Join BookBrowse today and get access to free books, our twice monthly digital magazine, and more.

Reviews of Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

Raybearer

by Jordan Ifueko

Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko X
Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Aug 2020, 368 pages

    Paperback:
    Aug 2021, 400 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Michelle Anya Anjirbag
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

The epic debut YA fantasy from an incredible new talent - perfect for fans of Tomi Adeyemi and Sabaa Tahir.

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? With extraordinary world-building and breathtaking prose, Raybearer is the story of loyalty, fate, and the lengths we're willing to go for the ones we love.

Chapter 1

I SHOULDN'T HAVE BEEN SURPRISED THAT FAIRIES EXIST.

When elephants passed by in a lumbering sea beneath my window, flecks of light whispered in the dust, dancing above the rows of tusks and leather. I leaned precariously over the sill, hoping to catch a fleck before a servant wrestled me inside.

"Shame-shame, Tarisai," my tutors fretted. "What would The Lady do if you fell?"

"But I want to see the lights," I said.

"They're only tutsu sprites." A tutor herded me away from the window. "Kind spirits. They guide lost elephants to watering holes."

"Or to lion packs," another tutor muttered. "If they're feeling less kind."

Magic, I soon learned, was capricious. When I squinted at the swollen trunk of our courtyard boab tree, a cheeky face appeared. Kye, kye, killer-girl, it snickered before vanishing into the bark.

I was seven when the man with cobalt-fire wings found me. That night, I had decided to search Swana, the second-largest realm in the Arit empire, for my mother. ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

In Raybearer, Ifueko opens the genre of fantasy further, stepping beyond old tropes and stories of power struggles to present something new. She proves that fantasy can be simultaneously diverse, political, and filled with wonder, and in dialogue with more than just a tradition. It's a development that the genre has desperately needed for a long time. She also proves that it's possible to explore the themes of imperialism and colonialism in fantasy without alienating readers and in a way that proffers a new kind of solution at the end, where new potential worlds can be envisioned. Readers who have already explored the worlds crafted by authors such as Tomi Adeyemi and Tamora Pierce will love Raybearer and eagerly await Ifueko's next venture, whether set in Aritsar or another world altogether...continued

Full Review (465 words)

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

(Reviewed by Michelle Anya Anjirbag).

Media Reviews

Entertainment Weekly
All hail Raybearer...Fans of recent breakouts in the genre like Tomi Adeyemi and Sabaa Tahir may just find their next obsession.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Ifueko’s debut is full of lush world building and detailed, Nigerian-inspired mythology, giving life to a myth of epic proportions and a tale that is bound to stick with readers long after they finish it.

NPR
[Raybearer] reads like the work of a seasoned world-builder...Ifueko has created a rich, fresh, fully rounded world and a cast of characters to match; you'll be on tenterhooks as Tarisai figures out how to balance destiny and compulsion, but her prince and her palace companions command equal attention.

Booklist (starred review)
Ifueko's mesmerizing debut stuns as it weaves a tale of loyalty, fate, destiny, family, and revenge. Moreover, it places a dark skinned heroine front and center, who is beautiful and powerful, deadly and compassionate, and vulnerable and tough, giving YA literature more of the diverse representation teens need.

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
The perfectly paced plot is laid against a backdrop of political unrest and intrigue that explores colonialist and imperialist themes, ensuring its continued relevance...A fresh, phenomenal fantasy that begs readers to revel in its brilliant world.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)
[S]tunning...Fierce, kindhearted characters from ethnically and culturally diverse backgrounds enhance the well-paced, exquisitely crafted plot, which thrills and inspires while fostering readers' hope for a sequel.

Student Library Journal
Large-scale but vague world-building and a plot with far-reaching elements beyond Tarisai's immediate concerns make this story needlessly convoluted at times. A dense but promising stand-alone fantasy.

Author Blurb Heidi Heilig, author of The Girl from Everywhere
Fresh and utterly transportive, Raybearer is a fantastical fight for freedom, family, and justice at all costs.

Author Blurb Jessica Khoury, author of The Forbidden Wish and Last of Her Name
Ifueko's world building and prose is nothing short of seductive and I completely adore Tarisai's headstrong, tragic self. This will be a major gem of a release in 2020!

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

Griots and a New Direction for Fantasy

Drawing of Sengalese griotIn Jordan Ifueko's fantasy debut Raybearer, Mbali, one of the Emperor's Council of Eleven, is identified as a griot – "a singer of histories and stories, the most sacred of Arit priests." Griots are not a literary invention, but an incorporation of Ifueko's Nigerian heritage into her fantasyscape, along with tutsu sprites and the culture of the Yoruba.

"Griot" is one name of many for a West African historian, singer, storyteller, poet or musician who sometimes also acts in an advisory capacity to a ruler. Griots are living repositories of culture, who carry, remember, recite and pass on oral histories through performance. While there are different instruments that griots might use while performing, Mbali uses a talking drum, ...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Read-Alikes

Read-Alikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Raybearer, try these:

  • The Last Bloodcarver jacket

    The Last Bloodcarver

    by Vanessa Le

    Published 2024

    About this book

    "A gritty world filled with a beautifully crafted cast and an intricate magic system. A smart, lush, and utterly compelling read." —Marie Lu, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of Legend

  • Hotel Magnifique jacket

    Hotel Magnifique

    by Emily J. Taylor

    Published 2023

    About this book

    Decadent and darkly enchanting, this lavish YA fantasy debut follows seventeen-year-old Jani as she uncovers the deeply disturbing secrets of the legendary Hotel Magnifique.

We have 10 read-alikes for Raybearer, but non-members are limited to two results. To see the complete list of this book's read-alikes, you need to be a member.
More books by Jordan Ifueko
Search read-alikes
How we choose read-alikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Join our inner reading circle, go ad-free and get way more!

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Last Bloodcarver
    The Last Bloodcarver
    by Vanessa Le
    The city-state of Theumas is a gleaming metropolis of advanced technology and innovation where the ...
  • Book Jacket: Say Hello to My Little Friend
    Say Hello to My Little Friend
    by Jennine Capó Crucet
    Twenty-year-old Ismael Reyes is making a living in Miami as an impersonator of the rapper/singer ...
  • Book Jacket: The Painter's Daughters
    The Painter's Daughters
    by Emily Howes
    Peggy and Molly Gainsborough are sisters and best friends, living an idyllic life in 18th-century ...
  • Book Jacket: Beverly Hills Spy
    Beverly Hills Spy
    by Ronald Drabkin
    When it comes to espionage, not only is truth stranger than fiction, sometimes it can be downright ...

BookBrowse Book Club

Book Jacket
Only the Beautiful
by Susan Meissner
A heartrending story about a young mother's fight to keep her daughter, and the winds of fortune that tear them apart.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Stone Home
    by Crystal Hana Kim

    A moving family drama and coming-of-age story revealing a dark corner of South Korean history.

  • Book Jacket

    The House on Biscayne Bay
    by Chanel Cleeton

    As death stalks a gothic mansion in Miami, the lives of two women intertwine as the past and present collide.

Who Said...

Finishing second in the Olympics gets you silver. Finishing second in politics gets you oblivion.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

S B the B

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.