Raybearer, Jordan Ifueko (2020)

Book Request:

From Far_Chocolate9743

Black Y/A books that are cute/fun. Not centered on trauma

I'm looking for books for a 14 y/o girl. Her interest is mostly fantasy/sci fi other world stuff. Normal Black stuff. Like her real life.

I'd prefer books that are not centered on trauma. She likes fantasy because it's not what's happening on the news.

Bibbit's Quick Rec.

Raybearer is acclaimed. I don't need to sell it. It was a New York Times bestseller, named in the 2020 books of the year lists by Buzzfeed, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, and the Chicago Public Library. It was one of the American Library Associations "Ten Best Fiction Books" in 2021, a Goodreads Choice Award winner and more that I can't remember right now.

It's at once a classic Young Adult high fantasy and a whole reinvention of the genre. There's a doomed female protagonist, an evil mother, a missing father, and a prince she's been sent to kill. Compelled to participate in a competition to choose the heir to the kingdom's closest advisors, Tarisi works her way up. She's of lower social class than her peers, and takes advantage of their underestimation she climbs through their ranks.

Raybearer is a very good "one of those." A teenager in a high fantasy world climbing their way up the social ladder through competition.

Where the book escapes the genre is Raybearer's world. Jordan Ifueko, a Nigerian-American, infuses the space with her heritage. It's high fantasy through an entirely refreshing lens. Magic obeys different rules here. Social Class is managed differently. All the tropes of english-american high fantasy world building have been re-imagined by way of Ifueko's familiarity with Nigerian folklore.

I read it amidst its acclaim and enjoyed it. However, Raybearer is a Young Adult novel, with all that the genre title means. People young enough to relate to its protagonists will get much more out of Raybearer.

For those adults who still love these stories, or have a young adult in their life to purchase for, it's worth experiencing the newest take on classic high fantasy.


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