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Wings of Ebony (Wings of Ebony #1)
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
-Excerpt taken from Goodreads
Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.
(3.5 / 5) This was a balance of contemporary with fantasy and a powerful message that was intertwined with a tough chick fantasy story.
Rue has an in-your-face attitude and she stands up for people and rights. She did not back down and I admired her tenacity and fortitude. She kept what was dear to her close, and fought for everything she believed in. She’s tough, she doubts, but she blazes on with enough grit to move any obstacle in her way. I love the message this sends to teens about being black and being a woman.
The fast pacing slowed considerably at some points and it became difficult to maintain interest. I’m still not sure if Ghizan (the magical world) was another place, an alter reality or something else. It was hard to picture this world and hard to follow the magic and it’s rules. It seemed a bit different for everyone.
It has a raw and unapologetic message about race. The messages are in your face with no holds barred. It was not sugar-coated at all and I felt I dipped my toes in every day black life.
Content summary: Language was excessive for a YA novel and the violence could be too much for sensitive readers. There are many highly emotional moments with violence.
Thank you to Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing for the gifted copy in exchange for an honest review. This book releases January 26, 2021.
Detailed Content Review
Derogatory terms etc
Niggas (term of endearment)
AF (as f—-)
MF (mother f—-)
Effing (“That’s effing great)
RBF (resting b*tch face)
Alcohol, Drugs, Smoking
A mom smoked while braiding hair.
People say a woman smokes jpango leaves all day.
A young woman pretends she’s “blowing a blunt” (smoking marajuana).
A man uses a syringe to put a tracker in a young woman.
A man is required to give a young woman truth serum.
A young boy has “crack heads” for parents. They leave for days at a time.
A young woman recommends meekle for pain. Last time she took it she felt weird for a week though.
A young woman gives an unwilling man, truth serum.
Intimacy, Sex, Immodesty
*No LGBTQ+ aspects included*
A young woman kisses a man.
Violence, Weapons, Crime, Blood
A mother is shot and killed. No explanation, no investigation. One of her daughters relives the moment in detail a few times. Her grief is very evident. It replays in detail at one point and she replays the terror of trying to hide her sister as she hears shots.
A woman hits a young woman in the thighs with a stick.
A man wraps his hand around a young woman’s throat.
Using magic, a young woman causes pain to a man and he falls.
A man holds a gun to a young woman’s head. A young woman digs a tracker out of the back of her head with a butter knife. Blood drips.
A young woman remembers her mom’s blood on the railing she put her hands on.
A young man is tied and gagged with blood running down his face. He is hit in the face with a metal chair and spits blood. Men kick him and stomp on his head then shoot him. A young woman watches then tries to help him as he dies.
A man shoots at a man and young woman. A bullet grazes the young woman.
During a magic ceremony, hot stones burn a young woman and her insides hurt. The burns split her skin.
A young man has been shot and killed.
A man grabs a young woman from behind and she tries fighting him off. She hits him with a hard object. Her hands are sticky with his blood. A man with a bat comes with a man with a gun. They grab her by her hair, pulling. A woman hits one with a large can. She hears a crunch and blood drips down his face. A gun is pushed on a young woman’s temple. A man hits her legs with a bat. A young woman fights men, injuring them then pointing a gun. She shoots as a threat. Men throw homemade bombs into houses and women and children run out. The young woman tackles a man, hits him and digs her thumbs in his eyes.
Men disappear into a house. They tie up a woman and her granddaughter. The grandma has a small cut above her eye. The men have guns. A young woman uses a rope to choke a man. She makes it tighter and tighter until he falls. Dead? She takes his gun. She uses her magic to throw a man across the room. Her magic burns him as he screams. She punches another in the face, knocking him out.
A man and young woman fight with magic and fire, each injuring the other. The man makes a machete with his magic. The young woman throws bullets of fire. The young woman is hit and can’t stand, a young girl claws at a man with her nails. The man grabs the girls hair and pulls her. Two are taken hostage.
A man hits a girl on the head. A young woman chokes a man with her handcuffs. A man and young woman fight with magic.
A young woman drags a tied man behind her. A young woman punches a man, knocking him down, then punching him more and kicking him. Another young woman kicks him.
A young woman tried to write a sign in a man’s blood but it was too sticky. He’s bound and tied to a chair, bloody. A young woman slaps him.
Potentially Intense Themes
A young woman sees a young woman and man in a car accident. It plays it out in slow motion. A young woman gets a gash in her head. Gasoline leaks and a fire starts. A young woman tries to save a young woman from the fire.
Two sisters unconsciously stop in front of the place where their mom was killed.
A previous sickness killed many.
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This sounds intense! So unfortunate that it includes excessive profanity for YA.
I got this the other day – I’m excited to check it out.
100+ uses of one swear word?? See that’s just defeating the purpose of the book IMO, should use different and better/more intelligent vocab to tell a story