What’s The Book About?
Raybearer follows the story of Tarisai, a young girl raised by a mysterious and distant mother known as The Lady. The Lady sends Tarisai 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 Eleven. But Tarisai is bound by a magical wish imposed on her by the Lady. She must 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?
I absolutely loved this novel! It’s officially one of my favourite fantasy books and I’ve read it twice which says a lot. Tarisai (the protagonist) is a strong and relatable character. Her journey to finding friendship and discovering her power manifests in an engaging story with heartwarming and gripping moments.
The concept of the ray and the connection it gives the council is fascinating! Every crown prince in the empire has to connect to 11 members from other realms. The bond the characters have as a result is beautiful to read and lends itself to a form of intimacy in friendship, I haven’t seen in other books. This is an Afro fantasy novel but can we have an appreciation call out for the diversity and representation. I particularly loved the names of the characters- hello Sanjeet, Kirah, Dayo, and Woo In.
As is expected with books in the fantasy genre, there are romantic subplots but I love that it wasn’t the main focus of the novel. Plus I’m a sucker for a clear-headed female protagonist so yes to that!
“Every creature has a purpose. A place in a grand story, a tale as old and pure as life, and stronger than any mortal’s wish. To diverge from the path your mother has set, you must find your place in that grand story. Otherwise, The Lady will decide your place for you. That is all I know.”
This is a complex novel about justice, misogyny and the pursuit of power but the world building is executed excellently. The Lady’s backstory is one of the most powerful elements of this book. I don’t want to give spoilers but I really appreciate that the author didn’t make her a stereotypical villain.
There’s a lot to love and appreciate about this book. Raybearer is beautifully written for a debut novel and I can’t wait to read the sequel.
Top Three Quotes
“Uniformity is not unity. Silence is not peace.”
Umansa touched my face next, wetting his fingers with my tears. “As I lean on you, Empress,” he said, smiling at the space over my head, “you may lean on me.”
“Only one thing is more powerful than a wish, and that is a purpose.”
I pray that you benefited from this post and I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section.