Book Review: Ashes of Gold by J. Elle

About the Book:

Title: Ashes of Gold

Author: J. Elle

Series: Wings of Ebony #2

Page Length: 416

Publication Date: Jan. 11, 2022

Synopsis: In the heart-pounding conclusion to the Wings of Ebony duology, which #1 New York Times bestselling author Nicole Yoon calls “bold, inventive, big-hearted and deeply perceptive,” Rue makes her final stand to reclaim her people’s stolen magic.

Rue has no memory of how she ended up locked in a basement prison without her magic or her allies. But she’s a girl from the East Row. And girls from the East Row don’t give up. Girls from the East Row pick themselves back up when they fall. Girls from the East Row break themselves out.

But reuniting with her friends is only half the battle. When she finds them again, Rue makes a vow: she will find a way to return the magic that the Chancellor has stolen from her father’s people. Yet even on Yiyo Peak, Rue is a misfit—with half a foot back in Houston and half a heart that is human as well as god, she’s not sure she’s the right person to lead the fight to reclaim a glorious past.

When a betrayal sends her into a tailspin, Rue must decide who to trust and how to be the leader that her people deserve…because if she doesn’t, it isn’t just Yiyo that will be destroyed—it will be Rue herself. 

LINKS:   Goodreads   |    Amazon

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My Review:

Sometimes you gotta remember where you came from, to understand the purpose in where you going.

Described as “The Hate You Give” meets “Wonder Woman” in a “Black Panther” world, Ashes of Gold is an epic conclusion to the Wings of Ebony duology! Filled with action, intrigue, betrayal, and so much heart, Rue’s journey continues as she works to reclaim the magic that was stolen, and I enjoyed every heart-pounding minute of it.

The world-building throughout this duology is incredible! It’s detailed, vivid, and immersive, and I found each new setting easy to visualize. Though very different from our world, Ghizon is also quite similar. For example, throughout her journey, Rue sees the detrimental effects of corruption, racism, war, social inequities, and the consuming thirst for power. This adds to her already fierce determination to bring balance back and bring the right people to justice. I found many of the non-magical issues presented to be very relatable and relevant.

Hope is its own kind of magic.

Rue is a fantastic protagonist! Tenacious and determined, she fights for what she believes in and proves that you can be both fierce and vulnerable. Rue is loyal and courageous, and she has a huge heart. I love how she learns from her mistakes and always tries to do and be better while still staying true to herself. Rue is quite hard on herself, and her failures weigh heavily on her. Self-doubt, fear, insecurity, and guilt prove difficult obstacles for Rue to face as Rue learns more about the world of Ghizon, its magic, its connection to her home, and her connection to it all.

The secondary characters in the story are intriguing and dynamically developed as well. From potential love interests to friends to Rue’s younger sister and more, the supporting characters are compelling and layered. Rue learns a lot from the people in her life, both good and bad, and they definitely influence her feelings and actions. I like the introduction of some new characters and how they affect the dynamics already in place. Rue quickly realizes that there are only a few people she can implicitly trust, as secrets, lies, and betrayal are brought to the surface.

The seed of good intentions can still sprout a poisonous bloom.

The story also highlights the power of strong women and the bonds of sisterhood, which is fantastic! Rue is surrounded by strong, independent women in both Ghizon and her home, and I think she learns a lot from the women in her life. And oh my word, the twists and turns! This story is intense! There were a few shocks that I totally didn’t see coming, and, I admit, a couple of them broke my heart. Luckily, other parts of the story are heart-warming and hopeful, which made for a well-balanced and well-paced read.

If you enjoyed Wings of Ebony, you are going to love Ashes of Gold. It’s an intense and engrossing conclusion to the duology with amazing characters, unique magic, and strong messages about racism, community, family, friendship, and what it means to be a good leader. Special thanks to Books Forward, and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.


Favorite Parts:

  • Rue. She is an amazing protagonist, and I loved her journey.
  • The twists and turns and surprise revelations.
  • The world-building.

Favorite Lines:

Joy, Jelani, is the greatest form of rebellion.

“We don’t get to choose the days we fight,” I say. “They choose us. The only thing we can do is be ready.”

A name is important. Every letter is intentional, has meaning, a piece that makes up the whole.

Never love anyone or anything so much that it changes who you are, what lengths you’ll go to. That is not love, child. That is fear.

Mercy isn’t a weakness. Like stubbornness, you just have to know when to wield it.


I would recommend reading Wings of Ebony before reading Ashes of Gold. It is not a standalone. That being said, if you like YA fantasy, urban fantasy, or ya fiction, I would definitely recommend this book!

8 thoughts on “Book Review: Ashes of Gold by J. Elle

  1. Glad the sequel was good! I haven’t decided if I want to read this duology or not, lol. I do like the covers!

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