“If dying is this beautiful, then I wish I was a tree too. I’d be happy to die and be reborn in the spring.”– Elizabeth Lim
Book: Unravel the Dusk
Author: Elizabeth Lim
Published: 7th July, 2020
Genre: Fantasy Fiction
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf, Penguin Random House
Series: The Blood of Stars Book II
My rating: 3.5/5
Maia Tamarin has already proven herself to be the greatest tailor in the land. She out-staged her competitors In the emperor’s contest to select a new imperial tailor. She journeyed to the ends of the earth to gather the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. And out of these ingredients she sewed three magic gowns-each worthy of a goddess. But her trials are far from over.
She returned from her journey to a kingdom on the brink of war. Edan, the boy she loves, is gone – perhaps forever. And no sooner does she set foot in the Autumn palace that she is forced to don the dress of the sun and assume the place of the emperor’s runaway bride-to-be. When the emperor’s rivals learn of her deception, there is hell to pay, but the war raging around Maia is nothing compared to the battle within.
Ever since her encounter with the demon, she has been changing: glancing in the mirror to see her own eyes glowing red; losing control of her magic, her body, her mind… Maia will stop at nothing to find Edan and bring lasting peace to her country-before she loses herself completely.
BOOK II in the BLOOD OF STARS duology.
If you haven’t read my review for the part one of the duology, Spin the Dawn, click here: SPIN THE DAWN BY ELIZABETH LIM.
Skip reading this review to avoid spoilers from Spin the Dawn.
“I will stay by your side until the fire in the sun grows cold and the light of the moon is no more. Until time blots out the stars.”– Elizabeth Lim
Unravel the Dusk is a heart-wrenching tale filled with adventure and war with a fairly good ending to the duology. It is as thrilling as it is agonizing.
The part two of the Blood of Stars duology starts off where we were left appalled at the separation of our beloved Enchanter and Imperial Tailor while she is at the brink of losing herself, turning into a demon.
Allandi is at the verge of a war which can only be prevented by the wedding of the Emperor to the Shashen’s daughter. But do things go as planned? Ofcourse, they don’t!
Spin the Dawn was a thrilling story which showed us how powerful a form of art such as tailoring can be. I was expecting nothing less from Unravel the Dusk and I cannot say that it was delivered.
The book is fast paced with fairly normal sized chapters. However, it could not hold my interest. I was also somehow not bored. It was as though something was happening but I didn’t think it was enough. It did not have me captivated like book one.
The book is divided into three parts, each named after one of the three dresses that were made – The Laughter of the Sun, The Tears of the Moon and The Blood of the Stars.
It felt like the author was slowly destroying everything that was built in the part one of the duology. I was not sure if I would be happy with the it. But, while my suspicions weren’t entirely wrong, the author did it in a way where I was not disappointed.
It didn’t feel like something was run to the grounds after a lot of hardwork was put into establishing a strong structure. Instead, it felt like something far stronger was being built from the ruins.
I almost lost hope when the author hit me with a new meaning to Maia’s life and that’s when it started going uphill.
It wasn’t long after, that I got emotionally invested in the story and it’s characters. While I may not be in love with the characters, I’m really happy they got their happy ending.
And for the beautiful end to an enthralling duology, I rate the book 3.5/5 stars. I duology in itself gets a 4/5.
There were a lot of parts of this book that touched me. The most important one being the ending.
In Spin the Dawn, when we are introduced to Maia, she speaks of her dream house by the sea and the plans of having a booming tailoring store, it spoke volumes of how loved and beautiful her family and her heart were. When all that came true in unravel the dusk, I was beyond elated.
The war was very descriptive and I loved the details. The Shashen selling his soul to a demon who’s form was a tiger and accepting the terms of giving 10,000 lives was so shock given that his daughter recollects him to be a good person. How could a person grow so power hungry that other lives don’t matter?
The very journey taken up by Maia and the enchanter is thrilling. I loved how the demon form of Maia was a phoenix.
Her brothers and other soldiers lost to the war coming back in a ghost form and them having a moment together was precious.
In the end when Maia’s mother sends her back with the blessings of the Goddess Amana and she refuses to take back the scissors, it reflects on how great power comes with great responsibility and how there’s always a right time for you to pass it off.
The main thing that made me like the book is that it wasn’t just picking things off after book one but it gave Maia new purpose and we learn about the history of the enchanted scissors. They were used to stitch a tear in the heavens together. Maia has to repeat history and do it yet again and she does.
Coming to the characters:
Since we spoke of Maia and Edan already, the only person I wanna talk about is the Shashen’s daughter – Lady Saranai.
Lady Sarnai: A powerhouse of strength and composure, she was very close to her father and played a major role in destroying armies in the first battle. She runs away with her general and is captured, thanks to Maia who’s intentions were to prevent war. Maia, however also helps her escape and she repays the help by coming back and helping to kill her father and his destructive reign. The emperor’s death only ensures that the kingdom falls into the right hands. The death of her beloved lover shakes her but she holds her ground and perseveres for peace.
“I know that for every dawn, dusk must unravel its darkness.”– Elizabeth Lim
What I liked about it:
1. Fast pace
2. Beautiful end to the duology
3. Lives happily ever after kinda story
4. Very descriptive writing which was pleasant to read
5. Warms your heart
6. Strong family and friendship values
7. Love for ones own country
8. Has a map!
9. Has powerful female characters
” I will stay by your side until the fire in the sun grows cold and the light in the moon is no more. Until time blots out the stars.”– Elizabeth Lim
What I did not fancy:
1. Book 1 was definitely a little more gripping
2. Felt a little stretched in the middle
3. I kept second guessing the story
“We were like the sun and the moon, sharing the same stars and the same sky.”– Elizabeth Lim