“I realised it was safer not to feel. If I was never too happy, then no one could make me sad.”
I absolutely didn’t cry at that part. I absolutely did not.
I was absolutely invested in these characters. J. Ifueko knew what she was doing with Tarisai, how could I not root for her?
So the spoiler-free story is there is a Ray which occupies the noble leader of their world. His son also bears this Ray, to bear the Ray means you also must have a council of specially curated people who will “love you”. There are rigorous tests for them to “love you” and these kids are tested from young.
This story follows Tarisai, as a young girl, who spends her whole life training to be on this council without knowing it actually exists. Tarisai will do anything her mum wants because she just wants to belong and have a family who loves her and touch her.
Ah man, what a story! What a world! I can see it’s heavily influenced by Nigerian culture, and for that, I must thank Ifueko. Her acknowledgements at the beginning of the gorgeous book read “For the kid scanning fairy tales for a hero with a face like theirs.”
The entire premise was great, it kept me guessing, I can’t gush about this book without ruining it but I will say, SANJEET IS BAE.
I paid quite a lot for my edition, the UK paperback was not the version I wanted at all.
You can buy my version here:
Bookshop [US]: http://raboninco.com/29bSx
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?