Cover Image: Unravel the Dusk

Unravel the Dusk

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Member Reviews

I still loving the writing here and the story is phenomenal. The thing is, it feels so different from the first book because of how the plot progresses. This isn't a bad thing, just unexpected. So much of this book surprised me.
I adore the characters and their plight had me so emotional. It made it difficult how this book ended up feeling more morally grey with no "right" side. These are the kinds of books and problems I do like reading about.

So, really enjoyed this one, even if I didn't like it more than the first, and I plan on reading more by this author in the future.
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I wanted to love this one as much as I loved SPIN THE DAWN. I don't know if it's because I waited so long to read it but I wasn't swept away like I was with the first book in the Blood of Stars duology. I found the story harder to track and some parts felt a little "too easy".
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I never really know how to review sequel books with giving the description of the book without spoiling anything. Anyway, this picks up right after Spin the Dawn with Maia in her predicament that she was in at the very end of Spin the Dawn. Also, war is looming. 
I really love the magic scissors in this and just how well done the magic is done in this book. I loved the romance. The war parts were great. I did feel like that this wasn’t as amazing as Spin the Dawn.
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Having read the first book, I was so excited to see how this next installment went! That being said, I was disappointed. 

I’m all for independence and women empowerment, but much of this book was Maia going rogue, and it was FAR from fun. She was battling with herself from becoming a demon, and we just followed her around (isolated and alone) solving one problem to the next, refusing any help lest she’d hurt the people she cared about (which would be fine if she hadn’t clearly needed one), while ocassionally telling her inner demon to f*ck off.

I didn’t feel emotional connection to any of the characters. The characterisation was seriously lacking. We didn’t get to see much of the other characters apart from the surface level interactions. Even Edan didn’t appear until almost halfway through the book, and when he did, he was practically useless. I would’ve loved if we had other POVs (Edan’s and Lady Sarnai’s) to contend with.
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꧁ 4 stars ꧂
at this point i'm sure that every book with ghosts of dead family members will make me cry.

so in my opinion, this duology could have totally been a standalone. if you add the books together, that's 747 pages (still less than acosf) and there's a lot of overlap at the beginning of this one that could have been skipped. AND THE PLOT WOULD HAVE BEEN MORE COHERENT AS A WHOLE. yes i have a bias towards standalones and i'll stand by that.

but anyways, i enjoyed this book more than book 1 simply because there were less of the maya x edan sappy twilight level lines. and the demon conflict was so much more compelling than the dresses one! i just feel like this book started as a middle grade novel and the plot jumped around a little too much. i think the demon stuff & losing memory was really well-written, and lady sarnai was an actually realistic character — one who doesn't give a fück what the main character tells her to do.

the ending was... meh. it was over too fast and without a good reason.

ok in conclusion: i liked this series as a casual read, and it had AAPI rep so that made me happy. i'm looking forward to reading elizabeth lim's next book, six crimson cranes!

(i received the eARC of this book before it was published; all thoughts and opinions are my own)
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Solid sequel even if I preferred the first one where there was more space for the characters to shine and the romance. We don't have much Edan here, almost relegated to the background while it would've been nice to see more romance and more about him on page.

It was definitely darker and there was more drama, and I liked how the story developed.
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DNF @57%. I couldn't bring myself to finish this one. I did enjoy the tone of this one more than the first, its much darker and the stakes feel much higher, but overall I just couldn't connect to the characters. This was a miss for me, I wish I had enjoyed it more because the writing is quite nice and the Asian fantasy world feels lush and well fleshed out. It just really needed to either be split into a trilogy or the pacing needed to be moved along because this book is absolutely dragging and it's killing the story.
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I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

THESE BOOKS ARE SO GOOD!!!!! I am absolutely obsessed with this series. 

Thank you kindly to the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for this review copy.
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I haven’t craved a sequel so badly in a while. This was a fantastic conclusion to Maia and Edan’s journey.

I haven’t read much fiction older than Harry Potter but there’s something to be said about confronting death in fiction. Maybe it’s a biblical thing: The truly special return from the unknown places knowing. Either way, Lim continues to be amazing in the second installment of her duology.

(the above is from my goodreads. See my full, polished review at michigandaily.com)
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The second book of the series builds on the lush magical world that was set up in the first book.  In this book, Lim separates the characters for a while and, while it makes sense to the plot, this section of the book has a different feel than the first book.  Overall, I enjoyed it and would recommend.
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I loved this sequel. The world was super interesting and I liked the romance in it. Highly recommend.
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The “Blood of Stars” duology is beautiful fantasy that mixes familiar European fairy tale tropes with Asian folklore, and the characters Maia befriends—as well as her adversaries—are compellingly drawn, with the feeling of deep backstories of their own.
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I loved this so much~ 

It's no doubt that I love Asian fiction. I've been waiting for the sequel ever since I've read the first book. It was a stunning story, with such an attention grabbing prompt. 

This one broke me. For real. Elizabeth Lim has to be one of my fav. authors, ever. I am such an emotionally detached, un-empathetic, literally the most grumpy soul ALIVE. I rarely cry during movies, books, etc. But the water works were summoned on this one, yall. The way she bonded my soul with the characters is unreal. She made me care so much for them... and just... her world building is incredible. 

I could see myself picturing the culture, the lifestyle, the landscapes, the love and romance. Her writing is so captivating and her words are spun in such ways that you can imagine everything perfectly while still being sucked into the beauty of her writing style. 

Truly hooked. Thank you NetGalley for giving me the chance to ravish the pages.
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I am heartbroken to be leaving Maia and Edan after this book. I could’ve read a billion books about these amazing characters. Lim’s breathtaking storytelling and unique voice continues throughout this book as it did in its predecessor. The descriptions and attention to detail make you read every single word opposed to skimming through descriptions. This duology was so much more than I was expecting and I already had high expectations.
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If you were a fan of the beautiful descriptions and fast pace of the first one, you will enjoy this just as much. Elizabeth Lim creates a breathtaking and unique story in this duology and I would recommend it to anyone who is a fan of the YA fantasy genre.
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Unravel the Dusk by Elizabeth Lim is the second book in the Blood of Stars duology, so I'm not going to go into too much detail about the plot. I don't want to ruin the first book (Spin the Dawn) for anyone! To be clear, I adored Spin the Dawn, so I had high expectations for Unravel the Dusk. I don't know if those high expectations lessened my enjoyment of this one or if it simply didn't work for me like Spin the Dawn did. Usually I love a dark story, so I didn't mind Unravel the Dusk exploring darker aspects of Maia and the world, but for much of the book it felt to me like hardly anything happened. We revisit a few characters from the first book and see Maia grappling with the aftermath of Spin the Dawn, but a lot of time is spent on Maia fleeing from place to place and struggling internally. I think if Maia had been with Edan or Lady Sarnai for more of the book we could've gotten more of their storylines and it would've added to the action and complexity of the story. Overall, I still adore this duology and I would recommend it to anyone who loves a good fantasy based on mythology and folklore! Just know that the tones of the two books are very different! (And to be clear, I know people who LOVED Unravel the Dusk, so this is just my taste and opinion. You might love this one more than I did! And I'm definitely planning to continue reading Lim's books!)
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Maia has sent her beloved enchanter away, both to protect him and prevent him from seeing what making the three dresses of the gods has cost her. When the wedding between the emperor and Lady Sarnai goes wrong, Maia finds her magic and the growing demon inside her at odds. Struggling not to loose herself in the growing demon magic, Maia must find a way to save her family, her kingdom and herself. 

I liked this second half of Maia's journey. I missed Edan, who was absent for most of the first half of the book. Maia also spends lots of time internally struggling, which was okay but  I missed the challenges and sewing from Spin the Dawn. The second half has a lot more action and the pace was faster. 

Overall it was a satisfying conclusion to the Blood of the Stars duology. 

I am actually really excited for the Six Crimson Cranes. Edan mentions this story and now we get to hear it. Yay.
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Ooooooh this was a mess.

A huge disappointment because I loved Spin the Dawn so much and was very excited about how that book ending.

Full RTC.

I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review (but ended up listening to the library audiobook
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3.5/5 stars — a lackluster beginning belies a fiery finish

Unravel the Dusk, the second part of Elizabeth Lim’s Blood of Stars duology, concludes the tale of the magic-wielding tailor who seeks to save herself and her loved ones from the war gripping their land. However, Maia is becoming a danger in her own right: demon-touched and increasingly fueled by anger, she struggles to hold on to her past while also using her new powers against her enemies. While I found Unravel the Dusk a letdown compared to Spin the Dawn—a case of a stellar concept missing a few tricks in execution, in my opinion—I enjoyed the series overall.

I didn’t love this book as much as the previous one for several reasons. First, I enjoyed the deception-based plot elements and art-focused premise of Spin the Dawn; the sequel dispensed with both, since Maia’s secret is out and there’s very minimal sewing, certainly not anything like the luxe masterpieces detailed so wonderfully in book one. Second, while I understand the direction the author intended with making Maia more introspective in this book, it sometimes feels like Maia’s spinning her wheels and rehashing the same worries over and over without anything happening to her character as a result. That’s something that happens in real life, but it doesn’t always make for an interesting read. Third, the stakes never felt intense enough, partially because the book jumps immediately into the action with a high-casualty battle, but Maia’s largely preoccupied with her internal struggle. This continues throughout the novel: people are dying left and right, but Maia is (rightly, but myopically) concerned with the danger she poses as a demon and does more observing than feeling. 

Maia spends the book torn between the power of Amana and the demon touch, a struggle which threatens to tear her apart—literally—during the final battle. This was one of my favorite concepts in the story, demonstrated well through Maia’s increasingly conflicted emotions and some new wordbuilding concerning the in-story nature of demons. Lim did a good job of ramping up Maia's spiral into demonhood and her struggle against giving herself over to the demon touch.

I also thought the theme of family added a lot to the richness of the story across both books. Maia never loses sight of her love for her father and surviving brother or forgets the losses of her mother and other brothers—too often, romantic love takes center stage in adventures like this, but Unravel the Dusk balances both. Maia’s character feels most human (no joke intended) when she’s contemplating the joys and pains of love and weighing what she's willing to do for those she values. 

On a different note, the author’s treatment of disability frustrated me again in this book. Maia’s surviving brother Keaton, the one she impersonated in the first book, was injured in battle and unable to walk. His recovery was represented as slow and difficult, but in this book, he appears mostly recovered, with a couple of throwaway lines to explain it. This by itself wouldn’t have been awful—I want to talk about how SFF uses disability as a temporary inconvenience when it’s often a lifelong condition, but that’s for another time—except that the first book similarly dismissed disability. In Spin the Dawn, Maia pretending to be disabled struck a sour note for me because of how often disabled people in real life are accused of faking or exaggerating anytime they’re not visibly ill, injured, using a mobility aid, etc. I’m not knowledgeable enough on this subject to feel comfortable saying whether this is a pattern of ableism or merely uncomfortable to read, so I tried not to let it influence my review. 

The things that knocked stars off my rating were largely frustrations with how the book was blurbed/advertized versus how the story actually went. This was billed a "sizzling forbidden romance," yet the love interest, Edan, doesn't show up until the second half of the book, and his chemistry with Maia was way better in the previous book. Their ending was sweet and satisfying, but hardly the blistering love story it was presented as. The story was also presented as a mystery, but the only really mysterious element was the presence of a demon controlling and strengthening the enemy leader, revealed fairly early in the first act. The rest was just a question of whether Maia would win her internal battle against the demon Bandur. 

In the end, I enjoyed this book only because of how invested I was in Maia and Edan's character arcs from the first book. I wanted to know how things would turn out for them and for Maia's family, but nothing in this book convinced me of the stakes concerning who controlled the country or how the war turned out. Lim writes Maia's magic tailoring well, but action scenes are a weakness for her, and this book had far more of the latter than the former. I recommend Unravel the Dusk to anyone who really, really loved Spin the Dawn, but it weighed down the duology overall. 

Content warnings: mention of war-typical death/violence; PTSD-like symptoms from war; pre-story death of several loved ones
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This book should have been a little better. it is not that it was bad but I cannot say that it was good. The world-building, great. The premise, amazing. The resolution, satisfying. So what was the problem? The people. Maia and Eden were the only ones that mattered. everyone else fell so far behind in growth and development that I am struggling to even remember who they were, why they were important, and what they did. The rich tapestry that was developed in book 1 unraveled a little here.
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