Title: Unravel the Dusk
Author: Elizabeth Lim
Publisher: Random House Children’s
Release date: July 7th, 2020
Page count: 368
Reading this book was such a rollercoaster kind of experience. Spin the Dawn is one of the best fantasy books I’ve read this year, and you can read my full review of it here. Elizabeth Lim does not disappoint with this action-packed sequel, and she definitely gave the readers an epic book that certainly, will stay in the minds of those who decide to read it for a long time. If you haven’t read Spin the Dawn yet, I suggest you to stop reading as this review may have spoilers of the first book. If that’s not the case, keep reading because this is a spoiler-free review of Unravel the Dusk!
Unravel the Dusk continues the story of Maia, who’s now the imperial tailor of A’landi after creating the three dresses of Amana. But as we know, making the dresses came with a cost and now she’s on her way to becoming a demon. With Edan away and the tensions between Emperor Khanujin and the shansen arising, the stakes are very high and many things can go wrong.
The worldbuilding once again blew me away. Lim makes a wonderful job at bringing this story to life, and it’s a very movie-esque experience to dive into this world, especially with the epic descriptions of the palaces. The mythology is amazing and I loved to get to know more about Amana’s tale and many others that were mentioned in the story, like the so-famous legend of the red string of destiny.
The characters improved a lot in this sequel and we can get to see them as more complex and determined to get what they want. Maia is, of course, my total favorite. The main point of this book for me was Maia’s inner battle with herself and the darkness that was consuming her slowly. We get to see her suffering, trying to distinguish what’s real and what the demon inside her makes her see, and struggling to keep this a secret from those who love her; Edan, her family and her friend Ammi. However, besides that we get to see those things that made us care for her in Spin the Dawn, she’s still a strong and determined girl that would sacrifice herself without a doubt for those she loves.
I also loved Edan and his strong bond with Maia, though I’d like to see him in more scenes throughout the book. Ammi, Maia’s best friend, has a great role in this book by making Maia stay sane despite everything that’s happening inside her. And again I loved to see Maia’s family make an appearance and get to know more about the Tamarin family as a whole, because that family stole my heart entirely.
But I want to make a special mention to the villains of this story. Though we get to see Lady Sarnai as some kind of villain in Spin the Dawn, I’d say she’s a morally gray character that doesn’t fit the mold of being good nor bad. Her character development in this book was just perfect and my expectations on her were met. Emperor Khanujin and the shansen also showed great development and proved to be very realistic and interesting villains.
The war element was perfectly executed. I loved how the author put everything together, the battle strategies, how the armies are made, and just everything related to the war felt so realistic to me. You can see the amount of effort that went into this particular element and I loved to feel like I was watching a fantasy movie of a war set in ancient China while reading this. That said, Unravel the Dusk is as immersive as it can possibly be.
Despite the bittersweet feeling that comes to me by saying goodbye to this story and its characters, I’m very happy with how everything turned out. I honestly wouldn’t change anything of this book. Everyone that decides to read The Blood of Stars duology will find strong characters with an amazing development, an immersive worldbuilding and a wonderful message that more than anything, tries to say that anything is possible with love, and that you should anything that’s in your hands to stop the violence around you and seek peace for the world.
Disclaimer: I received a free eARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts stated are my own.
“Magic was the blood of stars falling from the sky, the song of my enchanted scissors –eager to make a miracle out of thread and hope.”
“Everywhere he danced struck a tempest of blood and death.”
“Time eases all wounds, even ones to the heart.”
“‘I was meant for magic, once,’ Edan agreed, ‘but because of Maia, I am no longer the enchanter I was before. I am meant for her now. Her above all else’”
“I will never leave you. I will stay by your side until the fire of the sun grows cold and the light in the moon is no more. Until time blots out the stars”
“I know that for every dawn, dusk must unravel its darkness”
“But hope was a valuable weapon, and we were sharpening its every edge”
That’s all for this post! Have you read Spin The Dawn? Are you excited for this sequel? Let me know in the comments!