Hello Gemmies! I have an exciting book review to share with you today. Please note: I received an audiobook ARC of this book (via NetGalley) from its publisher in exchange for an honest and fair review.
Raybearer is a debut YA fantasy by Jordan Ifueko. I was so excited to receive this one to review. I was expecting a sweeping African inspired epic fantasy full of magic and this did not disappoint! I cannot believe this is Jordan's first novel. I already need book two...stat! Raybearer pulls you in from the very first chapter. Let's start with the story. The plot was unexpected, fresh, and new. This is a YA novel but there are some very serious themes throughout like toppling patriarchal structures, child abuse, privilege, misogyny, and race and class inequality that take this novel to the next level. I found myself fully immersed in this vivid and impressive world. There are references to various races, creatures, religions, and magical belief systems but Jordan Ifueko managed to blend them all seamlessly. This is also an extremely well written character driven story with a diverse cast of characters that I found to be complex, dynamic, and relatable. I need more Tarisai and Sanjit stories in my life!
Raybearer is narrated by one person, Joniece Abbott-Pratt. Joniece is an absolute wonder! She does a great job keeping pace with the story, and making each character feel distinct and have their own personality. Joniece is also able to strike the right tone to make each scene feel appropriate. There are several main characters in this book and Joniece does a great job in differentiating her voice between each. If you are a fan of magic, epic fantasies, conspiracies, love and tragedy then go read this book! This gem published by Blackstone Publishing is set to release on August 18, 2020 and is available for pre-order from all major booksellers. I give Raybearer 5 out of 5 gems. I cannot wait for this story to be out in the world for all to read and enjoy. Happy Reading!