“Make a way out of no way” is just the way of life for Rue. But when her mother is shot dead on her doorstep, life for her and her younger sister changes forever. Rue’s taken from her neighborhood by the father she never knew, forced to leave her little sister behind, and whisked away to Ghizon—a hidden island of magic wielders. Rue is the only half-god, half-human there, where leaders protect their magical powers at all costs and thrive on human suffering. Miserable and desperate to see her sister on the anniversary of their mother’s death, Rue breaks Ghizon’s sacred Do Not Leave Law and returns to Houston, only to discover that Black kids are being forced into crime and violence. And her sister, Tasha, is in danger of falling sway to the very forces that claimed their mother’s life. Worse still, evidence mounts that the evil plaguing East Row is the same one that lurks in Ghizon—an evil that will stop at nothing until it has stolen everything from her and everyone she loves. Rue must embrace her true identity and wield the full magnitude of her ancestors’ power to save her neighborhood before the gods burn it to the ground.
I’ve been excited for this book since I found out the slightest inkling of what it was about. A girl who is half-god and half-human was enough to sell me on this book. Plus, along with the cover and the amazing marketing the author is doing for this book, I was completely drawn to this book. Trigger warnings: violence, racism, drugs, blood
This book was everything that it was promised to be. It’s the kind of good that I felt down to my bones, the kind of good that can only be best described as GOOD, all caps necessary. It’s a book that knows exactly what it’s doing, and it does it well.
One of the best thing in this book were the characters. It’s a book built on family, the kind of family that isn’t bound by blood. It’s the best kind of found family, the kind that will go out on a limb to keep each other safe. I loved Rue. Stubborn enough to look anything in the eye and tell it no. To really encompass my love: she doesn’t like cats, but I love her anyway. That’s how awesome she was!
The side characters were just as much of a highlight as Rue was. I have a soft spot for Tasha, Rue’s little sister. I dunno, she’s just adorable, but just as fierce as her sister is. Julius and Jhamal were also highlights. They’re so different, but they both deeply care about Rue, and are ready to face the world head on. I also really liked Bri, even though she has a lot to learn. Plus, Rue’s dad, Leola, and everything single character I was introduced to (that wasn’t a straight up jerk), I fell completely in love with. They felt so real, and they are so easy to fall in love with.
I know I’ve said so many times that books that take place in a fantasy world and the real world don’t usually mesh well with me, and then I say I love a certain book like that. Well, here’s another one! This one doesn’t quite have a fantasy world, it’s more magic in the real world. But still, there is a fantasy world, kind of. The point is, I loved how these worlds mesh together, both of them reflecting each other and bleeding into each other until the differences don’t seem so different. Plus, magic and beautiful scenery and Rue being totally badass is just a recipe for awesomeness.
Another thing that I really loved was the storytelling in general. I know that’s a hard thing to measure, and I can usually pinpoint something more specific that I liked. But for this book, it really was how it was constructed overall. The writing, the way flashbacks are intertwined with the present, and how events move along. It is all expertly done and it left me in awe of Elle’s talent.
Overall, this was a really incredible book, one that mixes technology and magic, one that is all about family, the one’s found and the blood ones, one that is incredibly crafted, and has characters that are so easy to fall in love with. Because this whole book is just amazing.