Cover Image: Unravel the Dusk

Unravel the Dusk

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Member Reviews

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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Spin the Dawn was one of my favorite books of 2019, but Unravel the Dusk didn't keep me as focused when I read it. I love Elizabeth Lim's writing style and her mystical plots, but this was not as strong for me.
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I would like to thank PRH International for providing a digital copy in exchange of an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Unravel the Dusk by Elizabeth Lim is the conclusion for The Blood of Stars duology. This novel is still full of Asian-inspired elements and myths that readers loved from the first book.

The story followed Maia Tamarin who was now the Imperial tailor. After finishing the dresses of the sun, moon, and the stars with a great price, she did not anticipate that another war was still brewing that would break the peace in her country. Would she able to protect her loved ones and country while she herself battling a demon inside her?

I was very excited to read Unravel The Dusk because I had no idea what would happen next after the first book's ending. The writing style was still enchanting and very easy to read. The pacing was a little bit off to my liking. It was actually the reason why I put this on hold and was only able to continue and finish it this month. On the other hand, I did love the mythology aspects, as well as how women were potrayed as someone strong and brave who could make their own decisions and follow what they wanted to be.

However, I actually had mixed feelings about this novel. While I liked the fun, solid plot and the romance in the first book, Unravel The Dusk took a different approach. It was a little bit darker, mature, and had a lot of tensions and heavy tones. I always love dark and mature stories especially ones with higher stakes. They kept me on edge. Unfortunately, this novel felt underwhelming. Character and relationship developments, world-building, and the magic system could have been better.

Maia's internal war with her demon and keeping all the problems to herself even when she needed help became quite repetitive and tiring. Also, Maia and Edan's relationship didn't grow much as well. Edan didn't appear in the first half, and there wasn't really a conflict that could help them grow as a couple. Lastly, minimal explanations were given regarding the magic system. I was hoping for more detailed explanations since the prorated was personally experiencing both good and evil magic.

Overall, Unravel The Dusk is still a good conclusion of the duology. Although I had some issues with it, I still enjoyed the most part of this novel.

3.5 stars!
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The second book in the Spin the Dawn series was so lush. You pick up shortly after the end of the first book and follows Maia again as she finishes her journey. 
This was  anothee magical story from Lim. We spend a lot of time in maia's head as she confronts her new enemy, Bandur and, really, herself. Edon doesn't spend as much time on page as I wanted (not as much swoon worthy romance and banter compared to Spin the Dawn) which ultimately did impact my overall feelings for this book. I enjoyed Spin the Dawn better, but this was still a wonderful conclusion to a rich story. I cannot wait to be able to visit this world again.
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Great story and loved the romance. Loved the cast of characters and how the story came to be. Great story and I would read this author again.
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Thank you Random House Children's and NetGalley for providing me the opportunity to review this title. 

Spin the Dawn was one of my favorite novels from 2019, so I was really excited to get to the sequel! However, it should be noted that I did think that the first book could've been a standalone, so I wasn't wholly sure how I'd like the story going forward.

For the most part, I did really enjoy it. Because its a duology, I feel like the plotline is a bit rush to wrap everything up but it was still a good slow burn of the book.
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3/5 stars

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishing for providing this review copy !!

I was surprised with how romance centred it was but it ended up being fine
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I've read other people's reviews of this book, and unfortunately I no longer want to read it. I just don't think it's a book I need to spend time on anymore, and I don't think my review would be positive.
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I had pretty high expectations for this book, I’d say, as the first one was amazing!! This book was good, but it wasn’t as outstanding as the first one. It wrapped up the conflict and story well, but just not quite in the same intense and heart stopping way as the first book. I’d say Unravel the Dusk did everything right, but not quite to the “wow” level. Still a very good conclusion to the series though!
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