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Review: Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Hey all, Dani here.

Fine, so I have two posts to go up today. Didn’t I mention in my earlier post that because of the #Reviewathon I was going to have to do some bonus posts? Bet you didn’t think that would start up this soon. Haha, anyway, with all of the books I’m hoping/planning to read over the next month, I’m definitely not going to be able to keep up with the reviews if I just stick to the normal blogging schedule, which is fine. I’ll just have a bunch of bonus NetGalley reviews up in the coming weeks, like this one.

So let’s just jump into it.

Spin the Dawn


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.

My Thoughts

Rating: 4.5 stars

I also read this book as my fantasy genre book pick for #AGameofBooksathon.

To start off with, I am not a big fashionista; I don’t watch “Project Runway,” so that was not the reason I was interested in this story. But an intriguing competition story with a sort of Mulan retelling component? Yeah, that sounded interesting.

Thankfully this story ended up being as interesting as it sounded. Honestly though it reminded me of another fairy tale story I read growing up, I think it has been called by many different names, including the Many-Furred Creature. The important points of note with this particular tale is three dresses, one of the sun, one of the moon, and one of the stars.

The initially small bits of magic in this story were interesting, and the influence of magic increased as the story progressed. Plus all of the travel across the land, and the trials to earn the necessary components to make the dresses for the emperor’s bride-to-be. The landscape and the world-building were pretty well done, and this book was interesting enough that I just wanted to keep reading.

Also, hey, I thought the romance was pretty much a slow burn, which I’m finding I really enjoy in stories. Both Maia and Edan were really interesting as characters, and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what will happen in the sequel. Maia is a really cool protagonist, and I especially enjoyed her attempt to imitate her injured brother.

So many stories of late are depicting a fairly strong family dynamic, in all of its complicated glory, and I am really happy about that.

Where to Buy

You can pick up your own copy from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local independent bookstore.

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