As I’m sure you all already know, Raybearer was one of my favorite books of 2020. I found the worldbuilding, the prose, the characters, and the plot to be unique, beautifully written, profound, and impressive, especially for a debut novel.
So obviously, I’ve been looking forward to Redemptor; I even reread Raybearer in preparation.
I can’t imagine writing a sequel to such a celebrated first book, especially when under deadline. And I’ll go ahead and say I really did enjoy Redemptor, and it’s a solid four-star read from me. However, it just wasn’t what I expected, and the story didn’t rope me in as tightly as the first book.
Without spoiling anything, I was looking forward to getting to know the cast of characters better. For some background, Tarisai, the main character, is part of a group of twelve people anointed to Dayo, the prince. They’re bonded together forever as a found family of sorts through Dayo’s ray, which also allows them to speak telepathically to each other.
In Raybearer, we obviously don’t get to spend a lot of time with more than a handful of the anointed siblings. Even though I loved all of the characters we did get to know, I knew there was room to learn more about Tarisai’s relationships with the rest of them.
However, instead, we get a whole new cast of characters thrown at us. Even though I half-expected this from the way the plot was set up at the ending of the first book, it was a little disappointing to me. I loved the first cast of characters so much that it was hard for me to care about the new ones. I’m glad we got to know Kirah, one of Tar’s anointed sisters, more. But Sanjeet and Woo In, two of my favorite characters, didn’t appear nearly enough in this sequel, and I really felt their absence (especially since there was this weird sort-of love triangle but not really thing happening for part of the book?).
Despite that, the plot felt a little slow moving in the first half. Thankfully, the second half was awesome and had a great ending!
I love that we got to hear from Dayo more, and his asexual representation was great. I loved Tar’s journey to the Underworld, even if it felt short compared to the rest of the book. I loved, as usual, Ifueko’s worldbuilding.
I think what I’m saying is this: I enjoyed this book. Just don’t go into it with extra lofty expectations.