A fast-paced and enjoyable story in West African environments fresh to the fantasy genre.

Only after I had read a couple of chapters, did I realize that this book is actually written for a young adult audience. When first shelving the book, and later picking it up to start reading, this fact hadn't registered in my mind yet. I generally don't read many children/YA books anymore, even though I admire many of the works I have read in my own childhood and recognize that pieces written for these audiences tend to be surprising and good in totally fresh ways. Raybearer is heavily character-driven and gives us a tightly plotted story. In my experience, this gives it the oh-so-desirable quality of un-put-downable-ty that I love in series like Harry Potter. In addition to this, Jordan makes us feel wonder and amazement at West African-inspired fantasy landscapes and cultures. There are tasty descriptions of food, which is a big plus in my hypothetical personal rating system. Characters felt a bit too shallow and clear-cut in their motivations to me. I realize this might be a necessary feature inherent to writing for YA. In the end, I found reading this book to be a addictively wholesome investment of my time.