first, a huge round of applause to Elizabeth (thank YOU) for creating such a magnificent and rich book that has me (little, maybe not so little anymore, Chinese girl) sparkling with joy
i’d be literally sparkling if not for physical limitations ok
Anyhow, before I get into the my *glowing* review (also me screaming constantly, maybe) of Spin the Dawn, I’d like to thank Shealea from Shut Up, Shealea, as well as Elizabeth herself and Knopf Books for Young Readers for giving me a chance to participate in the #SpinTheDawn tour! It is my first time participating in a book tour and I couldn’t be happier to start off with a book that sounds deeply with my heart.
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.
This is most absolutely the book 13-year old fantasy loving, romantic, Gryffindor-esque me (17-year old me is now a Ravenclaw, and sticking to books, but that’s a story for another time) needed when she was struggling through her teen years unable to fit herself in the place of a heroine. Maia Tamarin, the star of Spin the Dawn, is our sweet little brave girl that goes off to compete for the spot of imperial tailor.
me, in love with Maia? idk what you’re talking about jk i am in love with her This Mulan-inspired story (I love myself a girl that has to pretend to be a boy because of unfair circumstances but kicks some serious butt) will have you on your toes through out the entire course of your reading time!! By the middle of the book, I was really invested in the futures of all the characters. okay maybe not one character but you’ll have to read Spin the Dawn to find out who 😉 Besides Maia, there is Edan, the emperor’s Enchanter (who also has my heart WHAT DO YOU KNOW), Emperor Khanujin himself, and his wife, Lady Sarnai. There are so many facets to each of these characters and I can’t help but wish there was a wiki page for each of them so I could study and take notes and basically obsess over them 😂 Elizabeth does a great job of keeping the reader entertained, which my brother can attest to from my constant gasping, screams, laughs, etc. Look out for a sweet sprinkle of romance, which will fulfill your fangirl needs while also satisfying your inner *serious*(??) romantic.
Have I mentioned how much I love the clothing descriptions in particular? When I was younger, all I wanted to be was a fashion designer (unfortunately, those dreams have fallen through, but I was able to relive them through Spin the Dawn) and I was in bliss putting myself in Maia’s shoes. Elizabeth not only gives rich and detailed descriptions of the clothing, but also spun out an incredibly wonderful world that allows the reader’s imagination to craft out their own personal universe as they follow Maia on her adventure. Can we also talk about the MAGIC SCISSORS? I want a pair, I want to know how they work, I wanna see the magic in real life. I want to see it glow–I know I’m not Maia Tamarin but a girl can dream right? 😭 And the DRESSES. THE THREE DRESSES. Made from the laughter of the stars, the tears of the moon, and the blood of the stars. I would die to see them in real life.
The fashion lover in me is REALLY popping off today phew
There are so many things I love about this book, such as the Chinese culture that I felt myself unconsciously melting into (my Malaysian-Chinese heart: glowing, much like Maia’s golden scissors), but my favorite part has to be Maia’s growth. This is a girl that is brave and selfless and who deserves everything her world has to offer, and it was emotional for me to follow how she grows throughout her adventures. It’s really inspiring, how she is able to overcome all the prejudice and obstacles that are constantly trying to flatten her into the ground, and yet she rises.
With all the praise that I’ve heaped on Spin the Dawn (please this book is beautiful,,,, i’m not being dramatic ;-;) I hope you’ve been intrigued into reading it!
final ratings [5/5]
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.
Please come join us on twitter for a fun! and spoiler free! #CBTTC Chat will be hosted by Caffeine Tours!!
AND FINALLY…INT. BLOG TOUR GIVEAWAY!
Thanks to Knopf Group for Young Readers, we will be giving away three hardcover copies of Spin the Dawn to 3 lucky winners!!!! Click HERE to enter the giveaway! (emphasis: INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY!)