Jordan Ifueko’s debut novel, Raybearer, is an expertly crafted YA novel of faraway places, magic, love, and destiny. In a world where things are not what they seem, and some girls remain nameless, one girl will change everything.
Raybearer is a tale unlike any other story I have read before. I was instantly intrigued and transported to a setting filled with the scent of mango groves and jasmine. Whimsical sprites danced in the air. A young girl, Tarisai, often referred to as a demon, longed for the love and affection of her distant mother known only as The Lady.
From the moment I read the story of Tarisai’s birth, I was captivated. I was barely able to put the book down while I was reading it. I had to know what happened next. The characters are well developed; I could feel their emotions and desires come alive.
Tarisai is a strong Black girl who is proud of her Swani culture. She was born cursed by The Lady and destined to kill the person she loves the most, the Raybearer. Tarisai is a charming, intelligent, and strong-minded girl who is repulsed by her curse. She has yearned to be accepted, to be loved, and yet she is cursed to kill the boy she loves the most. She is strong, but can she overcome the curse? Will she murder the one she loves? Tarisai is destined for great things, cursed to kill, and determined to write her own fate; what is her purpose?
I loved nearly everything about this book – the plot, characters, setting, perspective, and pace. Raybearer is filled with many details about the distinct regions and cultures in all the realms of Aritsar. There were many culturally specific words that I was unfamiliar with, which caused me to need to use the dictionary more than usual. I like learning new words, so this was a plus for me.
The only thing that sort of bothered me was that there were a couple of incidences near the end of the book where certain characters seemed to know more information than they should. However, this is a minor thing that may have a simple explanation.
Honestly, Raybearer is one of the best works of fiction that I have ever had the pleasure of reading. I even preordered the book as a gift for a friend. I am genuinely hoping that there will be a sequel to Raybearer.
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher, Amulet Books, an imprint of Abrams, for review.