There’s no better time than right now to escape into a good book. You can revisit an old favorite for comfort or discover a new genre, losing yourself within pages.
One book I can’t recommend enough for an escape is Jordan Ifueko’s West African inspired fantasy, Raybearer. The story follows Tarisai as her mysterious mother, The Lady, sends her off to compete against others to become part of the Crown Prince’s council. The Lady compels Tarisai to earn the Prince’s trust and then kill him. Tarisai must come to terms with who she wants to be and how to no longer be a pawn in someone else’s game.
Raybearer is a true page-turner, and I have five major reasons why you should get your copy to read immediately.
If you liked escaping into Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone series or if you were swept away by the lush mythology of Tochi Onyebuchi’s Beasts Made of Night and Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor, you’ll be just as captivated as Raybearer. It’s incredibly original and unlike anything I’ve ever encountered.
Fresh New Voice
If you’re like me, there’s nothing more fun than discovering a new author and then recommending their book to everyone you know. I love being a book enthusiast for this reason. As this is Jordan’s debut, we’ve never had the pleasure of reading her words before until now. Although I have a feeling we’ll be reading much more from her in the future, there’s something special about getting introduced to an author who is just starting out and then reading them as they write more books, like you’re reading their journey in their work.
Aside from being a New York Times bestseller, there was a groundswell of good buzz surrounding this book before it was even out! And if you don’t trust any of the other reasons, you should trust some of the authorities on recommending books, including authors and critics. Raybearer has four *starred* reviews from trade publications, calling it “Mesmerizing,” (Booklist) and “Stunning,” (Publishers Weekly). Dr. Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, author of The Dark Fantastic wrote that she was, “Completely Blown Away,” and Heidi Heilig, author of the The Girl From Everywhere, said it was “Fresh and utterly transportive.”
How could you encounter Tarisai’s story and look away? I love the compelling concept of a girl who longs for the one thing she could gain but at a terrible price. She’s a wonderful character to read, filled with such a motivation for family and belonging that you’re instantly drawn to her. And knowing that she was born to betray the person she later is tasked with protecting presents such a huge dichotomy, one that makes you feel desperate to know how it will be solved.
Worldbuilding aside, you should read just for the way Ifueko crafts her characters. The relationships, including the mysterious one that Tar has with her mother, are reason enough to want to keep reading. I love the idea of the bond the council has. You can always tell a book will be good when the side characters are built and developed just as well as the protagonist. You’ll want to read for Kirah and Sanjeet’s stories as much as Tar’s!
Raybearer is a book to watch out for and it is definitely one to enjoy. Apologies for recommending a book when the sequel isn’t out yet but you’ll be able to tell within the first few pages that it’ll be worth the wait!