Title: Spin the Dawn
Author: Elizabeth Lim
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: July 9, 2019
Page Count: 397
My rating: 4 stars
About the book:
Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping YA fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.
Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.
Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.
And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.
Steeped in Chinese culture, sizzling with forbidden romance, and shimmering with magic, this young adult fantasy is pitch-perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas or Renée Ahdieh.
Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim is the first book in the epic young adult fantasy The Blood of Stars series. And yes, folks this new series is one of the rare occasions in the literary market where the description to the series is pretty spot on with being compared to a mix of Mulan and Project Runway. We all know there’s tons and tons of books out there that say for fans of …… and when finished we are all scratching our heads wondering why but if things one gets your curiosity up then by all means, give it a try.
The world within Spin the Dawn is one that is built by taking a page out of history from when women were basically treated as property and not people. Take those times and fill with plenty of Chinese culture an infuse the era with a bit of magic and you’ll find this world. Maia Tamarin is the daughter of a tailor and has spent her life learning the trade. With the land in a war Maia’s three brothers had gone off to fight with only one returning badly wounded. After the war Maia’s father is invited by the King to become the new royal tailor but with his health also not well Maia decides to masquerade as her remaining brother and go in her father’s place.
As usual I never know how a story like this one will read to me as a lot of them are really slow paced and hard for me to engage in. While this was a little slower then I would like the story, characters and world within were enough to keep me engaged and really want to know where it would head. The competition for tailor only scratches the surface of what the author is building in the series and there was much more involved and promised in future installments. I’ll definitely be interested in returning to Maia’s world and seeing what happens in the next book.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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About the author:
Elizabeth Lim grew up on a hearty staple of fairy tales, myths, and songs. Her passion for storytelling began around age 10, when she started writing fanfics for Sailor Moon, Sweet Valley, and Star Wars, and posted them online to discover, “Wow, people actually read my stuff. And that’s kinda cool!” But after one of her teachers told her she had “too much voice” in her essays, Elizabeth took a break from creative writing to focus on not flunking English.
Over the years, Elizabeth became a film and video game composer, but she always missed writing. One day, she decided to write and finish a novel — for kicks, at first, then things became serious — and she hasn’t looked back since.
Elizabeth loves classic film scores, books with a good romance, the color turquoise, overcast skies, English muffins, cycling, and baking. She grew up in Northern California, with a brief stint in Tokyo, Japan, but now lives in New York City with her husband and their daughter.
To learn more about Elizabeth, visit her site at http://www.elizabethlim.com and follow her on Twitter @lizlim