I absolutely loved and enjoyed this amazing conclusion of Raybearer duology and my buddy reader Toni agrees with me. We both think we can’t find another fantasy as amazing as this anytime soon. Redemptor is breathtaking, immersive, and beautifully written YA fantasy with intricate plot, many layers, and fantastic world. Check out 5 reasons to read Redemptor in this post.
Redemptor (Raybearer #2) by Jordan Ifueko
Publication Date : August 17th 2021
Publisher : Hot Key Books
Read Date : July 22nd 2022
Genre : YA / High fantasy
Pages : 464
Tea for this book :
Disclaimer : I purchased this book.
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Previous book in Series
For the first time, an Empress Redemptor sits on Aritsar’s throne. To appease the sinister spirits of the dead, Tarisai must now anoint a council of her own, coming into her full power as a Raybearer. She must then descend into the Underworld, a sacrifice to end all future atrocities.
Tarisai is determined to survive. Or at least, that’s what she tells her increasingly distant circle of friends. Months into her shaky reign as empress, child spirits haunt her, demanding that she pay for past sins of the empire.
With the lives of her loved ones on the line, assassination attempts from unknown quarters, and a handsome new stranger she can’t quite trust . . . Tarisai fears the pressure may consume her. But in this finale to the Raybearer duology, Tarisai must learn whether to die for justice . . . or to live for it.
5 reasons to read Redemptor
Redemptor spectacular conclusion of Raybearer duology. I read this faster than first book even though the beginning was steady paced compared to lightning pace of first book. Somehow this one is even harder to review than first book. Here are 5 reasons why all high fantasy lovers should read the book –
1. Intricate plot, high stakes, and beautiful writing
First chapter epitomized what happened in first book but it is really short. So those who have read first book long ago might want to go back to last few chapters to recall things. This starts two weeks after the end of the first book. Author quickly takes us to what is happening in Aristsar and Oluwan city after Tarisai takes her rightful place. The beginning is brilliant with Tari’s plan of freeing her mentor that goes bad with the dead Redemptor kid interrupting her plan making the plot and story even darker and scary.
The plot becomes more and more complex with more child spirits appearing, introduction of Tari’s soon-to-be council members who are not happy with the idea of getting annoited, the awakening of Alagbatos, Blueblood nobles not happy with the change Tari is making, attempt on Tari’s life, and insurrection in Oluwan city and Arit Empire. It was amazing to read how Tari is going to find solution of all these problems and it became more difficult with difference of opinions with Sanjeet and her old family, and spirits making her more and more guilty and tiring.
The stakes are higher than previous book. In first book Tari lived to protect Dayo but now after finding purpose and making big change with Redemptor treaty it’s now saving the world from underworld monsters (abiku) and not just that but truly uniting all the 12 realms and including solngland to it.
Writing is beautiful, engaging, emotive, and often lyrical. I loved griot songs. It’s unique way of telling stories. Writing alone makes the world shine even brighter in this story.
2. More exploration of world
I thought first book included all the details of the world and there can’t be more to be revealed but author proved vast possibilities of this world in this sequel. Like first book this too is filled with myths, legends, folklores and religion. There are so many new things to learn- Redempotor child spirits and how they are appearing in real world; festivals, traditions, and customs; other Alagbatos and why they disappeared after the rule of first Kuenleo; how exactly blueblood nobles has lots of power and how it was connected to Ray and Raybearer; true power of Ray; minerals/artifacts from underworld, its power and how it works; guilds of mercenaries… some of these details has its own terminology and I loved how everything is explained here. I loved the story of first human guiding souls of the dead in the underworld.
I was amazed how they found solution to council sickness. I also enjoyed reading more about Oluwan city and we also go out of Emperial city to Djbanti and as expected, to underworld. All amazing twists and turns and most important part of the story takes places in those two places.
3. Characters’ struggle and development
Tari is fabulous, so inspiring strong female character. In the first three parts we see her vulnerabiliy. She is still struggling with her identity in the beginning, getting used to her title and weighing all the responsibility that comes with title and power. There is lots of emotional conflicts triggered by visits from Redemptor spirits, her drive and purpose of changing the world that changes her relationships with her siblings who couldn’t fully understand her or her purpose and it broke my heart to see Tari struggling with all of these alone.
All the siblings separating to take care of problems arising in their realms makes it even more heartbreaking and lonely for Tari. Dayo stayed by her side all the time, he supported her in every possible way but Tari not sharing what she is going through, how much she is suffering makes him helpless. It also hurt to see her think she is going to die and leave her legacy behind to save the world. She also made mistake of keeping her darker side from her soon-to-be council members when she started working with them.
Her development was amazing. I loved how she realized she needed to show her true self to new council members to truly love her, distancing herself from everyone wouldn’t make her guilt lighter and she is just one person, it’s not possible to solve everything alone, she would need help, love, support of her siblings to change the world. I loved how her thoughts changed in fourth part and found dying is never a solution but staying alive to make sure the change she brought stays intact makes real difference.
I loved all old and new council memebers. I enjoyed knowing Ai Ling more in this story. Growing feelings and romance between her and Dayo was lovely to read. Dayo is also fantastic. In first book Dayo mentioned him not feeling when it comes to physical relationship but in this book he openly talks about his struggle with gender identity and insecurity and doubts regarding it and how that will affect his love for Ai Ling and future of Empire. It was lovely to know him more closely and the way he annoited Tari, carved her statue on wall with all the details, and how he stuck by her side in all situations and understood her was admirable. I also loved that scenes with Malaki that showed his strength- the people of Empire, seeing good in everyone and everything and giving everyone a chance.
There are moments, their conversations, that first walk scene and Dayo shielding Tari from attacks that show Dayo and Tari aren’t just siblings but soulmates, not as in romance but like kindred spirits.
Surprisingly we don’t see Sanjeet more. He is there but disappears in the middle part after fight between him and Tari and I didn’t like him for abandoning Tari. It was so out of character. I understand why he went back on his word, how his fierce love and fear made him want to keep Tari safe so he don’t lose her like his mother and brother but even with all his reasons he disappointed me by breaking Tari’s heart, making her truly alone in her journey. But I loved the way he realized his mistake. I admire him for even accepting bond between Tari and Zuri which shows how big his heart and love is. That moment is super lovely and heartwarming and I loved what Tari said in that conversation.
Of all new characters most interesting are Min Ja and Zuri. Min Ja is everything I love in strong female character. Her backstory is tragic, it was heartbreaking to see an innocent and loving girl turned into cold and intimidating ruler. I loved how confident she is and showed Tari what happened to her brothers, how messed up royal families can be and later accepting and understanding Tari when she showed her true side. In wish I could see her more.
Zuri is mysterious. I didn’t like him at first because of that pale art bracelet that made his suspicious and the way he is treating Tari but once his secret is revealed everything about him made sense. He is only character that surprised me most. Like Tari, I didn’t agree with his methods and like Woo In said he truly is insufferable and it was impossible to align with his motives but he was good at heart and so very selfless. It takes more than courage to devote life to people. He made Tari realize many things. He truly is hero for what he did. For a moment I thought there will be a love triangle but again like first book author dodged it so well.
It was lovely to see Woo In, Ye Eun, Mongwe, and Melu once again. I loved these characters in first book and expected them to appear earlier in story but they don’t show before fourth part. I was surprised how bigger role Ye Eun has in this story apart from training Tari for the underworld. I loved this girl for training Tari so well, for her love for Ai Ri, and for showing up when Tari needed her most.
4. fabulous themes and layers
The main themes of the story is imperialism, justice, survival, and sacrifice. But there are many layers that elaborate these themes and add more depth to story and characters like political intrigue, oppression, exploitations, poverty, corruption, trust, betrayal, friendship, family, love, selfishness, courage, and difference between guilt and conviction.
5. journey to underworld with mindblowing conclusion
This is my most favorite part as I was anticipating it from the very beginning, in fact from the end of Raybearer. We see glimpse of Ye Eun’s training but the actual steps and things to keep in mind while crossing the underworld are revealed in this part when Tari enters the underworld. I expected The Lady’s appearance here, there was no surprise there but still I was shocked how selfish and manipulative she can be even in death. What she revealed though was totally surprising. I still can’t figure out how Tari got that brilliant idea that poured water on abiku’s plan (literally). It was truly mind blowing the way she saved not just herself but all thirteen realms and also all Redemptor spirits. Coronation and her wish from Melu in the end is aweinspiring. That small part only showed so many things- how easy it is to drown in power, how remembering hard days and where we come from humbles us, and how worthy Tari is to rule and the wish that not only made every person of thirteen realms equal but also gave her hope for the family she and Dayo wanted with true peace and unity throughout the empire. I can’t think of a better ending than this.
Overall, Redemptor is unique, breathtaking, and beautifully written YA fantasy with incredible plot, themes, and world. I highly recommend this book.
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