Raybearer, Jordan Ifueko – Book Review

Hello Humans! I’ve been reading some truly wonderful stuff over the past month or so – a lot of which (shock horror) aren’t review copies! I’m determined to write the reviews for the ones I have loved and here we are!

Everyone and their mum has been talking about how great Raybearer is so when I saw it in a Kindle sale a while back I jumped at the chance. Let me tell you, this book does not dissapoint!

Goodreads Summary:

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? (less)

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This is YA fantasy at it’s finest. I’ve admitted before to maybe having fallen a little bit out of love with the genre. I think this book may have won me back, just because everything about it feels so fresh.

The voice is fantastic, managing to capture a timelessness where this book could be set at any time and wouldn’t feel clunky.

The world is rich and interesting, with all sorts of cultures and settings depicted throughout the story – in fact I’m quite impressed by how much world we get to see in a comparatively short book. I particularly liked the details of hair and dress – those are always some of my favourite aspects of a fantasy world and this book doesn’t skimp on the details – while not clogging up the plot.

I thought that the character dynamics and the various kinds of relationships were really what made this book special. It would have been easy enough to write in a tropey love triangle or something familiar, but this story feels much more complex and therefore more genuine. You really get the sense of the places where characters come together and the tensions that bring them apart. It’s masterfully done and so human and gorgeous. I particularly liked the relationship between Tarisai and the Lady – it was great to see such a relationship be depicted in a really nuanced and interesting way, especially since we’ve seen this kind of thing handled poorly in YA before.

I also loved Tarisai as a main character, she felt complex in a way that I haven’t found in a lot of recent YA reads – I really liked the way she looked at problems and her thought processes. I think often I get very stuck on characters making brash or foolish decisions and not actually talking about things. While there are things Tarisai has to keep to herself there are other moments where you can see her talking things through – very refreshing.

Raybearer is an exceptional YA story that I would definitely recommend you pick up as soon as you can. I will be (im)patiently waiting for the next one!

My rating: 5 stars

I bought this book myself, all opinions are my own.

Raybearer is out now

Find on Goodreads | Buy the Book (Affiliate Link)

What say you? Have you read this? Let me know in the comments below!

J

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