Okay so confession time… I was really scared to read Unravel the Dusk. I absolutely adored Spin the Dawn so much that I knew it would hurt for it to be over, and it did. (But now we have Six Crimson Cranes in the same world, at least!)
So yep, I loved this, again. I’ve got my order in for the FairyLoot signed Blood of the Stars set and if it wasn’t for Six Crimson Cranes (out in the UK this Thursday, so you’ll see my review for that very soon) then I really would be super sad. I’m still sad there’s no more Maia but… at least the world is still with us for a little bit longer!
Read on for my review.
About the Book
Title: Unravel the Dusk
Series: The Blood of Stars #2
Author: Elizabeth Lim
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (UK)
Release Date: June 1st 2021 (UK)
Source: eARC provided by the publisher (this in no way affects my review which is honest and unbiased) and I also own/have bought the US and UK editions…
‘The thrilling sequel to SPIN THE DAWN, a magical series steeped in Chinese culture.
Maia Tamarin’s journey to sew the dresses of the sun, the moon and the stars has taken a grievous toll. She returns to a kingdom on the brink of war. The boy she loves is gone, and she is forced to don the dress of the sun and assume the place of the emperor’s bride-to-be to keep the peace.
But the war raging around Maia is nothing compared to the battle within. Ever since she was touched by the demon Bandur, she has been changing . . . glancing in the mirror to see her own eyes glowing red, losing control of her magic, her body, her mind. It’s only a matter of time before Maia loses herself completely, but she will stop at nothing to find Edan, protect her family, and bring lasting peace to her country.
YA fantasy readers will love the sizzling forbidden romance, mystery, and intrigue of UNRAVEL THE DUSK.‘
Unravel the Dusk is a strong follow up to Spin the Dawn, with Maia clearly struggling to cope following the events of the first book. Yes, she’s now the Imperial Tailor, and she did succeed at making the dress of the sun, moon and stars (a task which, by all accounts, was near impossible), but she has the little problem of slowly turning into a demon… whilst the dresses are also wanting her and her alone to wear them and use their power.
I know that for every dawn, dusk must unravel its darkness.
A lot of this story is about the emotion turmoil Maia is going through, she wants to help save her home while simultaneously avoiding people as much as she can so she doesn’t cause them any harm. Very early on she encounters Lady Sarnai’s father (whilst having to pretend to be her… for reasons) and from that encounter alone it’s easy to see that Maia feels backed into a corner.
Her love for Edan is another prevailing factor in Unravel the Dusk (and he’s as swoon-worthy as ever), he’s had to leave and start magic training again in a far away location, and the pain it causes Maia is so plain to see. As soon as he can be there for her though, he is. Risking life and limb for Maia. Their relationship in the first book was my favourite thing about Spin the Dawn, so when they’re finally together again it’s just perfect.
“I am meant for her now. Her above all else.”
Although we don’t get as much of Edan, we do get more of several other characters in this one that really shine. Amma is one of them, who ends up being an amazing friend to Maia as she learns to forgive her. She even covers for some things and it’s clear she wants to help Maia as much as she possibly can, it’s super endearing to see. We also get more of Maia’s brother, Finlei, and her father in this one, albeit closer to the end, but it was great to see the family dynamics unfold.
“Always seize the wind, sister.”
And then there is Lady Sarnai… let’s face it she was horrid in the first book. The trials she put Maia through, expecting her to fail, were unkind and unjust. But we learn far more about her in Unravel the Dusk and towards the end she became another character I couldn’t help but love. She’s tormented, but she loves someone with all of her heart and it’s easy to see she just wants to be with him instead.
In terms of world-building, I will forever adore the world Lim has created. It’s the magic system more than anything, in this beautiful world where magic can either be beautiful starlight or dangerous demon fire, where a pair of scissors can create the most beautiful items. And I adored the tales that got told by Edan of Shiori and her brothers who were turned into cranes… and the mention of dragons. I loved how this story got me excited for Six Crimson Cranes whilst keeping me enthralled in the events.
The ending of Unravel the Dusk is perfect, everything is tied up and I can’t lie, many happy tears were shed. I actually read over the last line again writing this review and teared up. Super eagerly awaiting my signed FairyLoot set for this duology now!
Have you read this?
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