Spin The Dawn
(The Blood of Stars #1)
By Elizabeth Lim
Genre: #YA #Fantasy #Retelling
My Rating: 5
Publication: July 30th, 2019
Read: February 17th, 2019
POV: First-person single perspective
Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36683928-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.
I received an arc of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
I loved this book. It was fresh, original, unique, and nostalgic of other tales. Spin the Dawn is the amazing story of Maia Tamarin and how she fights to become the Imperial Tailor and the amazing journey she goes on to create the dresses of legend. The plot was constantly intriguing, I never wanted to put the book down. This book is a Mulan inspired retelling but other than the fact that Maia has to disguise herself as a boy the similarities stop there. Spin the Dawn was its own original tale but like I mentioned some aspects of it reminded me of other stories. The plot was consistently moving, it was a nonstop battle to the finish. My only critique is that I think the romance leaned towards insta-love and that is not my favorite trope at all.
I really loved the characters. Maia is a wonderful female protagonist. She consistently worked hard no matter how many people undermined or teased her. Her talent as a seamstress knows no bounds. I think she got in her head a lot of the time but she was always strong enough to pull off the tasks required of her without Edan’s help. Now let’s talk about Edan! His character archetype is what I like to call the “Nikolai Archetype,” meaning that his character personality and actions are similar to that of Nikolai from the Grisha trilogy. These characteristics include sarcastic, snarky, never takes anything seriously, fun, sly, secretive, very attractive, has some type of eliteness to them, mischievous, evasive of questions, usually lonely, and lastly has a 99.9% chance of being my favorite character in the book. Another character like this who Edan reminds me of in River Shara from Even The Darkest Stars. He was a wonderful character and as the Lord Enchanter there was no shortage of antics from him. He loved to tease Maia but also supported her along the way. Lady Sarnai is the character I am most interested in. I think she has a big role to play and I want to learn more about it. She acts cold and vicious but it is obvious to see that she is just a girl upset over being given to the emperor as a way to barter peace. More is going to come out of that storyline and I cannot wait to learn more about it. Emperor Khanujin is interesting and I can’t really figure him out. He seems calm and peaceful but I can see those hints of his thirst for great power. I wonder what will happen with that.
Spin the Dawn is perfect for fans of Renee Ahdieh, Naomi Novik, and Heather Fawcett. Specifically fans of Uprooted and Even The Darkest Stars. I really loved this book and I cannot wait to read more. Even if this book doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, I encourage you to try it out. I am sure that you will find it worthwhile. I certainly did.
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