{Review} Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Posted July 25, 2019 by Leah in Reviews / 1 Comment

{Review} Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars, #1)

by Elizabeth Lim
Pages: 416
Published on July 9, 2019
by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

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.

3.5 Stars

Spin the Dawn feels like a dream come true. With the surge of diverse books, it still makes my heart soar when I see a book with an Asian main character. It also helps that Spin the Dawn is a fantasy adventure, complete with other things that make me happy.


What I Liked

-Strong world building filled with myth and magic. Where else can you find the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and blood of stars for clothing? This is also a world with vengeful ghosts and demons. The magic feels familiar yet unique at the same time.

-The high-stakes adventure, complete with quest. Maia is racing against time to get the magical materials she needs. You can feel her urgency and the danger that comes with gathering each material.

-Banter! And flirty banter to boot. You know I love my snappy dialogue between love interests, and Edan dishes out the banter in spades.

-The ending. All I can say is: Ugh, my heart.


What Could Have Been Better

Spin the Dawn feels like two different books. The first half is languid, composed of Maia’s family life before she decides to disguise herself as a boy to compete to become the Imperial Tailor. There’s a lot of designing clothing for the Emperor’s betrothed and some hard-nosed competition between her and the other tailors. Not a long goes on in this part.

-There were times when a secondary character could have been the main character. When we first meet Lady Sarnai, the Emperor’s reluctant betrothed, she’s angry and hurting about her circumstances. She was more interesting and compelling than Maia. In fact, I want a book about her.

-Several instances occur where Maia discovers strong magic…and does not bat an eye. This isn’t normal for her. I think magical discoveries would warrant shock and awe.

-By the time Maia receives her task to create the legendary dresses from the sun, moon, and stars, I was hooked. The writing picked up, the dynamics between Maia and Edan, the royal enchanter, were fun. But when the quest neared its end, the pacing fizzled down to the slow, contemplative manner from the first part of the book. 

-So Maia and Edan’s romance is instalove, which I usually don’t go for, but their banter was so darn cute that I was rooting for them. I know, I am a hypocrite.


Overall, I really did enjoy the book. It has incredible potential and promises a lot more. I am definitely going to read the sequel.



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