Published: July 7, 2020
Series: The Blood of Stars #2
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 368 (Hardcover)
My Rating: 4.0/5.0
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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.
I’ve definitely gotten more critical of YA books over the years, but Spin the Dawn took me by surprise last year. It was enjoyable, unique yet familiar in theme, and had a good love interest that didn’t turn into a nasty love triangle. The ending left me quite excited for the release of Unravel the Dusk, where Maia Tamarin is slowly turning into a demon.
In addition to Maia’s personal plight, her kingdom is on the brink of war with the very people they were trying to make peace with. This is certainly a much darker book than the first, though by far the most interesting part is Maia’s internal struggle with herself. Her humanity is unravelling and she’s become a danger to those who care for her. Yet somehow, she holds on to enough of herself to know she must help save her kingdom, otherwise her brother and father will suffer along with the countless others who live there. Edan is much less present in this installment than in Spin the Dawn, though he does show up.
On to the plot!! Maia ends up taking the place of Lady Sarnai during her wedding to the Emperor after Sarnai suffers a close brush with death. This would be a tense situation to begin with, but Sarnai’s warlord father seems to be looking for any reason to declare war. Which obviously happens, so we end up with some harrowing battle sequences and Maia shows off her deadly magic. This is a battle between men, but the demons are the big players here and why Maia is so determined to hold on to her sense of self for as long as possible. She knows she’s her kingdom’s best chance at survival. Maia really gets to show off how strong and unyielding she truly is, having no male character to rush in and save her. It was really quite something and I liked that the ladies (not just Maia) had a chance to truly shine.
Overall, I thought this was a well-wrought duology that ended at just the perfect place. The ending had me tearing up a bit, which not many books can manage… it was just quite good. This isn’t quite a five star, emotional roller coaster leaving me with ALL THE FEELS, but it was certainly moving.