by Jordan Ifueko
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?
Well, to put it simply… this book was nothing short of incredible, huh?
I am glad that this was the first book I picked up because it really gave 2021 the best start reading-wise. Obviously I had been hearing good things about this fantasy debut for ages so I knew I needed to pick it up sharpish. And omg, how glad I am that I did.
Raybearer is a debut fantasy YA novel that follows the story of Tarisai, who after her enigmatic mother known as The Lady orders her to join the Crown Prince’s council only to kill him when she gains his trust, must battle with what is right and wrong and what she was born to do.
I thought this was an incredible novel. The history and the world-building was so rich, as soon as I was a few pages in I was completely immersed in the story of Tarisai and the world. The characters were all so brilliant too, each had their own characteristics and flaws and were really the heart of this novel. It was clear there was so much thought and imagination put into creating this world and setting and it really paid off.
I love how steadily the pace climbed in this book as well. At the beginning it started nice and slow to kind of get us accustomed to the world and these new cultures and traditions that were being introduced, but once we had out feet in the door, it began to speed up and so many twists and revelations followed. It was so hard to put down at times, but at the same time I literally did not want to finish it because I was enjoying it so much.
Ifueko should be so proud of herself for writing such an amazing novel, so rich with emotion and heart and such originality. This is definitely one of the best fantasy novels I’ve read in my life and I cannot wait to see how it continues in the sequel. If you’ve not picked up Raybearer then you seriously need to.