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Review: Unravel The Dusk by Elizabeth Lim (The Blood Of Stars #2)

Review: Unravel The Dusk by Elizabeth Lim (The Blood Of Stars #2) The Keysmash Blog

Important Note: This is a review for the second book in the The Blood Of Stars duology by Elizabeth Lim, and therefore may contain spoilers from the first book, Spin The Dawn. If you have not read Spin The Dawn yet, check out my review of it here.

Spin The Dawn by Elizabeth Lim blew me away; it was a phenomenal and captivating young adult fantasy novel that I absolutely adored and could not put down even for a minute. And after the epic cliffhanger ending of the first book, I had high expectations for the sequel, Unravel The Dusk.

Unfortunately, I felt like Unravel The Dusk had failed to live up to the same captivating beauty that its prequel had. Sure, there were a few things I loved about this book; I loved seeing the sweet scenes between my new favorite fictional couple; the writing was still just as enchanting, and we got to see Lady Sarnai shine more, which is something I had always wanted to see in the first book too.

But the biggest problems with Unravel The Dusk was the lack of proper character development, poorly written action scenes, and a plot where the stakes did not feel high enough for the challenges our main characters were facing.

Review: Unravel The Dusk by Elizabeth Lim (The Blood Of Stars #2)

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.

Review: Unravel The Dusk by Elizabeth Lim (The Blood Of Stars #2)

Trigger Warnings: death, violence, mass murder (mentioned).

Recommended Age: 16+

While Spin The Dawn had swept me off my feet with it’s whimsical fairytale ambience, a slow-burn romance and incredibly dangerous and intriguing challenges, Unravel The Dusk had me bored with the same repetitive inner conflicts for Maya, antagonists who were poorly written, plot devices that made it too easy for Maya to get out of difficult situations, and over all, poorly written action scenes.

And for a book where romance plays a very big role, we don’t actually get to see Maya and Eden explore their relationship any further. For a man who has lost his immortality, Eden seemed to have adjusted to his new life all too well. We did not see how the change affected him, or his relationship with Maya.

And while watching Maya fight against her inner demon should have been a nail-bitingly intense experience, it was actually very difficult for me to care about her transformation. Perhaps because most of her struggles was more “telling than showing”; personally, I feel like if Lim had actually shown her take risky questionable decisions (the way Marie Lu did with her character Adelina in The Young Elites trilogy) then we would have been truly able to understand and care about Maya’s transformation into a demon.

Then there are the so called villains in the book. They were so poorly written, and their backstory was just barely glossed over, which made it difficult to hate them and just as equally difficult to care if they lost or won.

I also felt that Maya’s over-reliance on her magical dresses was nothing less than a deus ex machina. They made it too easy for her to win battles she would have lost otherwise, and the risks of using those dresses did not feel high enough to be convincing either.

A shame really, because one of the reasons why I loved Maya so much in the Spin The Dawn is because she was an ordinary girl who knew nothing about fighting with swords and knives, and yet managed to complete near impossible tasks with nothing but her wits, intelligence and sheer will power.

And finally, the action scenes really disappointed me. Lim is clearly a master at writing and creating beautiful worlds, but the action scenes were poorly written. It’s not that there weren’t enough devastation or casualties. The problem was that most of it was “telling than showing”, which made it very difficult to care about what was happening.

Quite a disappointing sequel, but I am still giving three stars to Unravel The Dusk because although the plot and character development was weak, Elizabeth Lim’s prose was still captivating, I still loved Maya and Eden (mostly because of the first book though), and I loved seeing Lady Sarnai get a little more screen time (or should I say…page time?).

Final verdict: read this book if you are dying to know Maya and Eden had a happy ending. But I wouldn’t recommend it too strongly. As far as I am concerned, Spin The Dawn would have been just fine as an epic and tragic standalone.

Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. All thoughts are completely my own. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher Hodder And Stoughton for giving me this book.

Review: Unravel The Dusk by Elizabeth Lim (The Blood Of Stars #2)

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