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(Raybearer #1)

4.44  ·  Rating details ·  7,930 ratings  ·  2,096 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 th
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published August 18th 2020 by Amulet Books
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Jordan Ifueko No, not at all, actually!

People of the Wing, along with their head coverings, are loosely inspired by a sect of Christianity that I grew up with as a …more
No, not at all, actually!

People of the Wing, along with their head coverings, are loosely inspired by a sect of Christianity that I grew up with as a kid. Many in this sub-sect believed in covering their heads with prayer shawls (due to some verses commanding that they do so in the New Testament).

As a side fun fact, Kirah's struggles with her family's gender roles are directly based on my own struggles with the conservative Evangelical sect I grew up in.

All of the religions in RAYBEARER, however, are mostly fictional, with occasional inspirations from my life experiences.(less)
Jennifer I just asked the author via Twitter and she confirmed there is a sequel! Let the rejoicing commence!!

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.44  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,930 ratings  ·  2,096 reviews

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chai ♡
Raybearer is nothing less than stunning. The synopsis drew my eyes like a flare, and I knew from reading my friends’ reviews that I was going to be blown away by this novel—I just wasn’t prepared to be catapulted into the stratosphere!

I stepped inside this book as easily as stepping through a door, into a scintillating West-African inspired world splayed out huge before me, embellished by the author’s poetic turns of phrase and staggering imaginative scope, and as my mind gleamed with sweeping t
Joel Rochester
Aug 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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
Miranda Reads
Dec 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

December Tierlist Vlog is up! Click the link to see the video review of all the books read in December!
The Written Review
Tarisai has had an... unusual ...childhood.

She's spent it isolated in a mansion, surrounded by servants afraid to touch her and desperately wanting the love of "The Lady" (who is the closest to a 'mother' that Tarisai has ever seen).

Once The Lady deems Tarisai old enough, she's sent to the capital of the Aritsar empire to compete with children all over to
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
Feb 19, 2021 rated it really liked it

Mar 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This has to be one of the best YA fantasy novels I’ve ever read. I need the sequel now! August can’t come fast enough. In fact, after I finished it I went back and re-read the whole first chapter...very tempted to do a re-read immediately after which NEVER happens. But I'll hold off and probably do a re-read before Redemptor comes out!

What is Raybearer about?
Well, it follows a young girl name Tarisai who was raised in isolation with only her tutors and caretakers. No other children were around,
Mar 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sep 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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:
Rebecca Roanhorse
Aug 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
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
Note to self: STOP READING YA BOOKS. I'm not sure at what age most YA books become underwhelming, but for me, I have apparently already passed that point. The only one I have read and really liked this year was Pawn. That's exactly one out of nine YA books (including this one). It's no longer worth it to me to wade through YA books to find the ones I consider gems.

As far as the review for this actual book:
- Absolutely go the audiobook route. There's several little 'songs' in the book and the na
Abbie | nerdyabbie
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
Zitong Ren
I generally am often disappointed with YA fantasy, because a lot of it limited worldbuilding, a good dose of instalove and a fairly generic plot. This wasn’t always the case, but as I’ve read more and YA fantasy, the more I have often been dissatisfied with many books in the genre. So, Raybearer was an absolute delight and considering it is a debut, I cannot wait to see what the Ifueko will be writing in the future. This was simply such a lush and magical fantasy book and I ended up really enjoy ...more
May 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"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
Gail Levine
Jan 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Very exciting! And a cast of lovable characters! And important themes: truth-telling and the use of power.
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
December 02, 2020: I don't think I can ever review this book because one word describes it enough— ✨ perfection ✨

August 27, 2020: Yes I'll be listening to the audiobook and I AM EXCITED
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
Brittany (whatbritreads)
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
Aug 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

until the last chapter i wasn't sure this would be 5 stars, it leant more 4 or 4.5 stars but the final scene did me in. i love it when a book ties up properly, and in my estimation raybearer did. this book made me cry, the ending had tears leaking from my eyes.

another reason its 5 stars is because of what it means to me. asowar felt familiar, like a promise i couldn't remember being fulfilled. it was beautiful, lush and represented me in a different way, i tried to compare
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
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
April (Aprilius Maximus)
Dec 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
“Uniformity is not unity. Silence is not peace.”

representation: own voices West African inspired world and characters, implied asexual side character.

[trigger warnings are listed at the bottom of this review and may contain spoilers]


This was great! the magic system was suuuuper interesting and i really liked how the MC and the crown prince that she was sent to kill didn't end up as lovers, but they had the most pure friendship uwu. i definitely thought this was a standalone for some re
♠ Tabi⁷ ♠
"Only one thing is more powerful than a wish, and that is a purpose."


There are bad books, there are good books, there are amazing books . . . and then there is this book. This is such a LUSH and absolutely DECADENT story so full of masterfully-described visuals and diversity that, to me, words have a hard time doing them justice. I need this book to be adapted into a visual format if only so I can literally see the beautiful colors of it. And can you just imagine the POWER of such a thin
Adah Udechukwu
Aug 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Raybearer is a great debut novel. The series has potential.
Sherwood Smith
Mar 31, 2021 added it
Shelves: fantasy
Finished this terrific Ya fantasy a couple days ago, but things kept getting in my way and all along I wondered how to sum up what a delight of a read this is.

It's all the more amazing that this is a debut book. Safe to say that Jordan Ifueko is a new talent to watch. This engrossing, intricately built world drawing on West African myths and stories is all the more remarkable in that the world building does not overwhelm the characters.

All three are tightly woven together: world, plot, character
Dec 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED EVERY MOMENT OF THIS BOOK! it was beautiful, and raw, and richly crafted - showing the ugliness and beauty of humanity. This is a book that would probably be enjoyed by fans of ‘A Song of Wraiths and Ruin’, and ‘An Ember in the Ashes’.

So many words for this book, so I’m going to give myself more time to process this, but I didn’t even know that I needed this story until I read it.
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
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
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Articles featuring this book

The idea for The Gilded Ones came to author Namina Forna in a dream. The recurring image was one of a young girl in armor walking up a...
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“Uniformity is not unity. Silence is not peace.” 34 likes
“Why does everyone hate change so much?" I demanded.
"Because things could get worse."
"Maybe. But do you know what I think?"
My chest throbbed. "I think deep down, we're afraid that things could get better. Afraid to ding out that all the evil—all the suffering we ignore—could have been prevented. If only we had cared enough to try.”
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