Thursday, February 18, 2021

Review: Wings of Ebony by J. Elle

Wings of Ebony #1
by J. Elle
Denene Millner Books
Young Adult Fantasy / Superhero Fiction
368 pages

“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.

GOODREADS    /    KOBO    /    B&N    /    BOOK DEPOSITORY    /    AMAZON

                                           * fast-paced from beginning to end
                                           * emotion and heart
                                           * strong heroine
                                           * wonderful start to a series


This book starts out the new series with a bang...and then some.

Rue grew up with her Moms and sister in Houston, but when her mother was murdered, she found herself shipped off to her father on islands hidden by magic to learn her 'people's' ways. Refusing to let her sister face the anniversary of Moms death alone a year later, Rue breaks one of the most important rules of the magic world and returns to Houston. While there, an accident nearly takes her sister's life, and she breaks two more rules to save her. That leaves Rue neck-deep in trouble, but when she returns for her punishment and learns that the leader is going to have her sister killed, she swears to do anything to stop that from happening. But trying to save her sister's life soon leads her to discover more lies...ones that flip her world upside-down.

This tale reminded me a bit of The Black Panther and somewhat of the hero Luke Cage but all of this mixed with tons of girl power and a dash of mythology tossed in. In other words, it takes a lot of awesomeness and weaves it together to create a powerful, action-packed tale. And gives tons of heart. Rue is a heroine to love, no matter how many sharp edges she packs. She knows what's important, grew up listening and embracing the wise words of her wonderful Moms, holds family and friends in the highest regard, and is definitely a girl you want in your corner. In other words, she's got everything needed to make a terrific heroine...which she does.

The story runs along at a quick pace, making it very hard to put down. The author starts it all off with a powerful first chapter, right in the action, and then, allows the necessary background to dribble in through flashbacks at just the right times. These are always highlighted with the specific point in time, which keeps confusion at bay. There is a lot going on in this story, and a lot of ground to cover. There are two worlds at play, and each one needs to be built with depth to make the characters real. It's a tough juggle, and the author does pick and choose as to what the reader needs to learn and what not. While the neighborhood in Houston was extremely well done (and the wonderful fam), I did miss more on Ghizon's end and would have loved to gain a richer look at that world, mostly because it is the more unfamiliar of the two. But, as said, time was of the essence in this book, and shoving everything needed into it also left a few minor logic hiccups at the end.

Despite this, I enjoyed the adventure thoroughly and loved accompanying Rue as she discovers herself, learns to come to terms with her past, fights with inspiring loyalty, and simply portrays a heroine worth rooting for. There are some more brutal moments in this one (for sensitive readers). Also, there is a hint of romance, but it's really only a hint. After all, Rue's got a ton on her plate, and there's only so much even a girl like her has time to think about. Even here, there seem to be promises of more in the upcoming books. This is definitely an engaging read, and I'm looking forward to seeing where Rue goes next.

1 comment:

Natalie Aguirre said...

Glad you enjoyed this so much. I saw it on the #21der's debut group website and was intrigued. I like that it's set in two worlds. I'll try to reserve this at my library. Thanks!