**Disclaimer: I received a free early access copy of Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to them and the publisher for this opportunity.
Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko is a young adult fantasy novel. It’s about a girl named Tarisai who has been tasked with a mission from her mother that she doesn’t want to complete. It was published on August 18th. I rated it five stars on GoodReads.
Here’s the summary from Goodreads:
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?
There was so much hype for this book, which is completely warranted by the way, but honestly what got me interested in this book was seeing the author speak at YALLSTAYATHOME. She was very well spoken and I found the plot very interesting. I was excited to find it on NetGalley, and even more excited to test out the audiobook feature of it.
The audiobook was really well done. I really liked the narrator. She was good at voices and she really brought the story alive for me. I will admit that I had a lot of difficulties with the Netgalley app but that’s not anything against the audiobook itself.
Storywise, it was excellent. As I mentioned, it is completely worth the hype. Jordan Ifueko has built a really fantastic world and I was really intrigued by the magic system and how things were going. The whole council system felt really intriguing and was definitely not something I’ve read about before. Sure, other fantasy worlds have council systems, but they were never really like this one and the bond between Tarisai and the other characters on the council were really interesting. Past the council, I liked the different magical powers that each of the characters had. There was a special word for this but because I read it as an audiobook I’m not really sure how to spell it. I loved learning about the royal family and how the dynasty worked, and it was really evident that Jordan Ifueko put a lot of thought and care into her world. It made for a fantastic debut novel.
On the note of characters, I was obsessed with each and everyone of them. I loved Tarisai a lot, of course, and you really empathised with her for her impossible choice. I also really grew to fall in love with the side characters. They were all really well developed and I liked the connections they shared.
This book really stressed me out, but in a good way. It’s been awhile since a book gave me such a visceral anxiety-esque reaction that I had to set it down for a good while. It got to the point where my students were lightly teasing me for not finishing (I have a currently reading thing up on the whiteboard in my classroom). However, once I got back into it, it was really quick to devour the rest of the story. I just needed to know what was happening and I was very satisfied with how it all played out.
I’m definitely behind on the times with this book, but honestly, I highly recommend it and if you haven’t already checked it out, you should definitely find yourself a copy of it to read. Since it’s already out, that shouldn’t be too hard! 🙂