Wings of Ebony
Wings of Ebony #1
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: January 26, 2021
Format: Finished Copy
“Make a way out of no way” is just the way of life for Rue. But when her mother is shot dead on her doorstep, life for her and her younger sister changes forever. Rue’s taken from her neighborhood by the father she never knew, forced to leave her little sister behind, and whisked away to Ghizon—a hidden island of magic wielders.
Rue is the only half-god, half-human there, where leaders protect their magical powers at all costs and thrive on human suffering. Miserable and desperate to see her sister on the anniversary of their mother’s death, Rue breaks Ghizon’s sacred Do Not Leave Law and returns to Houston, only to discover that Black kids are being forced into crime and violence. And her sister, Tasha, is in danger of falling sway to the very forces that claimed their mother’s life.
Worse still, evidence mounts that the evil plaguing East Row is the same one that lurks in Ghizon—an evil that will stop at nothing until it has stolen everything from her and everyone she loves. Rue must embrace her true identity and wield the full magnitude of her ancestors’ power to save her neighborhood before the gods burn it to the ground.
Shootings, Racism, Death, Grief, Murder, Drug Usage, Gang Violence, Colonialism
I don’t want to show any bias, but I am a part of the street team and my excitement for this book was through the roof way before I had started reading… so keep that in mind.
We’re following Rue, who after her mother is murdered gets whisked away to Ghizon by her father who had been MIA for the entirety of her life. She learns she’s a part of a magical people, but knows her home is where her little sister is who she left behind. We jump into the action very quickly and this makes for a speedy read, honestly.
I do wish this was longer or even a slower read (I know, strange request) because I did want more fleshing out of the world and where her father came from. The magic system and the culture and just ALL OF IT. It caught my interest and kind of rushed and it didn’t need to be.
I did enjoyed Rue as our main character, I mean you can’t NOT root for her. She loves hard and she’s loyal to the end. She felt like someone I could hang out with, she felt like a friend, personable, very much so likable. Did she make some decisions that were brash and not so thought-out? Yeah. Was it kind of irritating? Just a little bit. But, we still liked her nonetheless.
And the love she had for her home was my favorite part of this read. The unfairness her neighborhood had to go through is something I can relate and see to. We tackle institutional racism, sexism, colonialism, the disenfranchisement of black people in such a real way– showing that in this way, the contrast between Ghizon and the real world is something I can appreciate.
However… the attempt at a romance was… not my favorite? As I mentioned above, things moved very fast here and this love triangle was no different. And as someone who doesn’t have the biggest issue with love triangles as a whole, I just wish it had room to be expanded on because I can see it getting swoony in the future. As well as the villain– this is just a personal thing, he was fine, but he was also very simplified.
I’d definitely say I have a bunch of hope and anticipation for the sequel. There’s so much potential and it is an important read. I had a good time with this one.
J. Elle was born in Houston, Texas, and is a first-generation college student with a bachelor’s in journalism and MA in educational administration and human development. An advocate for marginalized voices in both publishing and her community, J. Elle’s passion for empowering youth dates back to her first career in education. She’s worked as a preschool director, middle school teacher, and high school creative writing mentor. In her spare time, she volunteers at an alternative school, provides feedback for aspiring writers, loves on her three littles, and cooks up dishes true to her Texas and Louisiana roots. Wings of Ebony is her first novel.