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 (Goodreads, 2020).
It’s always incredibly disappointing when a sequel doesn’t live up to its predecessor. Unfortunately, this is the case with “Unravel the Dusk” by Elizabeth Lim. All of the things that I enjoyed in “Spin the Dawn” i.e. the beautiful designs that showcased Maia’s skill as a tailor, Maia and Edan’s adventures as well as their teasing banter are all missing from the first half of this book.
Instead, we are bogged down by Maia’s slow transformation into a demon. While her struggle can be said to be a transformative journey similar to the one she underwent in “Spin the Dawn”, I felt that it was just too dragged out. I also felt that the story would have benefited more from a speedier reunion between Maia and Edan. It was obvious that they would be reunited at some point so there was no need for Maia’s constant back and forth in terms of whether she should find him or not.
I will say that I enjoyed the change in Maia’s relationship with Lady Sarnai. As I mentioned in my review of “Spin the Dawn”, I wasn’t sure how to feel about Lady Sarnai, because while I respected her strength of character I didn’t like her antagonism towards Maia. In “Unravel the Dusk”, Maia and Lady Sarnai gain a new found respect for one another due to the circumstances they find themselves in. Friendship seems unlikely for the two due to the differences in their personalities, but I’m glad they were able to work together instead of pitting themselves against one another. After all they had the same goals and it was the machinations of the males around them that forced them into opposition in the first place. I also enjoyed seeing Sarnai grow as a leader. I admire strong female characters and Sarnai really gets to come into her own towards the end of the book.
Overall, I give this book a 3 out of 5. Maybe my expectations were set too high after reading “Spin the Dawn”, but this book had a lot of potential and I felt that it was squandered by too much focus on the demon transformation plot and a rushed ending.
Quotes I Found Significant:
Fate took my heart and crushed it little by little.
She looked like she might shattered. But Lady Sarnai was not glass. Stone perhaps and stones did not break
Hope you enjoyed my review! Feel free to comment any thoughts you may have and let me know if you’ve read anything by Elizabeth Lim before.
You can find my review of “Spin the Dawn” at https://reviewsbym.com/2021/03/15/a-skilled-tailor-must-create-three-masterpieces-to-save-her-family-in-spin-the-dawn/