Cover Image: Redemptor

Redemptor

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Member Reviews

(Content warnings: panic attacks, death, child death, violence, blood, drug use, suicidal thoughts)

This book was... simultaneously less and more than I was expecting, but overall I don't think it lived up to the masterpiece that was Raybearer for me. Mostly I think it's because it felt kinda rushed - there were so many new characters introduced, and new plotlines on top of the continuations of those from Raybearer, and there just wasn't enough space for all of them to get the time they deserved :(

I still enjoyed the book though, the writing is still phenomenal, Dayo (my beloved) still holds a very special place in my heart, and I'd be lying if I said there weren't a couple moments that moved me to tears. The scene were Tarisai finally, wholeheartedly decides she wants to *live*? That it's worth it? That she's not going to die in the underworld? Oh it's gonna live in my head rent free forever 🥺
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This books was faster paced than Raybearer; jumping back into the action. As all of the characters and world building was so well done in books one this allowed book 2 to flow at a much quicker pace. 

Tarisai has two years to anoint her own council before she enters the under world. Seeing Tar build relationships with the other council members was lovely; but felt it was a little rushed in comparison to how she built her council with Dayo and the rest. 

There was so much build up to Tar entering the underworld that I felt that it was rushed then when she got there. I felt really underwhelmed by it. I was expecting more action. 

I loved how Tar stayed true to her character and her beliefs; she is a strong woman who doesn’t need to follow the path of the past and I liked that. That she didn’t change her mind was true to her character and I liked that. 

This is perfect if you love found families fantasy with sublime world building, and if the Netflix show do it right; it’s going to be a beautiful show to watch!
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There aren't enough superlativrs to describe what the author has achieved in this, her debut series. Utterly phenomenal in every way!
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Wow, wow, wow!! This book was amazing. Such intricate world building, which had me hooked from the start. The writing style is just amazing, and it's a wonderfully written piece
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thank you netgalley for providing me with an arc in exchange for an honest review. i loved the first book, so i was really looking forward to reading this, and it did not disappoint. i absolutely loved it! because of this i am giving it 5/5 stars.
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I'm in absolute awe of this book. This is now my favourite duology ever. With Raybearer having been one of my absolute favourite books of 2020, the finale to this duology was one of my most anticipated 2021 books. In this second instalment, we follow Tarisai as she faces new challenges and enemies and ultimately braves the underworld itself. With brand new fascinating characters and several heartfelt moments, Redemptor explores exploitation, oppression, nobility, and class divisions in a thoughtful and multifaceted way. Incredible. Thank you to Hot Key Books and Netgalley for the arc. All opinions are my own.
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I really enjoyed this duo logy, but Redemptor wasn't quite as exciting for me as Raybearer was. The character development of Tarasai was beautifully written, and the journey she went on to anoint her new council and save the redemptory children was great to read, but the pace was a little slow at times and I found myself drifting out of focus which didn't happen in the first book. Still a great book though, and I'm excited to see what JI writes next!
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This was the sequel I wanted! Raybearer left us on such a cliffhanger and the wait for this book killed me! I loved it even more than the first one, love the characters, the writing, the setting, just everything. I can't wait to read more from this author!
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As with all sequels, a chunk of this book is spent rehashing the events of book 1 and their consequences on the characters. The author deals with big themes like revolution, upending monarchies, introducing democracy and tackling capitalism. Because the book is in the first person and the narrator can't be everywhere, we only get a bird's eye view of how some of these issues are resolved but in some instances it felt convenient and too easily won. I also thought that the focus on these big issues sacrificed some of the great character work I had loved about the first book. However as always, the world building was superb which is one of my favourite parts of these series.
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4.5 stars.

Redemptor was a step up for me after Raybearer. I did enjoy Raybearer but the fantasy world was so detailed that it took me a while to come to grips with it. I read Raybearer not to long ago, so it was still quite fresh in my mind. 

We pick up not long after Raybearer ends. I liked the depth of Redemptor and how it felt like a realistic depiction showing the limits of good intentions, the difficulty in enforcing real societal change. 

The story is detailed, the characters well-developed and overall it's a really successful fantasy world that deals with a lot of real world issues and the ending is satisfying. 

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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Redemptor was possibly my most anticipated book of 2021, and in general it didn't disappoint.  I've made no secret of the fact that Raybearer was my favourite read of last year, and have had the release of Redemptor marked in my diary since it was first announced.

Mild spoilers ahead for both books.

Redemptor starts not long after the events of Raybearer, with Tarisai appointed Empress Redemptor and charged with creating her own council of the leaders of the 12 Arit realms.  The first section of the book has one of my least favourite tropes - where the lead character becomes more and more isolated from their family and friends, convinced by some outside source that it's the only way.  I really truly hate that trope, and it's a testament to Jordan Ifueko's writing, world building and characters that despite it I still really enjoyed Redemptor.

Tarisai's found family are back, along with some intriguing new characters.  It was nice to get a little more of the personalities of the 12 council members, as most of them were only really name checked in Raybearer.  Dayo's asexuality comes up again and is handled sensitively - it's always nice to have more positive aspec rep out there.

Overall, I really enjoyed Redemptor - an easy 4.5 out of 5 (and that's just due to my own preferences regarding THAT trope, not to do with the writing of the book)
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I have been so excited to read this, I fell in love with the first book and was counted down the days until this one got released- so thanks net galley for sending me a copy to review!
It was quite a while ago that i read the first book, and because the world building is quite high fantasy it was a little confusing to get back into. If you read the first book a while ago I recommended re-reading before you start this book, otherwise you’ll end up like me not remembering the world history or who everyone was which can ruin the flow of the book. 
the world building is beautiful, the detail and the history of each place within the world is the perfect balance of information and imagination- it transports you to another world and it is one of my favourite fantasy worlds yet. the writing style has such a great flow and once you get told all of the information, its super easy to follow and just lose yourself in. 
the vibe of this book was so good, I loved the supernatural feel it gave- it was really different to the first book but it made it so interesting and it made sure I was always intrigued. I found myself wanting to know more and genuinely puzzled with what was happening, really great way to keep everything fresh. 
one of my favourite things about the plot was the huge twist with the crocodile, I won’t say much but I really did not see it coming and it genuinely shocked me. It was such an amazing reveal, it was at the perfect time and just written so well. 
I think a lot of the things from this book can be taken into consideration with our own world, it made a lot of references to capitalism and the imbalance of power within society- with the poorest always being at the bottom, which then led to a huge revolution of the poorest wanting to change everything. I think it was so cool the way it related and it gave some really important thinking points. 
a criticism i have though is that the way the first book ended, it kind of gave the impression that this book would have more to do with her trip to the underworld. so when i was 300 pages in and she hadn’t even gotten close I was kind of confused and let down, that was the thing I was the most excited for and when it did happen, it just felt so rushed like they’d tried to get it ended before it even really began. I would have preferred a third book with more detail of the trip to the underworld than it just kind of being squeezed into the ending of this book. 
either way though I did really enjoy it and both of the books are amazing reads that I highly recommend.
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Redemptor and the Raybearer duology as a whole is the type of story that fills your heart with hope and joy. While it delves into some dark and thought-provoking territory, you are always left feeling empowered and uplifted.
 
I absolutely adored Raybearer, so I was just craving the sequel as soon as I could get my hands on it. I always think that sequels are such tricky beasts, but I think that only did Ifueko pull this off, I actually think I lost a little bit more of my heart to Redemptor. Simply put, this duology blew me away. Trust me, I was obsessed with the first book, but I think this sequel just topped it for me. 

Ifueko’s writing cast a spell on me again. I don’t think I’ve read such an evocative and immersive fantasy story for a little while. Every sense was enriched by the pages of this book, as even more creative and gorgeous world-building surrounded me. We dig into even more mythology, history and geography of this vividly imagined world. I didn’t think it was possible to add even more layers to this complex and original fantasy, but Ifueko ensures the story thrives on its added elements. 

Tarisai is a brilliant protagonist for this, as we feel her inner torment and struggle to take on her new role as leader. I loved the found family in the first book and this is only built on here, with another group being formed and more wonderful characters being introduced to us. Also, I really appreciated the character development. Every single character feel nuanced and like Ifueko has spent the time to give them depth and a distinctive voice. On top of that, the plot is so intriguing with plenty of shocking twists and turns in store. 

Yet again, Redemptor is a gorgeously evocative, rich and original YA fantasy that completely immerses you in its expansive world-building, exquisite character work and precise attention to detail.
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3.5 stars

Redemptor is the final book in the Raybearer duology, in which we follow Tarisai as she continues her journey as a raybearer an the newly crowned empress. After the end of the last book where she agrees to sacrifice herself to the underworld after she has annoited 12 leaders to her ray. In this noval Tarisai must navigate the changing political landscape and fight against her demons - both literal and metaphorical. 

I felt like the sequel lost some of the magic of the first book. I can't quite put my finger on what it was but it felt like something was missing that made the first book so special. I think we didn't get such a sense of found family from the council, which was something I loved in the first book. Additionally this felt like it could have done with a lot more pages - it felt very rushed, I'm not sure if this is just because it's YA but events felt like they didn't have enough time to be dealt with properly. I liked the ending and how things ended up in the world but it felt like things happened and concluded really quickly. 

However despite a couple of issues I still really enjoyed the story overall. Tarasai is a great main character and I really felt for her arc in this book, her confusion, grief and loneliness really hit you in all the feels. I also love some of the relationships in this book, especially between Tarisai and Dayo - their friendship is so precious T_T

Ifueko's prose is really beautiful and creates a stunning atmosphere to the novel. I especially liked the underworld scenes - although again I wish we had spent more time there!! 

In conclusion I still think the sequel is worth reading, even if it doesn't quite live up to the first book we still have the same loveable characters and a great overall message of believing in yourself and learning to allow others to help you, as well as the importance of carrying the stories of the past with us and not forgetting those voices who may have been lost to history.
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An absolutely stunning conclusion to the Raybearer series! Jordan Ifueko’s breathtakingly magical and immersive world-building was sheer perfection—Utterly unputdownable! 

For the first time an Empress Redemptor sits on Aritsar’s throne, but to appease the spirits of the dead Tarisai must anoint a council of her, coming into her full power as a Raybearer. Then she must descend into the Underworld, a sacrifice to atone for the past and end all future atrocities. 

But Tarisai is determined to survive. At least, that’s what she tells her increasingly distant circle of friends. With her reign off to a shaky start with the lives of her loved ones on the line;haunted by child spirits who demand payment for past sins of the empire, facing assassination attempts and a handsome new stranger she can’t quite trust, Tarisai fears the pressure with consume her. 

For only she can’t decide whether to die for justice... or to live for it.

I absolutely LOVED Raybearer, with its beautifully lush descriptions and wonderfully endearing protagonist and Redemptor is no different. The pacing was good and the writing was exceptional, I absolutely loved the complex and endearingly vibrant characters (both recurring and new.) 

The LGBTQ+ representation was also really good, I particularly enjoyed the portrayal of an Asexual main character  (a group that has long been overlooked or unrepresented in fiction.)

Jordan Ifueko’s skill in weaving some important social topics such as; mental health,class discrimination,women’s equality, neglect and the global climate crisis into a gorgeously compelling and addictive narrative is one of the many reasons she’s one of my favourite new authors— I’m excited to see what she does next.

Overall, this beautifully heart wrenching,West African inspired YA Fantasy is one of the best books I’ve read all year!

Thanks to Bonnier/Hot Key Books and NetGalley for the e-arc.
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In the sequel to Ifueko’s Raybearer, Tarisei has overcome her curse and solved the mystery of the Kunleo line. To uphold the treaty and stop the deaths of thousands of children, she has been given two years convince the wary and suspicious rules of the twelve countries of Arit to love her, and then find a way to survive the world of the dead. But the dead don’t plan to make it easy for her…

I was incredibly nervous when I started this book. Would I love it as much as I loved Raybearer? The last book ended so well, would this one live up to the hype, or would I end up wishing Raybearer had been a standalone?

Well, folks, I finished reading the e-book I’d received as an ARC and immediately went and bought myself a physical copy. This is just one of those books I’m going to want to read again and again, and one of those stories I’d like to hold close.

Redemptor falls easily back into the brilliant pacing and passion of the first book. Obviously, some things are a little different: Tarisei has a new focus, and the narrative attention has shifted accordingly, but although some of Tarisei’s council siblings take a step back for this sequel, the heavy emphasis this book places on connection and compassion means they never feel lost or excluded from the more immediate plot.

Also, as an asexual person, I really appreciated the continued attention on a certain character’s sex repulsion, as well as the emphasis that he is not alone in his feelings.

With complex philosophical decisions, beautiful worldbuilding, and a wonderfully diverse cast of characters, this series continues to be an absolute delight. If you like found family, complex and interesting magic systems, and diverse fantasy, I would absolutely recommend you check this duology out.

Rating:  ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Genre: Fantasy
LGBTQ+ Representation: Asexuality, WLW
Trigger Warnings: Fantasy violence, self-loathing (unrelated to sexuality)
Would I recommend this? Yes!
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This book was my most anticipated release of 2021 and it didn’t disappoint!  I loved Raybearer and couldn’t wait to get my hands on this one.

The writing was, once again, just incredible and fast paced.  The book is still rich in culture and I love how Tarisai has developed and grown throughout the two books.  I loved that we got all these new characters as well as the ones we loved from the last book.

The plot picks up where Raybearer left off, so we see Tarisai building her own counsel.  I think guilt was explored extremely well throughout the book and I especially liked the plot of the ojiji.  I do wish we’d spent a little more time in the Underworld mind, but the plot was so good it doesn’t feel like a loss because the book was action packed from start to finish.

I think Tarisai has to be one of my favourite characters in any book I’ve read; the growth in her has just been incredible and I feel like a proud parent for some reason😂.  

Honestly, I can’t recommend this series enough!  I’m sad this is the end of Tarisai’s story but I cannot wait to see what Jordan comes out with next because her talent is next level.

Thank you so much to Netgalley, the author and the publisher for the chance to read an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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After the shocking end of Raybearer, Tarisai now finds herself Empress Redemptor, sitting on Aritsar's throne, a Raybearer in her own right. But to appease the sinister spirits of the dead, she must anoint her own council, leaders from nations within the kingdom. Then, once done, she must descend into the Underworld, the final sacrifice to end all future atrocities. And she has only two years to do these impossible tasks in. 

Tarisai is determined to survive. To return from the Underworld. But her reign as empress is shaky, especially since the arrival of the mysterious rebel leader, the Crocodile, her council siblings and friends are becoming distant and she's started to see child spirits, all demanding that she must pay for the sins of the empire, that she must do more...

With the pressures growing and the ghosts refusing to leave her, how far can Tarisai go for justice and a better future? Is she willing to dine for it, or will she find the strength to live for it? And what if things have other plans?

Now, I can't remember if I spoke about my reading of Raybearer in depth but, while I did like it, I did find the first half of it a tad slow (world-building and introduction to characters, I get that) and it was only when we got to the latter half when the book, for me, found its stride and with everything that happened, I kept thinking "How is Jordan Ifueko going to wrap this up? How is she going to do it? And what the heck is going on?"

I shouldn't have worried. This is a worthy sequel to Raybearer. In fact, in some ways, it's far superior. 

This duology delivers everything I think most of us readers wanted. A wonderfully rich world with its own mythology, fleshed out characters, mental health issues, parental issues, LGBTQ+ characters among others and careful, expert plotting. You can tell Jordan Ifueko has plotted this duology carefully and, at the same time, allowed characters to breath and go their own way. 

I loved how this book tackles LGBTQ characters. We have a main character who is asexual but, as the book goes on, we see him begin to fall in love with another character and yet, is completely open about his asexuality. We, also, have two new characters who are lesbians and, though it's not said, is obvious to everyone that they are deeply in love with each other. These two characters I adore as they are so different to our main characters (no spoilers om who they are. Once you meet them, you'll see who I mean). 

Plus, I really like the handing of Tarisai not wanting children. I normally hate it when this is bought up in books/films/TV shows as within a few episodes/series, the character changes their mind and is desperate for children. I get that some women do go through this, but I see this happen in nearly everything. So, it was refreshing to have Tarisai talk about this to herself and to her main love interest in an open and frank way, as well as her admitting that her opinion on this issue might change in the future. 

There are one or two elements I wasn't that huge a fan of. I find the length of Tarisai behind haunted and the words "Do more... do more..." quite grating after a while (It did take me nearly a month to do this audiobook and I heard this at least once daily in my drive to/from work). And, also, there were things that I felt could have been strenched out more a lot more (the last few chapters, for example) and others that could have been shorten a fraction and I think that, maybe, this book should have been a tad longer. Not much, but just to give the book another breath of air. It all comes back to pacing for me, and yet, Jordan does so much within her pacing and leaves no stone unturned...

But saying that, this duology is one of the strongest-written YA fantasy duologies I have read in quite some time and, barring the pacing issues, I wholeheartedly recommend this. I can not wait to see what the author writes next!
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Starting with a prison break, this sequel is about Tarisai getting used to being Empress Redemptor, and preparing for the Underworld, to solidify the bargain she made. She is busy anointing her own council and trying to improve her empire, as she faces unexpected dangers, till it is time for her ultimate sacrifice.

From the first pages, I remembered why I loved Ifueko's storytelling so much. And the 'what just happeneds' start early on, as the narrative captures your attention. She caresses our imagination with her vibrant descriptions and breathes the power of emotion in her words, navigating us splendidly through each new scene. The author invites us into this wonderful world of her and we more than willingly follow letting ourselves be lost.

Tarisai is fiercely loyal, braver than she thinks and her kindness warms your heart. The mythology expands as we learn about new places, creatures, characters etc. As always the figurative speech is original and breathtaking, the writing so invitingly honest, it stays with you.

The "The only thing more powerful than a wish is a purpose" quote carries the essence of this book. The novel shakes off the remnants of misogyny and embraces the power of women. It also spotlights one of the noblest of causes, wanting to change the world into a better place. Subtly preaching equality, making you realize that everyone has worth and all are worth caring for. The importance of family, especially the one you chose, permeates the narrative. So does believing in yourself.

This heartwrenching, heartwarming and spirit-lifting story is written so beautifully, a finale worthy of its predecessor, a duology worth its hype, a new voice in Jordan Ifueko worthy of being added to the pantheon of favorites.
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