Jordan Ifueko’s book titled Redemptor is the second and final book in the Raybearer series. Last year, we featured the first book titled Raybearer on our Notable African Books of the Year list because of how much the book draws from West African oral literature to create the powerful female character Tarisai and the stunning fictional world in which she lives. In the second book, Tarisai is now an empress. Much of the conflict and secret that define her life are resolved. But, with her new position in Aritsar comes new challenges.
We were struck by a few things about the book, but particularly with the way it draws from the Abiku mythology. Abiku is a spirit entity in Yoruba mythology. It is a life form characterized by the ability to crossover from the spirit world to the human world, be born as a human child, only to die soon after and continue this cycle of birth and death. Ben Okri’s The Famished Road is one of the most celebrated fictional representation of the Abiku. Ifueko incorporates the figure as a villain of some kind, integrating it into an already colorful fictional world of creatures and magical beings.
Read the publisher’s description of the book below.
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.