Friday, April 2, 2021

Freeform Friday: Raybearer: Jordan Ifueko

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? (Summary and pic from goodreads.com)

My Review: Isn’t the cover art of this book beautiful? Srsly tho. Way to kill it with the cover art. It’s beautiful inside, too. The book is divided into parts and each part has a really cool black and white montage of African-type symbols. It’s really beautiful. The chapter headings also have banners that are African-inspired and a really nice touch. [This ends my blatant focus on the beauty of this book, possibly revealing me to be a reader who is vain in purely the looks of her book.]

I quite enjoyed this book. I have read quite a few YA fic books that are of this genre, and I have to say, this one was different. There are things that make it similar, of course, which I think is to its benefit. It’s hard to strike out on your own genre and gather readers when they’re unfamiliar with what you’re doing. So here’s what was similar in this book to others of its genre: The story takes place in a unified kingdom, with many smaller countries that have been brought under one kingdom and one ruler. There are, of course, some countries that have not joined the kingdom and they are on the outs for various reasons—they’re rebels, they’re conquered, they’re doing their own thing, you get what I’m saying. There are people who are “chosen.” It’s practically a requirement to be “chosen” and go embrace your destiny in a YA fantasy book these days. You’re not cool at all if you haven’t been either “chosen” to do something that you don’t feel like you can do for whatever reason. Also, love interests. What would a YA fic (or any fic, really) be without some good love interests? You can see what I’m doing here. There are many things that are familiar and will be attractive to YA readers, whether they be YA or old readers of YA. That would be me.

But, there’s a lot that’s different about this book too. First of all, I loved the kingdom and the descriptions of the kingdom and the cultures. It takes place in an African-esque kingdom, with some Asian-esque vibes on the outskirts of the kingdom, and the descriptions of colors, smells, spices, clothing, etc., was varied and exciting. The world was very bright and brilliant, and I loved how it felt like discovering a new favorite place every time. Also, I thought the story was really unique and the back story interesting and deep. There is a lot to uncover here, and I’m really glad that there is a sequel coming to explain more of what is going on and what happens next. I always love when an interesting world is created that there is more to it than just one book.

I enjoyed the writing in this book. The names and place names are very foreign and take awhile to get used to, but there is a handy glossary of characters and words at the back to help the reader to keep track. The writing itself is approachable and makes for a fast read. It keeps the story moving and the reader on alert for all that is going on. I enjoyed the fast pace that this book moved at, and I enjoyed the female protagonist who was interesting and intelligent.

I think that readers of fantasy, especially YA readers, will really enjoy this book and all it has to offer. The story is engaging and fast-paced, the characters are interesting and nuanced, and there is a lot to keep you reading and reading until the breathless end, where you can join the rest of us in waiting for the second installment.

My Rating: 4 Stars

For the sensitive reader: There is a hint of sex at one point, but it is very veiled and I think most YA readers wouldn’t notice. There are some light teen romance scenes.

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