4.5 stars // First thing I'm gonna say: I'm so glad that Redemptor (Raybearer #2) is coming out next month! Because I enjoyed this book so much! The world, the system, the magic, the characters ... I could have read 500 pages more! The author did so many things right and I hope I can list all of them here. 1) I really enjoyed her style of writing and the way she developed the story and the characters. Which leads me to the next point. 2) The characters are amazing! Tarisai is a very strong young woman. Next to fighting herself (or rather a part of herself) she also fights uncertainty and doubts which makes her so human. As so many of us are, at some point, confronted with the question who we really are and what our purpose (and mission) is on this earth, so does she need to find her calling and her true self in order to help and actually make a change. Then there is Sanjeet and I loved him from the first page we meet him. Such a lovely boy/young man with a troubled soul and a heart of gold! My most favourite character in this first book for sure! His development is equally beautiful to witness (though we're not going as deep as with Tarisai of course). 3) The way the author describes developments overall is just wonderful. I can even see growth etc. in the other less prominent characters. 4) An honorable mention goes to "The Lady", as I REALLY don't like her. I'm not gonna say much more as I don't want to spoil anyone's reading experience. 5) I LOVED the intrigues and the complexity of the world (in short, the politics). There were so many references and parallels to the real world, and so many situations showed that the world actually actually isn't just black or white. Though some of those political issues etc. were handled a bit "easy". Which is one of the few things that bothered me a tiny bit. Some conflicts were resolved a bit too quickly, sometimes, I felt like there should have been a conflict where there was none and sometimes, issues were dealt with in a manner that felt a bit inauthentic, as consequences weren't explored enough. Though, it IS a young adult book, so I'm not judging this too harshly :). The second tiny critique would be that some of the planned plottwists were a bit too plain and obvious, and since some of those mysteries weren't solved until later in the book the "big boom" didn't really reach me. Not all of the plottwists though, so it was still very much enjoyable. Lastly, I was missing a few more scenes with the rest of the council members, as those are just as important to Dayo as the three we join most (Tarisai, Sanjeet and Kirah + Dayo ofc). But I also see that it's Tarisai's story that's being told and not Dayo's, so I'm not too fussed about it. I'm hoping we're getting to know the others a bit more with the next book, as they all seem so interesting to me, and I'd like to know more about where they come from and why they wanted to join the council.
All in all, this was a very good book and I think my expectations were just too high which is why it's "only" 4.5 stars.
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Un-put-down-able! This fantasy novel about the nature of love and the bonds of family takes place in a captivating original world that was inspired by pre-colonial Africa. Protagonist Tarisai is the perfect combination of skilled and flawed, I couldn't help but love her.
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