cover image Raybearer


Jordan Ifueko. Amulet, $18.99 (416p) ISBN 978-1-4197-3982-8

In Ifueko’s stunning fantasy debut, a woman known as “the Lady” commands a djinn to build her an invisible stronghold and impregnate her with a child who must someday grant her third wish. She raises the resulting daughter, dark-skinned Tarisai, in ignorance of her origins, isolating and training her for an undisclosed reason. When the Lady dispatches 11-year-old Tarisai to Oluwan City to compete for inclusion on Crown Prince Ekundayo’s governing Council of Eleven, the affection-starved girl is delighted; if chosen, she will bond eternally with Dayo, as the prince is known, and her Council siblings via a mystical Ray. The union will also render Dayo immune to all forms of premature death except murder by a Council member—which is precisely what the Lady envisions. Tarisai, however, resolves to write her own destiny and protect Dayo, no matter the cost. By crafting a world plagued by imperialism, poverty, and institutionalized misogyny, and a mythology that literalizes the power of love, purpose, and sacrifice, Ifueko illustrates the need for social change and inspires readers to fight for it. Fierce, kindhearted characters from ethnically and culturally diverse backgrounds enhance the well-paced, exquisitely crafted plot, which thrills and inspires while fostering readers’ hope for a sequel. Ages 12–up. Agent: Kim-Mei Kirtland, Howard Morhaim Literary. (Aug.)