The Reading Room- Wings of Ebony by J. Elle

Posted February 3, 2021 by stuckint in The Reading Room / 0 Comments

Hello everyone and welcome back to The Reading Room where I talk about the upcoming/recent releases I’ve read recently and am excited to talk about.

Today, I’m sharing my thoughts about Wings of Ebony by J. Elle, an urban fantasy novel full of black girl magic. black power and family.

About the Book

Wings of Ebony (Wings of Ebony, #1) by J. Elle
Published by Denene Millner Books/Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers on January 26, 2021
Pages: 368

In this riveting, keenly emotional debut fantasy, a Black teen from Houston has her world upended when she learns about her godly ancestry--and with evil sinking its claws into humans and gods alike, she'll have to unearth the magic of her true identity to save both her worlds.
Perfect for fans of Angie Thomas, Tomi Adeyemi, and The Hunger Games.

“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.
A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection

About the Author

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.

My Thoughts

Wings of Ebony is a ya fantasy novel featuring black girl magic, strong characters and and a propulsive plot. I absolutely adored this book from the magic system to the commentary a prevelent social, cultural and racial issues that have always, and continue to, plague out society.

At the heart of the novel is Rue, pulsing with independence, fierce loyalty, and just a bit of magic. When Rue’s mother is murdered, she is taken to the magical land of Ghizon to live with her father. In Ghizon, Rue struggles to belong and it’s not just because of the color of her skin. Rue is loud, headstrong and takes up space with purpose and intention. It is refreshing to see a female protagonist who ignores social niceties and expectations to be herself and protect her family.

While I do wish we had been give more insight into the magic system- which I have on good authority will be provided in Book 2- I loved the balance the author took between Ghizon and her life with her sister in the neighborhood of her youth. The reader is told just enough to avoid confusion and I always appreciate the show don’t tell style of certain fantasy stories.

Thematically, Wings of Ebony tackles a lot of important social issues including systemic racism, colonialism, racial identity, and family. I was fascinated by the way J. Elle used the magic system of Ghizon to explore these difficult topics and appreciated the hard conversations that occurred on the page which called out systemic racism and white privilege. J. Elle and her characters are unapologetic and it’s some thing that the book community needs right now.

Yet perhaps the most moving part of the book for me was Rue’s relationship with her father and how it progressed throughout the novel. I honestly think it was so moving because it was so unexpected.

If you can’t tell, I gave Wings of Ebony 5🌟 and would recommend it to fans of Angie Thomas, Tomi Adiyemi, and Tracy Deonn.

What About You?

Have you read Wings of Ebony? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!

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