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Title: Wings of Ebony
Author: J. Elle
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Canada
Genre: Fantasy |Urban|Afrofuturism
Publication Date: January 26, 2021
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Gunman’s blue eyes burn into mine for a split second longer, full of a fire I don’t understand. He takes off knocking over the old salon lady as he sprints down the alleyway. A cop takes off past us, chasing him down. I brace for the sound of bullets, but they don’t come.
I guess they don’t shoot first – ask questions later for everyone.Rue
Wings of Ebony Synopsis
“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.
Wings of Ebony Review
First off, this book has some major #BlackGirlMagic in it.
The cover and the synopsis is what drew me in, but J. Elle’s writing kept me enthralled. Rue is a brave, headstrong and take no shit black girl who after her mother’s dead finds out about her father’s heritage and her magic. Rue has no filter in the best way, she says what’s on her mind and asks the hard questions until she is satisfied with all parts of the answer. She’s scared especially in situations she finds herself in, but she is never a damsel in distress. She’s got this shit handled with or without your help.
The heart of this story is the relationship between Rue and her absentee father, Aasim. It is complicated and heartbreaking. Definitely needed to break out the tissues, which was hard to explain while I was reading it at work. As the story evolves, the emotional punch of the story hits you, and you realize this story is so much more than what shows on the surface. There is beauty and pain, courage and loyalty, magic and reality loaded into this book; and it’s going to be a favourite for many young people out there who are fighting against injustices, like racism and sexism, all around the world.
Wings of Ebony brings racism and colonization to the front in a time when these conversations NEED to happen and need to be held bluntly. The way she incorporates it into the story is not harsh, but it hits your heart and cannot be missed. Wings of Ebony also shows that a non-racist ally may not realize how much they subconsciously sympathize with systems of oppression they benefit from. Everything is handled in a way that is immediate and in your face, which is what needso happen when it comes to these topics.
I would like to thank NetGalley and Simon & Schuster CA for sending me a free copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.
John Crawford III
Clementa C. Pinckney
Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd
Daniel L. Simmons
Charley Leundeu Keunang
Ethel Lee Lance
Bruce Kelley Jr
Keith Lamont Scott
About J. Elle
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.
Wings of Ebony Series
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