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.
The cover of this one was what initially drew me in. With a cover like that, it’s hard not to be intrigued. Some of my friends read and adored this book, which of course shot it straight up on my list of books to pick up. There was also tons of love for this one online. Plus, the fact that this book is about a love starved girl going to compete for spot on the prince’s council made me even more eager to read this book. Trigger Warnings: parental emotional abuse, blood magic, death of children, rape
This book is GOOD. It’s like a shot of straight sunlight, bright and warm and vibrant. It’s like looking at a dazzling light, right before its painful, and all the glory that comes with that sight.
Love is at the heart of this book and I think that’s what made me fall in love with this book. Tarisai craves love and closeness; she wants a family to call her own. This is a book about finding love, trying to hold onto that love, discovering new love, and defining what love is. This shines so brightly from the core of this book and it has this warmth to it that seeps into everything else. It was amazing to see all the characters find people to care about and people to care about them.
This book felt like it had a gentleness to it and a lightness. But, while the heart of this might be love, there is a whole world on the outside. A world that needs rulers and has problems. There are monsters in the Underworld, hundreds of children sacrificed to keep the peace, and many politics at play. What I loved was that the world looks complete and inviting on the surface, but trouble stirs underneath. I liked discovering what could and needs to be done along with Tarisai. I felt like the world expanded as Tarisai grew and was exposed to new facets of her world. I know that seems like an obvious things to happen haha, but I thought it was worth mentioning!
I loved every single character, with all their complicated feelings, and everything they did. The prince, Dayo, was ace which was so awesome to read. I feel like so many of them had this inherent goodness in them, something that made me want to squeeze them. And even the ones who didn’t seem to have that inherent goodness, I felt like I could understand them. I could see why they were doing what they were doing, even if I didn’t agree. So yes, I will scream my love for Tarisai and Kirah and Sanjeet and Dayo and everybody from the rooftops.
Looking at the cover of this book is like being injected with a ray of sunshine. And wow, does that represent what this book is about. This book is sunshine, it’s love, and it’s amazing it all it’s dazzling light. It’s an amazing book and I completely loved it.