book blogger · fantasy · sci fi & fantasy · Y/A · Y/A Fantasy

Redemptor by Jordan Ifueko

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.

My thoughts:

Having read Raybearer earlier this year and absolutely adoring it, I was beyond excited for this conclusion to this incredible duology; Redemptor. I can’t get over how fitting this finale feels, in so many ways. Jordan Ifueko is a master storyteller, from the world building to the character development and fast pace, it was so well done and I can’t imagine a more perfect ending. Thank you so much to Molly from Hot Key Books for sending me a copy early!

I think the best books leave you with this subtle ache and Redemptor definitely left me with this feeling. Don’t get me wrong, I’m more than content with where the story and characters ended up but I’ll definitely miss them all.

I thought a really profound thread in the novel was about legacies and confronting the sins of the past. The ways in which Tarisai and Dayo feel a responsibility to make up for the troubling actions of their parents and ancestors was so important and I liked the way that they were committed to promoting equality and righting wrongs. They’re both moral characters at their core and I liked that they stayed this way throughout the series.

I loved how Ifueko manages to combine the fantasy elements and this epic power struggle between humans and the demonic abiku, with the deadline for the risky deal Tarisai made with them, getting closer and closer. I genuinely didn’t know how Tarisai would manage to win against such insurmountable odds but the conclusion felt so deserved and believable. There are so many intense moments where you don’t know where it can go but Ifueko has crafted the story in such an excellent way that it not only keeps you guessing but captures your imagination and leads you to be even more invested in these characters.

Speaking of characters, with a sequel and characters which are introduced in said sequel, it can be hard to connect with them sometimes and risk them being a tad underdeveloped. With another author this could be a possibility however with Ifueko’s skill there’s nothing to worry about – the two standout characters for me were Min Ja and Zuri. I loved how we got to learn both their back stories and motivations and how complex they were.

An element I loved in the first book was the core characters, and the unbreakable relationships between them. It’s no secret I love the found family trope and this duology has one of the best examples of this that I’ve ever read. You get the sense that Tarisai would quite literally do anything for her counsel siblings but also that they would do the same for her and love her unconditionally. This is such a beautiful representation of what it means to find your own family and community which is accepting and eternal. From the bond between Tarisai and Dayo, like two halves of a single whole to the devotion between Tarisai and Sanjeet, who are soulmates and each others cornerstones amidst all the uncertainties of their lives.

Overall, Redemptor is a refreshing, hopeful and beautiful ending to a truly memorable duology. I struggle to think of a Y/A fantasy in recent memory which measures up to this one and I think that says a lot. I’m looking forward to re-reading this duology and reading whatever Jordan Ifueko writes next.

Until next time,

Rums x

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