Tuesday, August 18, 2020

A Fierce Girl Made of Fire: Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko [Book Review]

Title: Raybearer
Series: Raybearer #1
Author: Jordan Ifueko
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Publication Date: August 18th 2020
Pages: 496

Synopsis (Goodreads): 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?


My rating: 5 / 5 ★

Oh. My. God. Reading Raybearer was such an intense ride, I don't think I'll be able to recover from it anytime soon (and I'm saying this after reading it almost three months ago). It felt like I've read an entire series, instead of a single almost-five-hundred-pages-of-book. Everything was super packed, but in a very good way. I've had my fair share of reading fantasy books, and they can get predictable at times, but Raybearer seems to be an expert in proving me wrong so many times!

I'm going to start with how gorgeous the book cover is 🔥 The bold colours on top of black are just stunning to look at, and the fierce lions just made it a thousand times better. And perhaps I'm the only person dumb enough to not notice a face staring back at you in between the lion and lioness. I only noticed it while editing the picture above, after accidentally inverting the colours. The way the leaves and branches were played as part of her face, I think it's just so brilliant!

As for the plot, I'd say that it's definitely a whirlwind of emotions being involved. The plot is solid, with characters and cultures and magical beliefs that I really enjoyed learning about. I'm not very familiar with fantasy books based on Nigerian culture and folktales, so reading Raybearer at first was a bit difficult, but I was easily hooked into the story as well! Tarisai is such a strong and bold character, and I loved how her character grew from a girl who only longed for her mother's love to a lady wise enough to lead. I love her interaction with Dayo, Sanjeet and Kirah. The whole idea of having a council, where you're bonded with your council members, feels so intimate and intriguing to read about. This book also talked about how everyone deserved to be treated fairly, and I loved the message it brought in the end which said that women and men should work side by side instead of fighting which gender is better.

The main characters are also written so well! While Tarisai herself is fierce, passionate and will always do her best for the sake of others, Kirah is kind-hearted and protective, constantly there for Tarisai whenever the former needed the latter. I love how Kirah always tries her best to believe in Tarisai, despite the misunderstanding that happened in one part of the story. Dayo is like the softest prince ever, and I love him so much for loving Tarisai so much. Dayo and Tarisai absolutely complement each other; I'm looking forward to how they're going to be side by side in the sequel! I love Sanjeet a lot too, my heart just softened for him as people tend to misunderstood him due to his looks and power, when in reality he's very gentle. The relationship that bloomed between him and Tarisai surpised me, but I have no complaints about it at all!

Overall, Raybearer is one of the best fantasy books that I've ever read. It has a solid plot that kept me scrambling to the next pages, that made me scream I need more when it ended; characters that are very well-written and so easy to love, making me want to learn more about them; and the culture and magical beliefs in it are also something that I truly enjoyed reading. If you're a fantasy lover, I strongly recommend reading Raybearer because you definitely don't want to miss such a magnificent story!

Happy book birthday to Raybearer 💖 Thank you Pansing for sending me this book in exchange with an honest review. It's now available in all good bookstores!


"I choose the girl who walks through fire," he said. "I choose sunshine."

Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'

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