Spin the Dawn
Author Elizabeth Lim
Publisher Alfred A. Knopf Books| 2019
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. (from Goodreads)
This review is spoiler-freeeeeee! 🙂
I really wanted to love this, and it started out really well! I’d heard that this was a fairytale retelling of Mulan (and I LOVE ME a fairytale retelling) but aside from Maia briefly pretending to be a man, there was little other similarities. But once I got past that surprise, I was really enjoying it for the first half of the book.
The characters were great- I really liked Maia and Eden was super intriguing. I was curious about where the royals’ allegiances lied and I’m excited to learn more about them in the next book. Maia’s father and brother were great, too, and I loved Ammi! I was super thrilled with the fashion design aspect of the plot, and I thought the royal tailor competition was really fun! It was once Maia and Eden set out on their travel journey that the book turned a bit disappointing for me. Though I enjoyed the two together, it got too.. gooey for me? I feel like it got a bit too sickeningly romantic really quickly and I missed the high stakes of the tailor competition and being in the palace. I also wasn’t completely taken with the whole demon storyline and I’m not sure where that will go from here.
Although the second half was a lot slower and less entertaining, I still think that this book holds promise for a cool story! I will for sure try to check out the sequel once it comes out!