Review by David Wolff
It’s fairly standard practice to describe a new fantasy series as epic in scope, but I’m at a loss for a better word to describe Jordan Ifueko’s Raybearer. A debut young adult fantasy from the Nigerian-American author, Raybearer follows Tarisai, a young woman with magical abilities and a deadly secret, as she’s sent to the capital of a global empire to compete with other children to become part of the next generation’s ruling council. Drawing on Nigerian folklore, the cinematic world-building, imaginative magic system and strong female lead with complex, believable relationships was more than enough to sell me on this book. But what really made me fall in love with these characters and their world was the lush prose with all its twists and turns that kept me guessing and second-guessing. Plot points that would usually be the big reveal are laid out in early chapters, setting things in motion so you think you see what’s coming, only to have those tables kicked over by the thrilling conclusion. Ifueko has us waiting with bated breath for the next installment, due out in 2021.