Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko



This vibrant, rich debut YA fantasy novel tells the story of Tarisai, who we first meet as a lonely, isolated child. Tarisai is the daughter of The Lady, a mysterious woman who drops in and out of Tarisai’s life. Tarisai has the gift of being able to read, change and erase people’s memories when she touches them, which leads to a childhood of people avoiding her touch. She is eventually brought to the Capitol to compete to become part of the Prince’s Council of 11, a council of gifted children who will swear loyalty to the Crown Prince for life, and form a family in which they are able to telepathically communicate. This is the dream for Tarisai – to have this kind of closeness and connection with others. However, her mother has implanted in her an order to kill the Crown Prince if and when she is anointed as part of his Council.

I loved the world building of this book, which is rich and vivid and inspired by pre-colonial West African history and folklore. I was immediately drawn into this world and Tarisai’s story. The book does a nice job of weaving in broader issues of imperialism and the role of culture, with Tarisai’s personal struggles with trust and loyalty, and finding her voice and her purpose. I also appreciated the nuances in the positions and beliefs of the characters, where things are more complicated than just good vs evil. This is a highly readable and enjoyable book – I gobbled up the audiobook in a couple of days. I’m really excited to read book 2 when it comes out!

You can find this book at the Library and both the eBook and the audiobook on Hoopla.

Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

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