Oh, it’s a lovely feeling when a book you’ve anticipated for quite some time is as good as you hoped it would be! I’m so thrilled to say that Spin the Dawn is just that.
Thanks to Knopf / Random House Children’s and NetGalley for providing a free digital copy in exchange for an honest review.
Title: Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars #1)
Author: Elizabeth Lim
Expected release date: July 9, 2019
Genre: Young adult, fantasy, romance
Length: 400 pages (hardcover)
Synopsis: (via Goodreads) “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.”
I was incredibly engaged with the plot from the first chapter. I love how the author eases us into the main character, Maia’s, life, and the stories she weaves from it. I felt like I was just settling into the Tamarin family when Maia decides to disguise herself as a boy and go to the palace. The author sets up a wonderful story for Maia and truly shows the young women’s talent as a tailor but the hinderance she faces as a girl. I loved being at the palace and seeing this side of life that is completely unknown to Maia. I adored being introduced to each of the tailors she competes with and the interesting way magic is introduced in the book. However, you could definitely tell that not everything is as it seems and while I hoped there would be some conclusive evidence in regard to the emperor, things still seemed somewhat abstract by the end of the book. The story felt a little rushed though, not just at the end. The comp titles (Project Runway + Mulan) works but both sort of fall to the wayside toward the middle of the book.
As I stated earlier, I really do love these characters! When Maia is introduced to Edan, I loved their interactions. The way they grow together in friendship which blossoms into something more was really heart-warming. Edan is such a charming character and he truly cares about Maia. Again, not everything is as it seems so when we learn more about the emperor and his bride, there’s a feeling of “something’s not quite right but I don’t know what it is yet.” I adored Maia’s dedication to her family, and I loved how they had confidence in her and didn’t try to make her feel less because she is a girl. I’m really interested to know more about emperor and his bride, and I hope it is explored more in the second book.
I really don’t have anything bad to say here. I loved the non-Western world, the world-building itself, especially the whole idea of the laughter of the sun, tears of the moon, and blood of the stars. Things aren’t described simply, but we see through Maia’s eyes the colors of the world and the fabric, how precise she is. It really lends well to pulling the reader into the story, and I really don’t have a lot of bad things to say. This book was a solid read for me, and I’m glad I enjoyed it so much.
Also, this cover is gorgeous and most things on this cover are in the book so… 👀
Check out these other early reviews:
- Bella says if you like romance, mythology, beautiful dresses, etc., you’ll love this book. (I totally agree!)
- Shri at Sun and Chai didn’t enjoy this book as much as she thought she would.
- The ladies at Fable’s Library simply loved the book!