Thank you to the publisher Caffeine Book Tours for sending my an ARC in exchange for an honest review and for having me on this blog tour for Wings of Ebony.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
“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 neighbourhood 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 neighbourhood before the gods burn it to the ground.
I really loved this book and the magic system that the author has created. But mostly I just really loved how Rue and her whole community looked out and helped each other. How when she needed people to have her back they were there for her even though they aren’t her blood relatives because family isn’t only those who you are related to, it’s the people who are there for you when you need them.
The story starts and we are thrown right into the it and throughout the story we are told through flashbacks what happened in the last year that lead to the moments we see in the first chapter. It was really interesting to read the story like this as we are slowly fed information about the magic system, Ghizon and East Row which made it more intriguing.
When people we love are in danger and we have the means to stop it – we do something. Even if it’s against the rules.
Rue is such a wonderful character, she doesn’t take crap from anyone and fiercely protective over those she loves but she will still call them out if they do something wrong and honestly that’s the best type of friend. She is empathetic and caring but she’s also stubborn and finds it hard to rely on anyone or ask for help because she feels it’s her against the world but I loved seeing her slowly realise she isn’t alone. One of things about her I really loved was that she is afraid but it doesn’t stop her from doing what is right and to get justice for those who couldn’t get it for themselves. Her protectiveness over her sister was so relatable as I’m also an older sibling and I just felt for her that she feels responsible for her sister and the guilt at not being able to do more for her.
It was also so heart breaking to read about her grief for her mum and her complicated relationship with her dad as she only meets him after her mum dies and he just drags her away from everyone and everything at a time when she needs those who she loves and knows. I really liked seeing that over time she slowly becomes more open to speaking to her dad but that doesn’t mean she absolves him of never being there or dragging her away to Ghizon, even though he explains why. It just felt so much real. Basically I just really loved Rue and I cannot wait to see what she will do in the sequel especially after that ending!
Who expects their history be erased?
I also loved the discussions on colonisation and erasing history and twisting to make the colonisers the heroes. It was just so real and hard hitting and it would make me stop reading to just think and reflect on what I read. I also loved how Rue calls Bri out for centring herself and making herself the victim when Rue tells her how the magic was stolen. I was literally screaming YESS when I read those scenes.
There was also some incredible discussions on how people view certain communities, always assuming the worst from those people when all they are trying to do is get on with their lives and they want to provide the best for their kids just like the white people from more affluent neighbourhoods. How the people there are mostly ordinary people who live in fear because of the violence that could come for them any day. How youth are killed for refusing to be forced into a life of crime. How a young person can be manipulated by adults into a life of crime and violence and then find there isn’t a way out. How often the one doing this isn’t even from their neighbourhood but from somewhere else and yet it these people who suffer.
We gotta be twice as good from the start to get half of what other people get. People everywhere waiting for us to fail.
This is such a wonderful book with an incredible story and a great main character. I highly recommend reading it!