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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Based on African folklore, Raybearer offers chance to discuss mythology from around the world.
It's hard to tell whether fate or free will rules our lives. Love and friendship deserve loyalty. People should share their problems with their friends and family.
Positive Role Models
Tarisai is an engaging main character -- smart, resourceful, brave. Her mother -- The Lady -- seems to withhold her love, leaving Tarisai feeling very disconnected and vulnerable. In terms of representation, characters are mostly dark-skinned and curly-haired.
Violence & Scariness
Violence is used sparingly. Someone close to Tarisai is stabbed, and the act has severe repercussions. Other characters are poisoned or shot with arrows.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Characters talk about sex but without graphic detail. Two adults are seen from a distance making love. Tarisai shares a passionate embrace with a boy.
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Swearing is infrequent: a handful of "damn" and "hell."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teens drink palm wine and become mildly drunk.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Raybearer is an Africa-influenced fantasy by Nigerian American author Jordan Ifueko. The first half of a duology, it focuses on Tarisai, daughter of an absent mother, raised to fulfill a magical wish by killing the Crown Prince. The novel contains scenes of violence, including a stabbing, a poisoning, and an attack with arrows. There's some talk of sex among the teen characters, but without many details. Swearing is mild ("hell," "damn") and very infrequent.
Is It Any Good?
Fantasies influenced by African culture are popular now, and this magic-drenched adventure is likely to attract a devoted readership. Written by debut author Jordan Ifueko, Raybearer benefits from meticulous world-building to tell a tale of young love and betrayal. The first half of the book has more urgency than the latter, but Ifueko ratchets up the suspense before the end. Tarisai is a vivid and forceful main character, and the supporting cast includes colorful and powerful allies and adversaries. Raybearer ends in a cliff-hanger, and many readers will be impatient for the publication of the next volume.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.