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(Raybearer #1)

4.46  ·  Rating details ·  2,708 ratings  ·  921 reviews
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
Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published August 18th 2020 by Amulet Books
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Jennifer I just asked the author via Twitter and she confirmed there is a sequel! Let the rejoicing commence!!
Aoife In passing, yes. The main characters seem to be straight, but one character confesses to not wanting to have sex, so probably ace, and a minor male an…moreIn passing, yes. The main characters seem to be straight, but one character confesses to not wanting to have sex, so probably ace, and a minor male and female are described as being attracted to men and women, respectively. (less)
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Average rating 4.46  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,708 ratings  ·  921 reviews

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chai ♡
Update: Wow, this is genuinely one of the most impressive debuts I've ever read. One of the best YA fantasy novels out there, and a new favorite. Full review to come.

my gf recommended I read this book and I was immediately intrigued by the promise of a story that’s steeped in West African mythology, explores the sheer angst of swearing to protect someone you were born to kill AND has a found family!!
Joel Rochester
I have uploaded a video review here

A written review to come!
C.G. Drews
This book is just a RAY of excellence, and I will not apologise for using a completely appropriate title pun just now 😌 because I speak truth. I just absolutely adored every page?! (Well I listened to the audiobook, which was also incredible and I can't recommend enough!!) It felt fresh and powerful, creative but also gives that comfort of a good sprawling fantasy world that you can just settle into and get lost. I suspect this will be the best YA fantasy I'll read this year and I AM HERE. IN AW ...more
What a PHENOMENAL YA debut fantasy! I mean I haven't read anything like this ever. And please please please if you read this book do not attempt to compare it to Children of Blood and Bone. 4.5 Stars

Trigger Warnings: parental emotional abuse, blood magic, death of children, rape

Thank you to Abram Books and Hear Our Voices Book Tour for allowing me to not only be a part of this tour, but also for providing me with an ARC. All thoughts are my own.

I don't know what I was expecting when I picked u
may ➹
why can’t the universe make me happy and give me a 5 star book :(

4.5, rtc!

// buddy read with tbg pain enabler
Mar 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rebecca Roanhorse
Aug 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really unique and intricately plotted YA fantasy that was like nothing I've ever read. I absolutely love when I am surprised by a book, and this one definitely did that. The worldbuilding and magic system were wonderfully creative, my only caveat being the stand-in cultures = world cultures; that was definitely my least favorite element. (However, if the reasoning was to show the breadth of the empire, I get it. I just thought it was a bit lazy.) But the primary setting and culture of our prot ...more
Abbie | ardentlyabbie
As magical as The Lion King, and as luscious as The Wrath and the Dawn—a simply refreshing debut teeming with life, love, and color.

In the global empire of Aritsar, love-starved Tarisai is compelled by her mother to join the council of a divine Crown Prince. Her mission? Earn his trust. Fall in love. And when the time is right. . . Kill him.

I don't even know where to begin. . . This book felt like a hug. Like a warm, magical hug.

Tar (Tarisai) is a ferociously loyal and kind heroine—almost to a
"What if you were sworn to protect the one you were born to destroy?"

Raybearer is an impressive debut with an immersive world, complex characters, and an unexpected plot. It is well worth your time. This African-inspired fantasy is much more than cookie-cutter YA, offering thoughtful thematic content that explores misogyny, patriarchal structures, race and class inequality, empire and colonization, generational trauma, privilege, and the criminalization of young men of color. It's also a thrilli
Sep 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Here it is, the best fantasy I'll ever read in 2020.

I finished Raybearer at around 3:30 AM. But I needed a good night's sleep to process my initial thoughts:

📌 My standards for YA fantasy have been drastically raised.
📌 From phenomenal world-building to the beautifully intricate magic system to the writing itself, Raybearer is 'richness' in literary form.
📌 Complexity! So much amazing complexity.
📌 I am in awe that this book is only 368 pages because I feel like I grew up alongside Tarisai as she
CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨
Read my full review on my book blog, The Quiet Pond.

Wow... what an amazing book.
This is the sort of book where how long it is doesn't matter - once you're pulled into its incredible story, you're on the ride and you'll follow Ifueko no matter where she takes the story. I'm in awe of this debut.

- Follows Tarisai, a girl who wants nothing more than the love and warmth of family. When her mother, known as 'The Lady', sends her to compete with other children to become part of the Crown Prince's Co
Feb 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, arc
4.5 stars!

This. Was. BRILLIANT. YA fantasy has become such a tough sell for me (I've just read so much of it), but I'm still tempted to read it -- especially when a new #ownvoices / diverse read comes out!

Raybearer strikes a lovely balance between keeping familiar elements of YA fantasy and incorporating things that are new and different and that I've rarely or never seen done before. I *thought* I knew where the story was going and I was very pleasantly surprised to find I'd been wrong.

I'm not
I will be very honest, I was mesmerized by the cover of this book and the premise seemed very fascinating, but it wasn’t really at the top of my tbr or anything. I just thought I’ll keep it on the list and read someday. But when I got the opportunity to listen to the audiobook in advance, I thought why not and now I can’t believe that I wanted to put this book on a back burner. Because this book... it’s just wow 🤩🤩🤩

The world building and magic system in this is amazing. The history of how Aritsa
I am going to try really hard to not spoil anything but this book 1000% consumed my entire weekend. I started it yesterday and the feeling of a creaky spine in my hand with my flimsy bookmark and doing the bare minimum of tasks so that I did not have to put this book down is the best feeling I've had in 2020 so far. I have been dying to read a fantasy novel that would completely consume me and this ticked every single box of epic.

"The place closest to your soul isn't your heart," Kirah explai
Adah Udechukwu
Aug 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Raybearer is a great debut novel. The series has potential.
Nov 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a great read!! I got this in my Once Upon a book club box and it was seriously so good. First of all, the cover!!!! It’s just gorgeous. And I’m definitely a sucker for a beautiful cover. Second, the story!!! I was soooo compelled by Tarisai’s story and how crappy her situation was.

Which means, I was pulled in immediately and had such a hard time putting this down. The relationships in this book are complex and heartfelt. I wanted her to be triumphant and rose above any constraints or o
Oct 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
What a BOOK! I can never read the same repetitive, boring, white centred fantasy ever again when books like this exist. The variety, the originality… I need a sequel immediately.

The storytelling here is so powerful, the word choices so purposeful, the magic system so intriguing. I was buddy reading this over a five-day period and once I started, I never wanted to stop reading. It was full f mystery and intrigue, the problem solving left me in awe. There were several dilemmas in here I deemed uns
I have to say that this is genuinely one of my favourite books I’ve read this year. It was so unique and different to other fantasy books and it just draws you in.

The relationships throughout brought me so much happiness.

Honestly loved this!
Aug 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Raybearer is the opening instalment in an exciting West African-inspired young adult fantasy duology complete with lush scenery and a richly imagined plot. Set against the backdrop of the fictional empire of Aritsar, a group of children are handpicked to be raised in isolation with the future emperor, and groomed to someday rule the empire. Amongst these children is Tarisai, a love-starved black prodigy who is compelled to compete to join the Crown Prince's Council of 11. If picked, she will be ...more
Jun 02, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition

Update: There are realms in here and I think the Underworld can be my next home (lol) but still, I need to read it to decide.

nick (the infinite limits of love)

I'm really loving the West African inspired YA fantasy that we've been getting this year. Raybearer is one of the most fascinating and unique books I've been lucky enough to read. I have to thank my Twitter friend, Rogier, for getting me hyped for the book and his recommendation didn't lead me astray. I was in love with every moment of this book.

Raybearer had many strengths to it, but perhaps its most memorable element was the immersive world that Jordan Ifueko has crafted. A lot of times world-
caitlin ✶
Sep 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i probably didn't enjoy this as much as i could've bc of personal preferences and the headspace i was in while reading, but it's a solid ya fantasy that i'd recommend <3 ...more
"Do you love me now, Tarisai of Swana?"

The award for most precious side character goes to Dayo for sure. He stole my heart immediately and I would gladly give my life for him.

On a more serious note, this book is a MASTERPIECE. I feel like I've read a book series with 5 installments with how much happened in the book, yet I never got confused or overwhelmed but it was always just as engaging and interesting. So many twists and turns, such masterful storytelling, I'm honestly blown away.

From the v
Wren (fablesandwren)
Thank you Black Stone Publishing and Black Stone Audiobooks for this review copy of Raybearer.

This narrator was INCREDIBLE.

I absolutely loved this book! What a unique premise! When reading the description you are like "okay wow looks like another girl set to kill the prince who falls in love and blah blah blah blah" but that is such a vague idea of this beautifully woven story.

The story started out very character-driven for me, which is not something I am complaining about. The characters are
Anna Bright
Jul 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, fantasy
this is such a fresh-feeling fantasy/courtly intrigue novel. i'll scrape together a proper review soon but jordan ifueko is one to watch.

I was absolutely intrigued by this debut, a royal intrigue story about an empire where, as a child, the emperor-to-be anoints a council-- and with every anointing, inures himself to another form of death. (He anoints the first, he's protected from, say, drowning; he anoints another, and he's invulnerable to death by fire.) With a full council arou
Lea | That_Bookdragon
3/5 ⭐️

Thank you so much to Hot Key Books for providing me with a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest opinion!

I found that Raybearer had such an interesting magic system but unfortunately I was taken aback by the pacing of the novel that seemed off at times and therefore I had troubles following the plot/action as they unraveled. Furthermore, although I did grow really attached to the main character, I truly felt like other characters lacked depth and could have helped give the stor
Amy Imogene Reads

Thank you to Amulet Books for an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.
Raybearer is a YA fantasy novel following Tarisai, a girl born in the Swana region of the Arit Empire, as she is sent to court by her secretive, powerful mother to become one of the prince’s closest advisors… and maybe also kill him. If you’ve read a lot of YA fantasy, you’ve already read or heard of many stories with the same hook, and you might think you know where this is going. But do you? Raybearer is never quite what it seems at first sight.

This is a difficult book to talk about without sp
Anjali (bookstersisters)
Raybearer came as a ray of surprise amidst a streak of disappointing reads last month and completely bowled me over. I wasn’t aware of this book’s existence till I saw it’s ALC on offer and picked it up on a whim. I am happy to say it paid off, big time!
Tarisai has been brought up in isolation by the mysterious Lady and is being trained to get chosen as one of the 11 council members for the Crown Prince of Aritsar. As soon as she is accepted she is bound by a wish to obey the Lady’s command and
ila ✨
[4.5 stars] this was really, really good! and it also pulled me out of a (bad) reading slump. Raybearer is the first book of a West African-inspired YA fantasy duology and it deals with themes such as loyalty, identity and belonging, and justice-versus-fairness. it also has the found-family trope, which is one of my absolute favourites, and i especially love it in YA fantasy.
“maybe,” i ventured, “it’s all right to be angry.”

the mythology and the magic system are both a+. the main characters
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