Wings of Ebony – J. Elle

Wings of Ebony – J. Elle, Denene Millner Books/ Simon & Schuster, 2021. 9781534470675

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Format: Paperback Arc from 2020

Genre: Magic

What did you like about the book? 17-year-old Rue’s mother was murdered in front of their house a year ago.  Her younger sister, Tasha, is taken to live with relatives while Rue’s absent father, Aasim (Tasha has a different father) shows up to take her to a secret island, Ghizon, where magic is practiced. Rue and Aasim are the only Black people in Ghizon. Using her magic to travel back to Houston to see her sister, no matter how briefly, Rue ends up saving Tasha’s life.  Though resentful of Aasim for his absence in her life, she learns that the magic in Ghizon was stolen from the magical Black people (from whom she is descended) who were forced into a secret life in order to survive.  The general of Ghizon masquerades as a gang boss in Houston, selling drugs to high school kids, murdering others and destroying property.  Rue is determined to stop him (before he stops her) using the new-found magic of her rightful people.

Rue is a very strong, brave woman determined to save her neighborhood and the people that she loves. The tempest that begins brewing from the beginning continues throughout the entire book.  The magical worlds are realistic and well-presented as are all characters, no matter how minor.  The Ghizoni are grey-skinned while all of Rue’s neighborhood is Black.

Anything you did not like about the book?  After the non-stop tension of the entire story, the end did feel a little anti-climactic, but I do believe a sequel is in the works.

To whom would you recommend this book? For anyone lacking confidence in themselves, Rue’s strength could prove inspiring.  For those who like magic and magical worlds set against evil and destruction, in a modern-day format, this is sure to appeal.

Who should buy this book? Public and high school libraries

Where would you shelve it? YA Fiction

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Katrina Yurenka, Retired Librarian, Editor, Youth Services Book Review

Date of Review: September 26, 2021

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