Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Wings of Ebony (Wings of Ebony, #1)” as Want to Read:
Wings of Ebony (Wings of Ebony, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Wings of Ebony

(Wings of Ebony #1)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  1,411 ratings  ·  487 reviews
**An INSTANT New York Times and Indie bestseller**

"An ode to family, true belonging and magic." - starred review, School Library Journal

"This is the debut fantasy we need right now!" --Ms. Magazine

#1 of 9 Young Adult Novels We're Excited for -- Essence

Perfect for fans of Angie Thomas, Tomi Adeyemi, and The Hunger Games. The entire first printing of this novel will be signe
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published January 26th 2021 by Denene Millner Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Wings of Ebony, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,411 ratings  ·  487 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Wings of Ebony (Wings of Ebony, #1)
Sabaa Tahir
Oct 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book so much. I loved badass, beautiful Rue, who was sometimes brave and sometimes questioned herself, just like all of us. I loved Rue's relationship with her sister and the people of her old neighborhood. Occasionally with urban fantasy, authors rely too much on our familiarity with the modern world, and don't create a sense of originality and depth in their worldbuilding. That's not the case with J. Elle. Her worldbuilding is intriguing and layered, leaving you with the feeling t ...more
♠ TABI⁷ ♠
Jul 24, 2019 marked it as to-read

no one convince me that this isn't the reincarnation of Rue from The Hunger Games because I'm just gonna live happily in this headcanon of mine
Lauren Lanz
The problem I often find with short fantasy novels is that there’s just not enough time to develop a believable world. I was really looking forward to Wings of Ebony, so I'm sad it underwhelmed me. I had a hard time connecting to the characters, and discovered that the magic and worldbuilding elements really fell flat for me.

Before I begin with my criticisms, I feel I should say this: Wings of Ebony is not a terrible book. Sure, some parts of the story weren’t as great as I expected, though I se
Unknown Reviews
Sep 03, 2020 marked it as to-read
A book about a black girl who is half-human, half-god? Where can I get an advanced copy? :)
Ms. Woc Reader
Jan 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
Whew! I wasn't ready! This book hit hard! To say Rue has had it hard would be a huge understatement. Still reeling from her mother's death and being whisked away to a foreign land against her will by her father, Rue has escaped back to her old stomping grounds in search of her little sister, Tasha. In Ghizon she's an outsider among gray skinned beings who are nothing like her community back home. East Row gets a bad rep but she loves her neighborhood and would do anything to protect it. Lately i ...more
Feb 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021jan, 2021
Star Rating: —> 5 [ Glimmering, Glistening, GOLD ] Stars

Just... WOW. Wowwowwowwow. THIS WAS... EVERYTHING! So fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. I can't... i just can't stop crying! It's a good thing, though.

A lush fantasy, BRILLIANTLY written, with so many parallels to our own world, the state it is in... my God this novel is so... NEEDED. SO moving. And yet it is so much more than that. This truly affected me SO MUCH. The sense of humor throughout the novel is incredible as well—it makes
Feb 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
this book was great. it tackles important issues and it’s super action packed. I enjoyed this book completely. I like how fast pace it was. I enjoy short books. I agree that there could have been more world building however it was nothing that bothered me. I can’t wait for a book two I feel like we’re in for another huge ride.
Nenia Campbell
Aug 27, 2020 marked it as wishlist

Please let me wake up tomorrow and have it be February
Mar 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Rue, the protagonist in Wings of Ebony, is the antitheses of what America would love black girls to be. In a country where black girls are constantly being told to tone it down, Rue is like, bump that, we turning up.

J.Elle has written a book that gives us a brave, no-nonsense black girl, blessed with more magic than she knows, and a mind that doesn’t stop until everything makes sense. She doesn’t mince words. She says what’s on her mind, you can pardon her French or not, and asks the hard quest
Feb 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars

TW: Police brutality, violence against minors, gore, gun violence, drugs, racism. Please check a for a more comprehensive list.

I want more fantasy books set in the southern states, I am strictly talking about books set in the U.S. by the way - I’m all for diverse, international settings. We have a plethora of books set along the East Coast and California, we get it, we understand the appeal, but let’s see something different ,please. Also, yes
Happy publishing day to this beautiful work of Art!!🎉😘🎊

4.5 stars

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

Wings of Ebony, J. Elle

That's the first line of the book and if that doesn't tell you exactly how good the book is then I don't know what will.

I really enjoyed this book and managed to finish it in two days, despite having a mountain load of school work. I just could not put it down. J. Elle managed to make such a fascinati
Feb 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
it didn't take a lot for me to cry over this book. i think the tears started streaming when i was 2? call me a cry baby but i call that J. Elle's talent.

this book was written in such a pure and raw way, it made me emotionally instantly. the story and Rue's feelings literally swallowed me entirely. i'd like someone to pay for my tissues from now on, at least when reading books like this because let me tell you: they are running out FAST.

the tears are not all i love about this book, of c
Nikki S
Jul 03, 2019 rated it really liked it

Listen, if you know me, you KNOW this is EVERYTHING I could want in a book. And that's just from the description. Pitched as Wonder Woman and The Hate U Give in a Wakandan world? Can I have it now please? PLEASE?????


And now in the synopsis it says "a Black teen in Houston" and OMG IF THIS ISN'T ME!!!!!! It keeps getting better and better! I need this yesterday! How can I make this happen?!


I saw the audio is narrated by Bahni Turpin and I decided that's how I need t
Ashley Reisinger
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wings of Ebony is a fast-paced adventure filled with determination and heartbreak. Following the journey of Rue--a fiery, compassionate young woman who can't seem to guard her heart against the cry of her community and her people--reminds us what it means to be so quintessentially human. The story is a beautifully woven tapestry layered with meaning and purpose. If you don't come out the other side a changed person, I don't think you were reading it properly. ...more
i got this as an arc today and i'm crying.

this is without a doubt one of my most anticipated debuts of 2021.

Thank you NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for making this dream come true. All thoughts—when posted—will be my own!
Toya (the reading chemist)
Jan 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is one of those situations where I don’t think my review will do this book justice. There are literally too many incredibly important topics covered in a raw and unflinching manner.

Following the senseless murder of her mother, Rue is unexpectedly uprooted from her life in Houston’s East Row to the hidden magical island of Ghizon (tucked off the coast of Africa). The problem is that Rue’s 12 year old sister Tasha was left behind and East Row is becoming even more dangerous.

Rue is the chara
ahaana ☽
Feb 18, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs, fantasy
Wings of Ebony is a powerful, unflinching debut that isn’t afraid to address critical issues in today’s world under an honest light. Important themes such as Racism, and Gang Violence are highlighted throughout the book, and are given the attention they deserve. Along with this, we see multiple journeys of self discovery and exploration, that help make the characters feel so much more relatable, and will have you gripping the edge of your seat, wondering if they’ll make it out the next time. Raw ...more
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes you read a book and you think "oh, that was fun" and never really think about it again. Then, there are times you read a book and you think "wow, this is going to really TOUCH people out there." This was one of those latter times. There is such an accessible and cinematographic quality to J.Elle's writing which sucks you in from the start. And you start by thinking this is going to be a fun quest story about magic and hidden worlds. Then as the story gets deeper, you start to feel the ...more
Jamie (TheRebelliousReader)
”Moms raised a diamond and diamonds don't crack.”

5 stars. Talk about a strong debut. My goodness. This was easily a five star book for me.

This review is going to be long and full of rambling so buckle up.

This book was unapologetically Black af and I absolutely loved it. From the way that it’s written, the culture, to the way the characters spoke it was all very Black. The characters speak in AAVE and they don’t code switch* their way of speaking at all depending on who they’re talking to w
Mar 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book might have rekindled my love for YA fantasy! Rue is such an amazing relatable character, who made this book so special. I loved the magic and world, and I was on the edge of my seat through every turn in the story. I'm so excited for the sequel!! I promise if you're like me and have been moving away from YA fantasy, this one is still entirely worth reading. It's an important, beautiful story, with an essential message. ...more
Thistle & Verse
I'll just say that if you're on the fence about this book, definitely pick it up. It's a very unique contemporary fantasy, and you probably haven't read anything like it before. I dithered a lot about what rating to give it. I related to Rue's mistrust of authority. Ghizon isn't really the focus of the story until the end. It's a very hostile place, and Rue doesn't want to be there. The heart of this story is in the East Row, which Elle describes with love and nuance. Majority of the story is na ...more
Feb 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
My most anticipated book of the year, did it live up to my expectations? YES.

I wasn't expecting to cry so much, but here we are. Wings of Ebony is really emotional, J. Elle managed to get all the feels across perfectly.

The length surprised me. Not negatively though, I was in the mood for something fast paced and not overly long so this was perfect.

I have some unanswered questions (view spoiler)
Dnf at 56%
Ahhhhh why couldn't i read this one i have no clew. I just need to give it a try at some point in future.
laurel [the suspected bibliophile]
DNF at 30%

Just not feeling it. After three days of not touching it and staring at it and thinking I should probably just finish it already, it's time to set it aside and move on. Another it's not you, it's me and my 2020 mood DNF.

I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review.
Jan 06, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways, own
It's a hard book to rate. From the one hand it carries a great message and have an extremely likable main heroine but from the other hand it's just too short and as a result it doesn't reach it's full potential.

We are following Rue, a spunky, no-nonsense teenage girl that grew up in Huston. After her mother was murdered she was taken to the magical island of Ghizon by her father where she is getting bound to magic. The whole story starts when Rue sneaks off Ghizon to visit her younger sister tha
Jan 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
I have made it to the end and I LOVED it. This book is at once YA, but something I would have no problem (and will probably) handing over to my 5th grade nephew. The cover may be purple/pink and gold but there is something there for everyone.

Rue is just a girl in her hood, East Row. Or at least she was just a girl. Until the day her mother died. She had no idea that magic existed, and that she can possess it. But in typical fashion for someone who feels abandoned, she is not too happy with the
Book 45 of 2021

This was a very highly anticipated read for me, and I was glad to finally get the audiobook. I shot it right to the top of my TBR, and it was ultimately a great book with a strong message.

When I started this book, I enjoyed how fast paced it was, even though it took me a long time to form any attachment to the characters. This book was full of action and emotions, and it was very enjoyable.

This book tells the story of Rue, and her adventures in Ghizon, a secret magical world where
Jan 13, 2021 added it
This is a DNF for me at just over 100 pages. I REALLY wanted to enjoy this because the premise is so cool, but the MC is frustrating and so is her sister. The storytelling is also kind of messy (for me).

I hope others enjoy it more than I did!

Happy reading!
Jessica Froberg
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Rue's powerful voice that is unapologetic and determined to seek justice for her people is what shines here. This book doesn't hold back on tough issues and weaves them beautifully within a magically thrilling adventure. J. Elle grabs you by the hand and pulls you through her book in a way that makes it accessible and very personal. Sometimes so personal that you have to sit back and reexamine yourself.

I liked the dynamic between the real world scenes and those
Britt Writerly
Jan 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
THE Caveat: First, all the Black books we have are wins. From Toni Morrison to Tracy Deonn. It’s always a win. The things I say in this review are specifically in reference to 1) ya fantasy 2) a very particular story being called worthy, so it’s truly no shade to any other Black author or book. This is MY truth based on MY life so leave me be. I’m saying this here because I’m not about to put a bunch of qualifiers throughout this review. They’re here. I love a variety of Black stories.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Gilded Ones (Deathless, #1)
  • Amari and the Night Brothers (Supernatural Investigations, #1)
  • A Dark and Hollow Star (A Dark and Hollow Star, #1)
  • The Cost of Knowing
  • Legendborn (Legendborn, #1)
  • Happily Ever Afters
  • Muted
  • One of Us Is Next (One of Us Is Lying, #2)
  • Raybearer (Raybearer, #1)
  • Chlorine Sky
  • We Are the Fire
  • Make Up Break Up
  • Tales From the Hinterland (The Hazel Wood, #2.5)
  • Something Happened to Ali Greenleaf (Something Happened to Ali Greenleaf, #1)
  • Lore
  • One of the Good Ones
  • Shine your Icy Crown (You Are Your Own Fairy Tale, #2)
  • Firekeeper's Daughter
See similar books…
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 sc ...more

Other books in the series

Wings of Ebony (2 books)
  • Wings of Ebony 2 (Wings of Ebony, #2)

Articles featuring this book

If one of your favorite bookish activities is discovering fledgling authors, then you're in for quite a treat this year with the wonderful...
101 likes · 9 comments
“If you ever find you’ve nowhere else to go, you come here to these books and find yourself.” 0 likes
“Now… I don’t know what I feel. Nothing. Is that a feeling?” 0 likes
More quotes…