Author: Jordan Ifueko
Publisher: Abrams Books
Pub Date: 08/18/20
Genre: YA Fantasy
Edition: Advanced Reader’s Copy (ARC)
Nothing is more important than loyalty. But what if you’ve sworn to protect the one you were born to destroy?
Tarisai has always longed for the warmth of a family. She was raised in isolation by a mysterious, often absent mother known only as The Lady. The Lady sends her to the capital of the global empire of Aritsar to compete with other children to be chosen as one of the Crown Prince’s Council of 11. If she’s picked, she’ll be joined with the other Council members through the Ray, a bond deeper than blood.
That closeness is irresistible to Tarisai, who has always wanted to belong somewhere. But The Lady has other ideas, including a magical wish that Tarisai is compelled to obey: Kill the Crown Prince once she gains his trust. Tarisai won’t stand by and become someone’s pawn—but is she strong enough to choose a different path for herself?
“But I knew, deep down, that love had never fixed anyone. It had only given them the strength to try over, and over, and over again.”Tarisai
I’ve read over 150 books this year and Raybearer is easily one of the best and one of my new favorites. Ifueko did what she needed to do okay. I love the way folklore and myths are universal and that the same themes can be found in cultures all over the world, but at the same time this story felt so unique and new. Ifueko blended so many cultural elements into a riveting and fascinating YA fantasy.
This book started strong straight from the beginning with the introduction of The Lady and the curse. I was like wow okay this is how it’s gonna be. The different Hallows (abilities) we learn about were so interesting to me, and I loved getting so much of the story explained through Tarisai’s Hallow. The fantasy aspect of this book was so beautifully and thoughtfully constructed and Ifueko’s worldbuilding was magnificent to read. I didn’t want to leave Aritsar after finishing this book.
I loved every romantic relationship in this book and can’t wait for them to be expanded upon in the second, although I feel like Ifueko is going to take us on a wild journey. As long as Woo In and Sanjeet are happy, I’ll be content. For now, I’m scared they’ll get their hearts broken.
Let’s talk about the characters now and how I could write a five page on essay on why Dayo is the sweetest person to exist and Sanjeet deserves every good thing to happen to him. Ifueko wrote such complex characters all with weaknesses that for the most part you learn to accept and love. Even the less savory characters in the story like The Lady are more complex than you are led to believe, and I wrestled even to the end with how I felt about her. I love books where the author leaves it up to you to decide whether a character is redeemable or not.
This book was divided into four parts and after every part I needed to talk to someone about what was happening, so I told my mom and she was just as invested in the story as I was. I loved seeing her react to what I telling her in the same way I did when I was reading it.
Nothing I expected to happen at the end happened, and I was constantly shook. I also didn’t expect for the ending to be so emotional, and I almost shed a few tears. I cannot wait for the sequel to this book, and Ifueko is definitely an author who I’ll read anything else she writes after this. Her writing and storytelling is impeccable, and I found so much joy in reading her work. There’s so much more I could say about this book, but I’ll leave it at this: please read this book for yourself. It’s the best gift you can give yourself.
“Monsters were nothing. The true terrors were people like me — the ones who saw suffering, who heard the screams of a hundred generations echoing for miles around them—and still did nothing.”Tarisai
Now this is a very short playlist, but y’all it took me a couple hours to make these. I listened to so many songs, and none of them were fitting with what I wanted. So please enjoy these songs that I think align with characters from Raybearer.
Jordan Ifueko is a Nigerian-American author of Young Adult fiction. She stans revolutionary girls and 4C curls. RAYBEARER is her debut novel.
Where to Buy
Thank you so much for reading my review of Raybearer for this book tour. If you want to see the other amazing posts of people on this tour, check out the schedule on Hear Our Voices.
*Thank you to the publisher and Hear Our Voices for a free copy of this book. All opinions are my own*