Raybearer is gorgeously written, and filled with legends, mystical powers, blood oaths, and curses. It begins in a fable-like setting that unfolds into a complex world of secret histories and betrayals. Tarisai was raised in a mysterious fortress, where everyone around her feared her and left her in isolation. Her mother, The Lady, disappeared for weeks. She is sent to try out for the royal council with a terrible task. As Tar discovers more about herself and her capabilities, she gloriously comes into her birthright and legacy. The world building was phenomenal and intricately crafted and I can't wait for the next one!
— From Jackie's Staff Picks
Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko
Tarisai grew up secluded. Her mother, known as The Lady, was always away. The house’s staff would not touch her. And when Tarisai is finally given a shot at a family, a shot at the warmth, comfort, and stability of love she has always craved, it comes with a dangerous caveat. Tarisai is caught between all she’s ever wished for and the fate that seems impossible to avoid. At its core, Raybearer is a book about love, and all that we do for it. It’s a book about the relationships between mothers and daughters, brothers and sisters, and the sacrifices that we make and are made for us in the name of what we believe is right. Tarisai fears the darkness inscribed in her by others. But, as she learns to trust her own voice, she finds her footing as part of a family greater than she’d ever dreamed. Raybearer foregrounds literal black girl magic, demanding that it be shared and embraced. It is a powerful fantasy debut full of action, mystery, and a dynamic group of culturally rich characters, that left me eager for the next book in the series. Raybearer is perfect for fans of Bethany C. Morrow, Sabaa Tahir, and Tomi Adeyemi!
— From Jenni's Picks
Spring 2020 Kids Indie Next List
“In Raybearer, Tarisai’s longing for family and connection make her empathetic and relatable, while her strength and fortitude in standing up to corrupt power make her admirable. I loved diving into this fully realized fantasy world and rooting for Tarisai’s success every step of the way. The story also touches on colonialism and the value of culture — very timely and important subjects — and includes an ace supporting character. A great read for fans of fantasy, stories with strong female leads, and anyone looking for a good book!”
— Stephanie Seales, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA
About the Author
Jordan Ifueko is a Nigerian American writer who grew up eating fried plantains while reading comic books under a blanket fort. She now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their collection of Black Panther Funko Pops. Raybearer is her debut novel.
“Nothing like a boss @$$ fantasy with a gorgeous, dark brown girl at the center that highlights—in technicolor and glittering gold—the trifecta of our most basic of human desires: to belong, to be loved, and to walk a path of one's own choosing.”
— Nic Stone, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin
“One of my favorite books of this year . . . a fantastic exploration of what it means—and the sacrifices it sometimes requires—to truly become your own person.”
— Patrice Caldwell, editor of A Phoenix First Must Burn
"A compelling, finely tuned fantasy with fantastic world building."
— Shannon Hale, New York Times bestselling author
"All hail Raybearer . . . Fans of recent breakouts in the genre like Tomi Adeyemi and Sabaa Tahir may just find their next obsession."
— Entertainment Weekly
"Fresh and utterly transportive, Raybearer is a fantastical fight for freedom, family, and justice at all costs."
— Heidi Heilig, author of The Girl from Everywhere
“Ifueko’s world building and prose is nothing short of seductive and I completely adore Tarisai's headstrong, tragic self. This will be a major gem of a release in 2020!”
— Jessica Khoury, author of The Forbidden Wish and Last of Her Name
“Completely blown away! Tarisai’s tale set my imagination on fire.”
— Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, author of The Dark Fantastic
"Ifueko’s mesmerizing debut stuns as it weaves a tale of loyalty, fate, destiny, family, and revenge. Moreover, it places a dark skinned heroine front and center, who is beautiful and powerful, deadly and compassionate, and vulnerable and tough, giving YA literature more of the diverse representation teens need."
"Ifueko’s debut is full of lush world building and detailed, Nigerian-inspired mythology, giving life to a myth of epic proportions and a tale that is bound to stick with readers long after they finish it."
— Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"A fresh, phenomenal fantasy that begs readers to revel in its brilliant world."
— Kirkus Reviews
"By crafting a world plagued by imperialism, poverty, and institutionalized misogyny, and a mythology that literalizes the power of love, purpose, and sacrifice, Ifueko illustrates the need for social change and inspires readers to fight for it."
— Publishers Weekly
"Raybearer is an excellent and needed addition to diverse fantasy, and the writing and characters immediately captivated me.”
— Buzzfeed News
“An imaginative, epic YA fantasy debut.”
— Ms. Magazine
“[An] enticing debut novel.”
— Book Riot
“An incredible journey through a wholly original world.”
“Jordan Ifueko creates a bold new world in her debut book.”
“An exciting fantasy debut that drops the reader into an exquisitely detailed world.”
“Need a good YA fantasy read? Look no further than the debut from Jordan Ifueko.”
“I was hooked from page one. . . .The world-building is gorgeous.”
— Electric Literature
"Ifueko’s debut fantasy blends Nigerian folklore with a mélange of other influences to create a multicultural world where colonization and imperialism inform the story as much as Tarisai’s own choices... [A] promising first installment in a fantasy duology."
— School Library Journal