Title : Spin the Dawn
Author : Elizabeth Lim
Series : The Blood of Stars #1
Genre : YA fantasy
Release Date : July 9th, 2019
Publisher : Knopf Books for Young Readers
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.
When I first found this book and read the summary, one word immediately catches my eyes : Mulan. It is no secret that I love all things about disney princess, and Mulan is one of my favorite. So eventhough I’ve no idea what Project Runway is, this book sat pretty high in my most-wanted list, and I’m (im)patiently waiting for it to be released so I could finally read it. When I heard that Shealea is hosting a international blog tour for Spin the Dawn, I couldn’t submit fast enough. I didn’t expect to be accepted since there’s so many amazing bloggers out there, but sometimes, miracle does happen, and this time it takes the form of an email. I think I almost scream (from happiness, of course) from my room and petrified my family when I read that somehow I got to be a part of this blog tour.
Spin the Dawn follows Maia Tamarin, a tailor who aspire to be an Imperial Tailor. There’s only one catch : no woman is allowed to be one. So it’s mostly just an aspiration that will forever be a dream, until one day, an official from the Imperial request a man from the Tamarin family to compete in a contest that will determine the next Imperial Tailor. Since her father hasn’t really sew in a few years since their mother’s death, and her remaining brother is still suffering from the war, Maia decide to go to the palace posing as his brother to compete for the Imperial Tailor position and sew the legendary dresses.
From the beginning, I really admire Maia. She faced some hardships in life since little, from her mother’s death, and then her older brothers’s because of the war. She saw her own father slowly succumbing to grief, up to the point that he no longer can took care of the family. She also saw her remaining brother’s suffering because of the war. And yet, she still stands strong, taking care of her father and her brother, of their little shop, and basically of their lives from day to day. When she entered the competition while posing as her brother, it’s also because she didn’t want her family’s honor to be ruined from ignoring the Emperor’s summons. Everyone in book thought Maia is the obedient children, but I really think she’s the strongest and bravest.
Beside Maia, there’s also one other main character, which is none other than the so-called court magician in the summary, Edan. I’ll admit, being the Lord Enchanter for the Emperor, I honestly thought he would be one of those dark, brooding characters who has lived for hundreds of year. Only one of those guesses was right, since turns out he’s actually pretty funny and sassy. I didn’t realize how refreshing it was to read about a character who’s supposed to be really old but also likes to tease and flirt and generally being a funny guy. Personality aside, I also really love the interactions between Maia and Edan. Their banters are very amusing, and it obviously leads to them developing feelings for each other. It was the kind of romance that you saw coming and yet sneaks upon you. Eventhough personally I feel it happens a little bit fast, this whole book took around 3 months, so there’s no insta-love.
All in all, Spin the Dawn is a tale of love and what would you give up for it. The only thing that made me give this book 4 stars is the ending that I obviously can’t talk about here, but really it’s pretty minor and more of a ‘me problem’. Beside that, this book is amazing and worth the read. Again, I’ll be impatiently waiting for the next one.
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.
Below, I’ll be featuring one of my favorite passages from Spin the Dawn. I have a lot of favorites because Elizabeth’s writing is just beautiful and wish I could feature them all, but alas, it’s not possible and I wouldn’t want to spill the fun. Note that this passage is taken from my ARC, which means it’s not final and might not make it to the actual book. Anyway, here it is :
“Thinking of [name redacted] and the other enemies we might encounter on the rest of our journey, I said resolutely, “Show me how to use the dagger.”
Edan had it on him. It was the one I’d seen in his room and in his trunk, with the silvery scabbard and thin red cord.
“The dagger’s blade has a double edge because it is two weapons,” he explained. “One side is best used against man. The other side is made of meteorite and is best used against…creatures I hope we won’t encounter. To unsheathe it, you must grasp the hilt and say my name.”
“Grasp the hilt and say ‘Edan’,” I repeated. “That’s simple enough”
He shook his head. “Enchanters have many names, sometimes thousands. Edan is only one of my names.”
“Emperor Khanujin has a thousand names.”
“He has titles. And a thousand is an exaggeration. It’s more like fifty-two, and they’re all variations on the same thing.”
I crossed my arms, skeptical. “But you, almighty Lord Enchanter, you have a thousand names.”
“Close to a thousand,” he admitted.
“I’ll believe it when I hear them.”
“I wouldn’t want you to hear all of them,” he said, amused. “Some are quite insulting. And untrue.”
“Sorcerer who feasts on eyes of children–Enlai’naden. Hateful master of the wicked–Kylofeldal. It goes on and on.”
“And the one that unlocks the dagger?”
He waited a beat before answering. “Jinn,” he said. “One of my first names.”
Win one of the 3 copies available of Spin the Dawn, courtesy of Knopf Books for Young Reader, Elizabeth Lim, and Caffeine Book Tours! (open internationally!)
to enter, just click here.
- Blog tour launch (from Shut up, Shealea)
- Book Freak Revelations
- Happy Indulgence Books
- READING (AS)(I)AN AMERICA
- Snow White Hates Apples
- Star is All Booked Up
- Author interview on Shut up, Shealea
- Hana Book Review
- Phantom Paper
- R E A (D) I V I N E
- Unputdownable Books
- Wavy Pages
- Forever and Everly
- The Quiet Pond
- Read at Midnight
- The Ultimate Fangirl
- Your Tita Kate
- #CBTTC Twitter chat hosted by Caffeine Book Tours (@CaffeineTours)
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