Book Tours & Author Interviews

Blog Tour: Wings of Ebony by J. Elle

An enjoyable read that exceeded so many of my expectations! I am so excited to present my review, hosted by Shealea over at Caffeine Book Tours. This is a book that had been on my radar for a while, and I’m so glad I was able to pick it up and participate in this tour. Check out the launch post here!

This entire review will, of course, be spoiler free!

Rating: ☆☆☆☆

Title: Wings of Ebony

Author(s): J. Elle

Cover artist: Taj Francis

Published: January 26th 2021 by Denene Millner Books

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Age group: Young Adult

Genre(s): fantasy

Read as: ebook

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(Synopsis)

In this riveting, keenly emotional debut fantasy, a Black teen from Houston has her world upended when she learns about her godly ancestry and must save both the human and god worlds — think Black Panther-meets-Cassandra Clare!

“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.

Trigger/Content warnings:

  • Representations of gun violence (not graphic)
  • Reference to drugs
  • Reference to murder
  • Reference to genocide
  • On-page racism
  • Violence

Review

(Disclaimer: Thank you to the publisher, Simon & Schuster, as well as Caffeine Book Tours for providing me with a free ARC of this book as part of my participation in this tour. This does not in any way affect my honest review and all thoughts are my own.)

To start off, I loved and enjoyed this book; I am so glad I read it and would absolutely recommend it to anyone looking for an entertaining and impactful fantasy novel.

The writing was extremely well done, I feel like Elle truly captured the essence of characters this age, and I loved reading and seeing things through Rue’s perspective. I enjoy books where much of the world building is done by seeing through the eyes of the main character, and that’s how it was in this story. 

I feel the magic system was quite simple, and that is probably the only criticism I have. I prefer more complex and layered magic systems, though I know many readers prefer straightforward magic systems that are easier to follow, so I wouldn’t necessarily consider this to be a negative, more of a subjective thing. 

Bullets don’t have names. But if they did, chances are one would have mine. Or someone brown-skinned like me.”

I absolutely adored the relationship between Rue and her sister. I love to read about sibling relationships in books and I was so happy to see the portrayal of one in this story. 

The novel is quite short, at least compared to most fantasy novels, but it is able to pack a punch in a very fast paced and action packed plot. It’s the kind of storyline that has you on the edge of your seat, flipping through the pages (or swiping, if you were reading through an ebook as I was) as fast as you can. The storyline as a whole was easy to follow, which I appreciate. 

The entire cast of characters were well written and easy to fall in love with, but Rue really stole the show. She was a protagonist who I quickly attached to, and I feel she’s one who it is easy for readers to root for. You get inside her head and see all her emotions and thought processes, and that makes her feel so real. Her strength is so much more than just her magic, and I loved that. 

The way that Rue was brave, and we know she’s powerful, but she still sometimes hesitates, or questions herself, is such a raw quality. It made her such a well fleshed out and layered character. 

Moms raised a diamond… “And diamonds don’t crack.

This is the kind of book that makes me feel like maybe I’ve been missing out on urban fantasy. While I haven’t read many, this has probably some of the best world-building I’ve ever seen in the genre. 

There is quite a bit of commentary in this book, subjects such as appropriation and social injustice; some of it is subtle and all of it is very well done and integrated beautifully into the story. 

I think J. Elle is an incredibly talented and gifted writer and I cannot wait to see what she puts out in the future. This was such a strong debut and I would definitely recommend this book to any fan of fantasy, or just any fan of good books. 

You can check out the book on Amazon or Goodreads!!

Meet 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.

Check out her Goodreads, Twitter, as well as her Website!

The Book Tour

For more exciting content about Wings of Ebony, as well as other reviews from some great bloggers, check out the tour schedule!

Another huge thank you to Caffeine Book Tours for letting me a part of this tour!

Have you read this book, or do you plan to? What is a debut that you’ve read that you really enjoyed? Any urban fantasy reads to recommend? Let me know, and let’s chat in the comments! Happy Reading!

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7 thoughts on “Blog Tour: Wings of Ebony by J. Elle

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