Today I am bringing to you a review of one of my anticipated sequels of 2020 and I am glad to say that I enjoyed it very very much!
*Many thanks to Penguin Teen CA for the ARC!*
Unravel the Dusk by Elizabeth Lim
Pub Date: July 7th, 2020
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.
Maia continued to be a great MC in this book! But unlike book one which was more self-discovery, this one was definitely a self-recovery as we dived deep into her inner character. It’s a battle against forces outside and within herself as she faces the dark power growing within her. Her old self, the one with that had a heart of gold, is slowly decaying and just reading about that self-destruction she has chosen to undertake for her country is quite inspiring. I’m not sure how many of us can say we would willingly turn ourselves into demons for the sake of defeating a demonic tyrant. And I’m not sure how many of us can say we’d fight tooth and nail out of said demon clutches to restore our humanity again. Suffice to say that she goes through some stuff.
Eden was still very mysterious and a Tragic Magic Boy. AND he is a serious Tragic Magic Boy in this one let me tell you! His relationship with magic was a really important point for his development in this story. I think his POV would have been an interesting element to have in the book as well. Just to see what was running around in his thoughts when he had to face the consequences for his past actions.
Then there are other characters who just…get in the way of happiness and make things interesting. The demons, the Shansen, the emperor, they all make for a great series of antagonists that just keep coming to kill the joy. And yeah I’m saying that this is one of the things I liked because it means that the story isn’t so clean simple to barrel through. They put up some great challenges for our MCs to conquer.
While there was a heavy focus on Maia’s inner journey there was also travelling happening in the outside world too. We get to see more places and learn new magic happenings. We learn more stories about the magical creatures roaming the land. There are some epic battles fought with enemies of both the magic kind and the human kind. Maia may not be a warrior but she doesn’t have much of a choice but to take up this fight anyways. She is still a tailor who wields a wicked pair of scissors and that counts for something! That being said I like how we got to see the penalties of using magic for reasons beyond making a simple stitch and instead to fight a demon, whether it be for good or bad.
Y’all this book had the angst too! Not only in terms of the lovers destined for doom but just for the sake that Maia is literally turning into a demon and losing her memories. And then we get to this very emotional scene and I was just saying omg omg omg the whole time. So be aware that this book does come with the emotional baggage you would expect to come from a story about a girl who is fighting to not lose who she is.
In the midst of writing this review I JUST HAD THE TITLE EPIPHANY AND OH MY GOD. I get it now and it is quite genius. And since I’m here I might as well talk about the cover secrets because Y’ALL the cover has lots of secrets about the book and I loved flipping back to cover as I read and pointing out the things I recognized.
My biggest mistake with this series was not rereading book 1 because I had only vague memories of the final plot points! Despite not remembering everything though, Lim did a good job of jogging the memory of readers. I still think it would have benefited me to do a reread though so I could have really appreciated all the connections.
I feel like the solution to the political problems was a little too rash and unrealistic. I mean I question a lot about how this country will readjust and I just don’t think I quite believe it. And a lot of it has to do with the fact that I wasn’t a big fan of Lady Sarnai. I’m not sure I liked her in book 1, but this one. I don’t know. I felt bad for her at points in time, but other times she just….mmm…..no. I didn’t feel very warm things towards her.
Overall, I really enjoyed this story. It was a deep dive into one Maia’s inner turmoil as she fights to save the ones that she loves and not lose herself in the process. The writing and storytelling is still as magical as it was in book 1. Lim did an incredible job of creating such a rich world and dynamic characters to fall in love with. I personally cannot wait for her next book which is based on a legend that was told in this book AND I LOVE IT WHEN BOOKS CONNECT!
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
Let me know what you think! Have you read this? How beautiful is this cover? Do you enjoy reading stories about a character’s inner turmoil?
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