"Raybearer" by Jordan Ifueko
This is one of my favorite books of the year and one of my favorite YA fantasy books EVER.
I don't even know where to start. I absolutely loved every page of this book.
First, I adored all of the characters. I loved watching Tarisai develop and grow into this beautiful, strong, independent young woman as she struggles to figure out who she is and save a kingdom threatened by war. All of the side characters are lovable as well.
Second, the story is fantastic. It's got everything a fantasy lover needs. It's got action, romance, magic, creatures, and more. I was engaged the whole time and found myself reading well past 2 in the morning.
Lastly, the writing is stunning. We get these beautiful, vivid descriptions that barely leave anything for the imagination. Everything is clear and I was never confused.
I recommend Raybearer to all fantasy lovers. I usually don't recommend YA fantasy to adult fantasy lovers, but I believe that any age would adore this book.
About the book:
"The epic debut YA fantasy from an incredible new talent—perfect for fans of Tomi Adeyemi and Sabaa Tahir
Nothing is more important than loyalty.
But what if you’ve sworn to protect the one you were born to destroy?
Tarisai has always longed for the warmth of a family. She was raised in isolation by a mysterious, often absent mother known only as The Lady. The Lady sends her 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 11. If she’s picked, she’ll be joined with the other Council members through the Ray, a bond deeper than blood. That closeness is irresistible to Tarisai, who has always wanted to belong somewhere. But The Lady has other ideas, including a magical wish that Tarisai is compelled to obey: 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? With extraordinary world-building and breathtaking prose, Raybearer is the story of loyalty, fate, and the lengths we’re willing to go for the ones we love."