**Disclaimer: I was given a free e-ARC in exchange for an honest review from the publisher.**
Title Unravel the Dusk (Spin the Dawn #2)
Author Elizabeth Lim
Release Date July 7, 2020
Publisher Knopf Teen
Description from Amazon
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. Edan, the boy she loves, is gone–perhaps forever–and no sooner does she set foot in the Autumn Palace than 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. 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 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, and in the meantime she will stop at nothing to find Edan, protect her family, and bring lasting peace to her country.
This is a book that I was dying to read since the second I finished the first book, Spin the Dawn. I loved that book. It had everything I wanted in a retelling and it somehow worked one of my favorite competition shows into the plot. I had really high expectations for Unravel the Dusk.
Some Things I Liked
- Mythology and world building. I loved the world Elizabeth Lim created for Spin the Dawn and I couldn’t wait to dive back in. She only enriched the world more with additional myths and stories as well as giving more backstory to the magical scissors in the first book.
- The romance. It was present, but it wasn’t overbearing. Furthermore, I liked that there was no ridiculous introduction of a love triangle and Maia never questioned her connection to Edan.
- Moral greyness. I loved that Maia struggled with her inner demon, literally and figuratively. She constantly questioned her motivations and her decisions and I enjoyed seeing her character growth during this story. I also enjoyed this from a role reversal perspective. In Spin the Dawn, Maia was the rock and Edan was the morally grey character. Here, without his magic, Edan had to be stable and help guide Maia back to the good person he knew she was.
I would love to read more about Maia and Edan’s adventures. Since it seems like we won’t get more of these characters specifically, I’d love to read more about the myths and side characters we met in this series. And, as luck would have it, Elizabeth Lim is currently working on a spin-off series set in this world!
I loved this book. Did I love it as much as I loved Spin the Dawn? No. Did I still love the characters, world building, and language? Yes. I am always going to be a fan of Elizabeth Lim’s writing style and I really enjoyed this series. The competition element and the descriptions of the dresses in Spin the Dawn set it slightly ahead of Unravel the Dusk for me, but both are excellent reads.
Recommendations for Further Reading
- Reflection by Elizabeth Lim – if you liked the Mulan retelling aspect as well as the writing style, check out this Mulan story that Elizabeth Lim wrote for the Twisted Tales series.
- The Magnolia Sword by Sherry Thomas – again, if you liked the idea of a Mulan retelling, try this lesser known version by Sherry Thomas from 2019.
- Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh – again, if you enjoyed the Mulan aspects of the story and the lush language, try this duology by Renée Ahdieh.