April 6, 2022

ARC REVIEW: Redemptor (Raybearer #2) by Jordan Ifueko

Redemptor (Raybearer #2) by Jordan Ifueko
Rating: 5 Stars
Release Date: August 17, 2021
Format: ARC (from Publisher) and Audiobook (from Library)
Publisher: Amulet Books

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Jordan Ifueko is a master storyteller, and she proved it once again with the latest installment in the Raybearer duology, Redemptor. Our main character, Tarisai Idajo is still reeling from the events that happened at the end of Raybearer. She made a deal with the abiku to become the last sacrifice sent into the Underworld and stop the cycle of child sacrifices. In order to do so and be able to take her place as Empress Redemptor, she must appoint her own council of rulers but that's easier said than done. 

The found family aspect of the book was a highlight. Every family must deal with growing pains, and the found family of Tarisai and her council siblings is no different. As Empress Redemptor, Tarisai was forced to do a lot and change a lot and it took a while for her council siblings to adjust to that. Some of them adjusted a bit quicker than others (Sanjeet and Dayo), but everything thankfully worked out in the end. I loved seeing Tarisai grow and mature over the course of her character arc and the two books. 

I thought Tarisai went through a lot in the first book, but she goes through even more in Redemptor. She carries the weight of all the Redemptors who died before her - a seemingly impossible weight to carry alone, as no one person can atone for an empire's sins by themself. If that wasn't enough, she's haunted by the spirits of all the dead Redemptors who are slowly making her question her sanity before she’s even made it to the Underworld. Her story is one of persistence, determination, and strength and I’m so happy that I was able to be a witness to it through reading. 

Jordan Ifueko handles the diversity in her characters well. I'm not just speaking of skin color and race (which there’s a spectrum of Aritsar), but things like sexual orientation and disability. For example, Dayo is sex averse (which seemed to indicate he is asexual, though that word was never explicitly used). Tarisai has always been very respectful of his boundaries (despite expectations for both of them to produce an heir) - I can’t speak from the perspective of being part of the LGBTQA+ community, but in my opinion, Ms. Ifueko handled those conversations with tact and care. 

The worldbuilding helped wrap all the other elements of the book together nicely. Jordan Ifueko expands the Aritsar worldbuilding as Tarisai learns more about the other realms through each individual ruler. She also added a new world to the mix by showing the various denizens of the Underworld and Tarisai’s journey there. 

Overall, Redemptor was a very satisfying and powerful end to the Raybearer duology. All the storylines seemed to wrap up (no cliffhangers or loose threads to worry about), and I appreciated where things ended up. It was also another fantastic audiobook performance from narrator Joniece Abbott-Pratt. After reading Raybearer and Redemptor, I look forward to reading whatever Jordan Ifueko may write in the future.  

TRIGGER WARNINGS: Alcohol Consumption, Drug Use, Child Abuse, Child Neglect, Murder

About the Author

Jordan Ifueko is the NYT Bestselling Author of the RAYBEARER series. She’s a Nebula Award, Ignyte Award, Audie Award, and Hugo Lodestar finalist, and she's been featured in People Magazine, NPR Best Books, NPR Pop Culture Hour, & ALA Top Ten. She writes about magic Black girls who aren’t magic all the time, because honestly, they deserve a vacation. Ifueko lives in Los Angeles with her husband David & their 3-legged trustafarian dog Reginald Ovahcomah.

Photo Credit: TeniKomo Photography


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