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Saturday, January 16, 2021

Wings of Ebony by J.Elle ARC Book Review

Disclaimer: I received an ARC but it in no way influences my opinion, my thoughts are my own. 

So this is a weird review to write, for many reasons. One this was one of my most anticipated books of 2020 and two I wanted and tried to love it so much. 

I was going to give it a higher star rating, but then I had to really think about it and the fact that it is written by a BPOC person shouldn't mean I have to give it a higher star rating just because it did touch important subjects such as racism, colonialism and oppressions of Black people which is important,  when I really did not enjoy it (the book not the subjects). 

So take this, with this thought in front of your mind, a lot of people did enjoy it so maybe what I did not like you will. 

From the point of view of someone who reads a lot of high fantasy and worked in a book store (one thing that bothered me is that at the beginning of the ARC it says 14+ and 10-14 years old and this book has a lot of swearing which I know parents would not like and thus I would have not been comfortable recommending to parents; I don't mind well placed swearing, within % of the book there had already been just under a dozen swearing incidents and this is a short book that is for young children. It did not affect my rating of the book, this is just a note to keep in mind). 

 I had a lot of expectations that were simply not met in this book. I found myself unable to connect to the world, I have no idea what Ghazan actually looks like and the most interesting information we learn about the world and the sort of castes type thing level in society aren't important and did not resurface in the second half of the book. So it felt like the best part of the book in my opinion was not relevant, or at least what I enjoyed the most.

Because of the time skips and lack of description I often found myself wondering where I was in the storyline or the world It always took me paragraphs if not pages to get an idea of where/when I was. For example, we start the book with Rue and for a long time she (the author) gives us a lot of info about her being in juvie twice, separated from her sister after their mother died, and how she has this magical watch made by Bri her best friend, which okay nice but where am I ?  Between that and finally realizing I am in huston seemingly in the future, she gets arrested and then we have no warning and BOOM we are in the past, with her first meeting Bri. Which took me a while to realize, because there are no indications or descriptions, at least in the ARC of time skips. This made for a very frustrating read where I kept going back to read what I had just read with the new time-line in mind.

Another thing that bothered me is that this book is the writing, I found myself re-reading a lot to try to understand where and when we were, due to it being so dry. Dry in the sense that it was very action driven, again this is a short book and it was a true detriment to my experience. Rather than making this a duology it would've benefited from being one book with more description and character development.

For a fantasy setting to have so little description and make me care so little about it was really disappointing. Ghazan is one dimensional and this is not as advertised, it is not a fantasy, rather it is a fiction book with magical realism, most of the book is spent in Huston not Ghazan. 

Even though we get a lot of random info on characters, I still felt disconnected to them everything felt "surface like" they did not feel tangible. It was more of a "the author said they felt this" so they must be feeling this. Any of them could've died and I wouldn't have cared, for the matter the world could've ended and I would've been like, "huh". (which is not a goal I want to accomplish when I read a book)

Overall, this book was hard to get through because it was hard to get invested into something you know so little about. 

If you want to read half-human, half-god books there are other books that have executed this in a better way, for the age range the Rick Riordan presents has some really loved books (middlegrade) and if you want a fantasy (YA) I have started a couple of other fantasy books by BPOC authors that I am slowly reading and enjoying a lot such as "A song of wraith and ruins" by  Roseanne A. Brown. 

1.5/5 stars.

Unfortunately a flop for me, I hope you will enjoy it a lot more than I did. 


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