This book was life and I don’t think I will be capable of finding the words to express what this book and the world Jordan Ifueko created meant to me but here we go.
I first started hearing about Raybearer through my close circle of friends, who kept chatting and sharing about how good this book was going to be and how they were all anticipating it, and I was intrigued and ready to go all in, cause like my friends recs are never wrong. Then, a well kept piece of information saw the light of day when Jessie (@BowtiesBooks) did a reading vlog of the book on their channel, and I was forever gone. Rumor had it that Raybearer had Asexual Rep in it, and well that was like a cherry on top of an icecream I was already excited to eat in the first place! More on this later!
So I went in fully trusting that my friends were right and oof am I glad! This book was more than I ever wanted and more and I immediately need the next one! Jordan Please!
The world in this book was so magnificent, vibrant, full of different cultures, fantastic smells, music, and amazing people. I have a thing were I like to read fantasy books in one go so I can get lost in the writing and this was a world I didn’t want to leave. The stakes were so high and so morally grey the whole time that I wasn’t sure if I was standing on the right side of the argument most times and you just got to love an author and a book that brings you into the world, provides you with facts and let’s you draw your own conclusions and theories. I even got some of them right!!
There is an insane amount of characters in this book, and would you believe me if I told you that not one of them felt shortchanged in Dialogue? like I felt every single character and the role they played in the story both the Minor and Major characters. They were so intertwined with each other not only in writing, but in the magic system that this book thrived on. The council of eleven is truly a blessing and I can’t wait to learn more about other members in future books. Let’s discuss some of my faves, my maybes, and my we don’t stan them in this house in one sentence (or more) LOL
Mbali- This is an underrated queen and I need a book about her , she literally was my saving grace when I had doubts in this book, and she will be remembered fondly.
Dayo- The Future emperor, whose Asexual rep filled my whole soul, his emotional intimacy and connection with the other members of the council was enviable, and the way he carried himself? that’s just #goals
Sanjeet- If someone asked me for an example of what a future partner of mine would act like, I would have to nominate him, because like wow we all need a sanjeet in our lives, even platonically. He needs to be protected at all costs, trust me you’ll know what I mean!
Tarisai- Can we all just be her!? Fiercely independent, strong in her beliefs, a good heart, a person who loves, but loves with caution, an imperfect girl.
Kirah- She is the type of friend I strive to be, no-nonsense, I got your back, let me hype you up but also kick doors down for you kind of a friend. It was so lovely to continue to see healthy female friendships in this book, and again just the whole council has my heart in different ways.
The Lady- I’m sure you will agree with me once you read Raybearer but ooof this character is hella problematic and somehow manages to not be problematic at all at the same time. That is truly the magic of Jordan’s writing. The Lady is an emotional roller-coaster and I’m still not sure where I stand with her.
We do not stan
I really tried to see all the sides to this man, and every side made me want to slap him a little harder, Trust me ya’ll I tried to like him, please come back and tell me how you feel about him when you are done:)
This section is going to sound hella vague but it is also a warning! if I can’t find what to write in this spot its because if I wrote something I would spoil it. This plot is full of things that you don’t see coming and some that leave you so shook that you just have to re-read the page one more time to make sure you read it right. This book requires your focus, your attention and your diligence but it is worth every single one of those hours you spend on it. I promise!
Some of you know this and some don’t but I identify as Demi-Sexual, which is on the spectrum of Asexuality. So this book had a whole nother layer to me, that I won’t be forgetting any time soon. Dayo is an on the page Asexual character, no questions asked. This book is quite literally, except for a couple of content warnings, an Asexual reading paradise. What I mean by this is that the emotional intimacy, connections and relationships that Jordan explores in this book and the way in which she does so is excellent. I felt loved by this book, wanted by this book and accepted by this book. Listened to and every step of the way connected. I was as invested in the characters as they were in each other, all because the story left room for you to connect, to identify, to get to know all these people as if they were your friends too. Its hard to make a fictional world feel like it could exist and like those people could be you or your friends and Raybearer accomplishes that.
If you can, request the Audiobook for Raybearer from your library or snatch a friends code for a free trial on Scribd and read along with the book, it will make the experience even more magical, because there are things you will miss if you don’t have access to it. Reading this book with the audiobook was truly a privilege and an experience that I think everyone deserves.
What you will miss if you are not listening is:
-The wonderful Kathleen and her prominent lisp, that she is proud of, that is part of her culture and her language.
-The magnificent way Jordan uses music and sound to move you through the story, to take you to places, to give you a world full of rich energy, a world that is constantly moving and changing.
-Knowing what each character sounds like and hanging on every word, every conversation, every tense and happy moment between the council members. They truly start to feel like real people.
This book is incredibly diverse in many ways, including disabilities that aren’t always highlighted, sexualities that are underrepresented and a cast of characters that really make you feel like you’ve traveled the entire world once over, and we can not forget all the Black girl magic and power this book emanates. This is a world that you will not want to leave, and an audiobook that will literally be music to your ears! So don’t sleep on this magnificent book, and go get a copy. Experience the journey, the highs and lows and you will come out better for it in the end:)
If you have seen my video review of Raybearer, this section is meant to highlight some sections of the book and/or pages that you should revisit and unpack. Go back to them and give a thought to the commentary that Jordan peppers in through the story about Black lives, assimilation and cultural erasure to name a few. I’m sure there are more, but these are the ones that caused me to stop and give a couple of thoughts. also make sure you visit the tour stops of #ownvoices reviewers here: https://hearourvoicesbooktours.com/2020/06/27/tour-schedule-raybearer-by-jordan-ifueko/ to see what other important thoughts they had to share.
- Pages 18-22 Greater good of society vs Helping the minority
- Pages 40-41 A fable about life
- Page 76-77 Patriarchy & Bearing Children
- Page 85-86 The erasure of women’s contribution to society
- Pages 154-157, 224-225 Cultural Erasure
- Pages 236-237 Believing in Yourself
- Pages 310-313 Erasing History & an Uneducated Society
- Pages 338-342 Doing what’s right even when it’s the harder choice
Now that I made you think, It is time to relax with some music! This playlist will literally take you through the journey of how I felt while I was reading Raybearer:) I’ll try to summarize why I picked each one without spoiling below.
- Come Little Children (The Lady)- You will learn some details about her and this will make sense.
- Blossom Tears (Dayo & Tarisai) There is a scene at Enitawa’s Quiver and I feel like this song would have been the conversation they would’ve had.
- Scars to Your Beautiful (Tarisai singing to Sanjeet) – I mentioned Sanjeet needed to be protected, there is a reason for that, and I feel like these are words Tarisai would say to him in a modern world.
- Never Let Me Go (Dayo to Tarisai)- Do You Love Me Now Tarisai? that’s all I got to say about that.
- Almost is Never Enough (Tarisai to Sanjeet) This is a whole story in and of itself, you will know when you read it.
- Wakanda– I don’t know why everytime I imagined the council entering a room, or the children’s palace I literally heard this song, it might be the power of it all!
- -8 Bomba Calinde & Diphala– There is a token festival in the book and I feel like this is what the music would have sounded like if we were in attendance.
9. The Jabari (Emperor Olugbade) – It’s power but it’s fear in one song I think it represents him.
10-11. Speechless Part 1 and 2 (Tarisai)- I prefer the Chinese version of this Aladdin song because it sounds way more powerful, and I feel like Tarisai represents all that power and doesn’t believe in being silenced.
12. She Used To Be Mine– (The Lady) – I think about this being the song The Lady sang to herself when she realizes how far she’s gone and how many things in life she has missed. This is The Lady’s reminiscing song.
13. Last but not least, Lullaby of Woe (The Lady)- Somehow to me the lullaby she used to sing to Tarisai , always sounded like this one in my head, but with The Lady’s words.
That’s all !!! Hope you enjoyed all the content!! See you next time!!