Book Reviews

Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars #1) by Elizabeth Lim

spin the dawn

Title: Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars, #1)
Author: Elizabeth Lim
Rating: ★★★★★

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Buddy read with Breanna.

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 not what I expected, but it definitely didn’t disappoint! Maia is the epitome of a strong, female character. Just like in Mulan, with no eligible male heir able to assist the emperor, Maia takes it upon herself to represent her family and restore honor to their name. In a time where women hold no power, she takes it upon herself to swallow her pride, dress like her brother, and hide her true identity from everyone else.

“And you?”
“The obedient one.”
“No”, Edan said. “You’re the strong one.”
The strong one. The one who held the seams of my family together.

But not everyone is deceived. The emperor’s Enchanter catches on to Maia’s ploy. Is he on her side or will he reveal her true identity?

I was definitely intrigued by the idea of a competition, sort of like Project Runway, but tailor-version. After the competition is over, Maia sets out on a new mission…a dangerous one that either she will succeed, or die painfully. This is the unexpected part since I thought the story would end at the end of the competition. But, alas! Another adventure!

Yes, Sendo used to tell me fairy tales. How he’d love mine if he were still alive: the tale of a girl who’d sewn the sun, the moon, and the stars into three dresses, the tale of a girl whom a demon have vowed to possess.

It was the tale of a boy, too. A boy who could fly but not swim. A boy with the powers of the gods but the shackles of a slave. A boy who loved me.

It was a tale still being written.

I can’t choose a favorite character. I love Edan and Maia equally.

The expected publication date is July 30, 2019.