Tropes are Good, Actually: Ashes of Gold by J. Elle

Release Date: January 11, 2022
Series: Wings of Ebony #2
Publisher: Denene Millner Books
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy


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.

My Thoughts

The duology begins with Wings of Ebony and Rue struggling to find her place in her new life. A bold Black girl raised in the East Row (a fictionalized version of Houston, Texas’ Third Ward) Rue and her younger half-sister Tasha were separated after their mother was killed by an unknown assailant. Rue’s biological father, a man she had never met and knew almost nothing about, took her to Ghizon, a magical world off the coast of Madagascar, and left Tasha behind. A year later, Rue has access to magic but feels isolated. Nearly everyone in Ghizon has gray skin, making her stand out even more. In their highly stratified society, Rue fits in nowhere…and doesn’t want to.

Read the rest of this review at

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a review copy. Buy it at (affiliate link).

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