Book Reviews

Review: Ashes of Gold by J. Elle

The sequel to Wings of Ebony, Ashes of Gold, has been on my TBR since I finished the first. You know those books which you have been looking forward to so long you forget when it started? That’s me and this one! Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


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.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

My favorite element of Ashes of Gold has to be the way Elle explores leadership. In the wake of startling discoveries and battle casualties, Rue has to figure out how to live up to what people expect. To take up the mantel of being Chosen. Rue has to navigate not only what it means for her, as a leader, but what it means to those around her. Not only that, but in Ashes of Gold the tensions between various communities and her own upbringing start to clash.

How can we work together as a united front given disappointments and divisions? It feels like Rue is always playing catch up. Trying to get used to this new setting and these tensions, while also struggling with her own memory loss. When we lose our memories, what pieces of us do we retain? In the ashes of what we thought would be our victory, how do we regroup? Ashes of Gold is full of action, but what I loved was the exploration of these themes.

For Rue, what does it mean to be Ghizoni? How can she make sense of the tensions she didn’t grow up within? At the same time, Rue must figure out who she can trust. While she may be fixated on her memories, when do we stop looking backwards? It’s easy to get lost in the action in Ashes of Gold. But what ends up deepening the conflicts are exploring the intricacies of the inner tensions and Rue’s journey to figure out how we can trust again.

While I wish I had re-read Wings of Ebony first, I was certainly drawn to Rue’s inner conflict. Find Ashes of Gold on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


What’s the last book that you finished and knew you wanted the next one?

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