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  • Behold What is Coming

    ...what is coming is a book you will never forget. Tarisai was raised in the enchanted Bhekina House in the savannah of Swana, alone apart from her tutors and servants. Her mother, The Lady, would visit every few years, but nothing Tarisai said or did could make her stay. When Tarisai is ten years old, The Lady sends her to the capital city of to be chosen as member the crown prince's council. To be chosen would mean Tarisai would finally have a family; 10 council siblings to call her own, bonded together by the Ray, the prince's divine bond. Only Tarisai is not her own. She is bound by a dark wish her mother made, to wait until she is anointed by Prince Akundayo, and then to kill him. Filled with all the magic and wonder of a classic fairytale, Raybearer is an unforgettable read. Before you even read the first sentence, the cover of this book is so enchanting and intricate, it draws you in. The map at the front is beautifully drawn, and you can see the continent laid out with its varied landscapes and names, all heralding a unique and diverse world. It's hard to put into words my feelings about this book. It is so rich and decadent with character development, folklore, culture, magic, religion, youth, right versus wrong and good versus evil. I love the opacity of the magical world; the breach to the underworld is a literal cave to hell, nature spirits can be found if you ask the right people, the dead can be summoned if you wish to say goodbye. The world of Aritsar is steeped in folklore and history, which shines through in every page. The world truly comes alive as we follow Tarisai's story, and by the end I felt familiar with the people and cultures. I think a big part of the ease of worldbuilding comes from the way the author has made the realms reflect our real world cultures, making it easier to associate the various places with a culture. You can see South and Central America reflected in Quetzala, for instance, and East Asia in Songland. The story as a whole is of course beautifully African in feel and culture, which is really fun and unique for this style of fairytale novel. I would love to read more like it, as we have gotten so used to fairytales being European by nature, when in fact every culture on the globe has it's own rich folklore. The characters in Raybearer are absolutely wonderful, Tarisai in particular. She is such a real person, naive about being loved and giving love whilst actually being terrified of intimacy, starved for adventure but unready for it when it comes, and unendingly self deprecating when it comes to her own shortcomings. The way she reacts to the Lady all throughout the book is a fantastic depiction of the way abused and manipulated people see life. Even when it is clear to her council siblings (and to the reader) that she has done nothing wrong or that she is doing her best, she finds herself believing that she did not do all she could have, or that she must be evil to allow bad things to happen around her. I say I liked that. I did, but at the same time, I haven't read about a character who takes other people's burdens as their own and then mourns about how they are responsible for fixing them SO much since I read the Wheel of Time. Rand al'Thor and Tarisai would have a lot to talk about if they ever met. Raybearer is packed with story, and filled with beautiful souls from start to finish. It is full-on and intense, and wonderful. I would recommend this book to all types of readers, but specifically to lovers of magical folklore and fairytales. If you loved Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly, Thorn by Intisar Khanani, or The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis, then you must pick up Raybearer.

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  • Twists and turns

    I really enjoyed this book. The characters are rich and complex and the world they inhabit is beautifully crafted. The plot had so many twists and turns that kept you guessing. It also manages to avoid feeling tropey. I found it so hard to put down. I really recommend reading this and can't wait for the sequel!

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