines through the pages and you can’t help but notice how he makes huge sacrifices for his family and puts their needs above his own. He is a GEM. He’s now on my Top 5 Book Boyfriends of All Time! The side characters have their own spotlights in this story and I loved the casual queer rep too!
6. THIS BOOK NORMALISES MEN CRYING. Roseanne, welcome to my list of auto-buy authors. I’m going to read everything you write. Period.
7. #OWNVOICES – Last, but definitely not the least, this is an #ownvoices BIPOC fantasy novel that is based on West African culture, mythology and folklore! Brimming with #browngirlmagic and #blackboyjoy, this is the perfect novel if you’re looking for #ownvoices titles! I don’t think I can emphasize enough how important it is for readers to pick up #ownvoices novels and support authors from marginalised communities!
I hope I have convinced you enough to pick up this beauty of a book. If you happen to read it, hit me up and let’s discuss! I CANNOT wait to read the conclusion to the duology, A Psalm of Storms and Silence! And not to mention, the covers is ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS!
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?
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.