Unravel the Dusk (The Blood of Stars #2) by Elizabeth Lim
Publication Date : July 7th 2020
Publisher : Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genre : Fantasy / YA
Pages : 368
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.
** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to PRHGlobal for free copy. ***
Previous book in Series:
Unravel the Dusk was fantastic sequel of Spin the Dawn that revolved around Maia’s inner battle and her efforts in saving her country, her heart and her loved ones. It was about good vs. evil, pride, power, war, family, love, friendship, fighting the demon and darkness, and hope.
Isn’t that cover just amazing? I didn’t notice those claws and red thread wound around her wrist until I look at it again after finishing the book. It has all minor details so apt with the story.
Writing was beautiful, vivid, and whimsical that hooked me to the story from the beginning. It was first person narrative from Maia’s perspective. Her voice was mesmerising and now that she was changed, I enjoyed her view even more.
Plot was brilliant and even darker than previous book. Book started from where the first ended. Maia was touched by the demon, Bandur. She was changing, fighting over the darkness slowly taking over her and at the same time war was now looming over A’landi. All the efforts of Maia in saving her country and making sure the marriage of emperor brings peace, painstaking journey of making three dresses of Amana that cost her more than just life of her family, went in vain. She was forced to wear the dress of the sun and take the place of the emperor’s bride-to-be. Things went from bad to worst and Maia was now on run from both the emperor and the Shashen and was on journey to save herself, find Edan again, protect her family and bring back the peace to country.
I loved the prologue that again started with her family, Maia’s memory of her mother, her brothers and baba, her love for them, and how everything changed when she became imperial tailor. Book was divided in three parts– 1. Laughter of the Sun that told about what happened after Edan left, slow change in Maia, and how she realised she had to face her fate awaiting in Lapzur, 2. The Tears of The Moon that was about her journey to Isles of Lapzur, her meeting with Edan and her battle with Bandur, and 3. The Blood of Stars wrapped the story with final battle. Each part was exciting with lot of actions, brilliant twists, battles, and tense moments.
We get few answers that were left hanging in the first book on how Emperor’s father and brother died, I suspected he did something but it wasn;t the case, how The Shashen was stronger and could stand against the Lord Enchanter in the first book and why Edan was threat to him, where he was drawing his power from and what deal he struck and what was the ultimate cost of that deal. Apart from that it was interesting to read how Maia was going to stand against him and how she will save herself and everything that was dear to her.
Characters were complex and interesting. Maia’s family was lovely, I came to care for them along with Maia but in this we know them a little more. I loved Maia and Edan even more in this and events in the book changed my view towards secondary characters, specially Lady Sarnai and the emperor Khanujin.
The emperor was cruel and I hated him and many time I wished Maia had given control to her demon just for a bit to show him how weak character he was but I agreed to Maia on the point that whatever he was he loved his country. It was one thing respectful about him. Lady Sarnai was selfish and ruthless most of the time. But I came to admire and like her in second half of the book, especially in third part. She was amazing warrior and I admired her strength and determination.
Maia was so different from previous book. She has become strong and brave from previous journey and fearless and deadly because of touch by demon but one thing that remained the same was her love for her family, Edan and her country- love that kept her safe and protected from darkness throughout the book- and her caring, compassionate nature. Even with raging anger and vengeance of her inner demon, she didn’t stop caring for innocents and saving and helping those who weren’t good to her. I admired her and loved how she took right decisions.
Edan was shadowed by Maia this time as he was no longer The Lord Enchanter, just a boy touched by magic, and Maia was powerful and formidable one, the role he played in first book was taken by Maia. But he still brought book to life, gave the darker tone lighter touch, and was still was the voice of wisdom and logic. He kept the real Maia from getting lost to the inevitable change by his unwavering love. I loved the way he helped her, stood by her side even though she tried to push him away.
Maia’s friendship with Ammi was lovely. It was explored more and it became stronger by the end. I loved how Ammi stayed with Maia even in trying times. There wasn’t too much romance or I should say it came in second half of the book when Maia and Edan met again. Until then we feel it through Maia’s longing and her thoughts about Edan. It was slow burning, tense and heart aching. Edan and Maia’s time together and their conversations melted my heart. I could feel their longing, agony, and stress of uncertainty of future. I was dying to see what will happen at the end and if they could have their happily ever after or not and author kept that uncertain until the last chapter.
World, myth and legends was best part of the book. I enjoyed Maia’ journey to Isles of Lapzur and through that journey some new lands and places of A’landi were vividly described. There were ghosts, demons, Goddess and lots of magic. The enchanted mirror, carpet, and the cloth crane Maia created was gorgeously narrated. I enjoyed reading the legend of The Beggar God, story of Kiatan princess and Edan’s master’s vision of how Maia’s destiny was woven with the magic and myth and what fate has set for her.
Twist and turns were well written. I couldn’t predict anything in the book. It was amazing to read how Maia was going to resist the temptation and how she would defeat the Shashen and the demon. I loved the last battle and the end. I wasn’t sure what to expect at the end as author didn’t let me have any hope until last minute but it all turned out magical. I loved Maia’s title at the end.
Overall, Unravel The Dusk was fascinating, powerful, and perfect sequel with heart aching romance, blood soaked battles, and satisfactory end.
Thoughts while reading the book-
I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know in comments what do you think about this book and my review, have you read this book already or previous book in series. Have you read any other book than this based on Chinese mythology?
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