Title: Spin the Dawn
Author: Elizabeth Lim
Series: The Blood of Stars #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, High Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books
Publication date: July 9th, 2019
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.
“One day, we’ll sail the seas, you and I. And you’ll see the blue in all the world.”
I was so hyped to read this book because I feel I’d been only hearing great things about it in people’s reviews, and after finishing it I totally understand why they talked so highly about it, because it was one of my favorite reads of 2019 so far. Not only it was one of my most anticipated releases, but also fulfill by far all the expectations I had going into it, and I cannot wait to know more about the sequel, because after that ending I was left wanting more.
I think one of my favorite parts about Spin the Dawn was the plot. I adore stories that share any type of element with Mulan, because that was one of my favorite movies when I was a kid (and as an adult too, let’s face it), and though this book was so unique and it ended up being much more than what was told in the synopsis, the first part had some similarities with the movie, and I was so pumped. The change from the first part to the other three was a bit quick and fast, but I still really loved reading their journey and the path the plot was taking throughout the story. Whereas the first part was more focused on political intrigued and the competition, the other three added more depth to the character’s arcs and their journeys, and we learnt more about the world and the magic, which was so incredibly nice.
Another favorite part of mine, and one that stood the most to me, was the mythology. It was such a cool and interesting concept, and I tend to fall in love completely with books that had some type of history or mythology that centers around the sun, moon and stars, and those elements were so present in Spin the Dawn, which made me enjoy the novel even more.
“A tailor’s worth is not measured by his fame, but by the happiness he brings. You will hold the seams of our family together, Maia. No other tailor in the world can do that.”
When it comes to the characters, nothing that I’ll say will do them justice. I adored Maia with all my heart, and think she was such a strong, selfless and caring heroine. Her evolution throughout the story was so incredibly well done, and I absolutely adored the dynamics and the relationship between her and Edan. It was kind of a slowly enemies to lovers situation (which is one of my favorite tropes) and their interactions were so intriguing, and later on seeing such a pure relationship evolved was incredible. I would say the last two parts were a bit more focused on the romance, but I can understand why it was done that way since it played a huge part in the ending.
Overall, I absolutely adored Spin the Dawn. I loved the writing styled and how incredibly detailed the descriptions about the designs of the clothes were, and the mythology and characters made it stood out to me.
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This doesn’t change my opinion whatsoever. All thoughts are my own.
TW: torture, death
“Sometimes finding the way was tricky, I told myself, but you always do. As long as you don’t give up.”
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