Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
Series: The Blood of Stars
Published July 9th 2019 by Knopf
Genre: young adult, fantasy, asian representation, #ownvoices
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.
“So he called upon Heaven’s tailor to make Amana a gift. He had kept silvers of the sun, the moon and the stars, and he asked the tailor to make three dresses so beautiful they blinded the mortal eye. The tailor succeeded. The dresses were so dazzling Amana forgave the thief and returned light to the world, but only for half the day – for the fragments the thief had given to make the dresses meant the day could never be whole again. A lesson never to anger the mother goddess.”
Lady Sarnai paused now, and her red lips formed a dangerous smile. “You are the best tailor in A’landi, Master Tamarin. Make me the dresses of Amana.”
I heard Lady Sarnai’s mocking tone and struggled to stay clam. Every tailor knew the story of Amana’s dresses. And every tailor knew that no human hands had ever made them.
“One woven with the laughter of the sun,” I whispered. “Another embroidered with the tears of the moon, and lastly, one painted with the blood of the stars.”
Absolutely in love with this beautiful story Elizabeth Lim has created. It might be a little cliche but Spin the Dawn is a book that I never thought I’d need until I got to read it. Ever since I knew it was a Chinese-inspired fantasy and as the synopsis mentioned Mulan, it immediately went into my TBR. I’m so incredibly fortunate to become a part of the #SpinTheDawnTour hosted by @CaffeineTours and I got to read Spin the Dawn before it even got released. Now that I’m done with book one, 2020 needs to come sooner, I need UNRAVEL THE DUSK right now!
I had fun immersing myself in this magical book. It’s a thrilling, adventure-filled fantasy book where Maia goes on a journey to gather what she needs to sew three wedding dresses for the emperor’s bride-to-be. Elizabeth Lim’s writing was vivid and enchanting, I could picture every scene (with the help of my binge-watching Chinese drama skills) with clarity. The world building was excellent as well, I loved every single moment.
As for the characters, Maia was an interesting heroine. She started off to be a shy, overshadowed and underestimated girl. Tailoring is a man’s job and it’s frowned upon if any female does it. Thus, Maia’s skills were unseen by the world. When an opportunity came to help her family out of poverty and bring a little light to her father’s eyes once again, Maia took it. Even though Maia hadn’t seen much of the world, she wasn’t naive. She learned that life wasn’t going to easy and she toughened up even more. The trials and tribulations and backstabbing made her a smarter and fiercer protagonist that I came to love and admire.
Another thing you need to know is the forbidden romance. Maia met a mysterious Edan in the palace. Edan’s teasing and mischievous personality always made for good banter between him and Maia. As usual, there was more to him than meets the eye. I NEED MORE OF THEM TOGETHER PLEASE.
Couldn’t gush enough of the book so to anyone and everyone who’s reading this. PLEASE PICK SPIN THE DAWN UP!!!!!!
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, and even went so far as to get a doctorate in music composition. But she always missed writing, and turned to penning stories when she needed a breather from grad school. 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, food (she currently has a soft spot for arepas and Ethiopian food), the color turquoise, overcast skies, English muffins, cycling, and baking. She lives in New York City with her husband.