Redemptor by Jordan Ifueko is the much-awaited sequel and conclusion to the Raybearer Duology. Tarisai has returned for her quest to change the fate of a nation.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

From Goodreads:

The hotly anticipated sequel to the instant New York Times bestselling YA fantasy about Tarisai’s quest to change her fate

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.

All quotes are from an Advanced Reader Copy and may or may not reflect the published copy.

“Guilt is self-centered and leads only to destructive obsession. But conviction brings balance- a sense of purpose beyond oneself.”

Jordan Ifueko has returned with the conclusion of her beautifully written fantasy. The prose in this book was absolutely beautiful. There were so many quotes to try and choose from. Tarisai has developed into an interesting character. She is slowly healing from the trauma of being used as a tool and finding her footing as a new leader. However, her core being does not change. This is important in these kinds of books, as it keeps the character’s actions feeling true to herself. Unlike the first book, the intimacy of the other characters is less notable. Tarisai is pushing them away, which made their interactions fewer. As she must build her own council, I expected a similar experience from the first book. However, it felt rushed, and I did not care about or connect to anyone mentioned.

“My name was Tarisai Kunleo, and no one I loved would ever die again.”

As much as I enjoyed this book, it did suffer greatly from second book syndrome. This book is hurt the most by the fact that realistically, this should have been a trilogy. There is so much that should have been built up as a peak plot point in this story, that the ending felt lackluster. This story felt like it ran at the same pacing the entire time, with minimal to no peaks and valleys of interest. It made getting through the story frustrating, as, by the time I got to the end, I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to be excited about. While the prose was beautiful, and conceptually the ending was fantastic- the execution wasn’t the best.

“I think I’d rather be hated as a weakling than loved as a monster.”

I am somewhat sad to say goodbye to this world and these characters. There could be more information, more story, and more lore. This also plays into my issues with the pacing. It all felt very to the point or rushed. I enjoyed the book. Alas, this was generally because of how much I wanted to know what happened in the end. This story still gets a high rating from me, primarily because of Tarisai and the context of her story, as well as the beauty of the prose.

“Do not ask how many people you will save,” I said. “Ask to what world will you save them? What makes a world worth surviving in?”

Thank you to Netgalley and Amulet Books for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Read more reviews here.