Spin the Dawn

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...

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Title:Spin the Dawn
Author:Elizabeth Lim
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Spin the Dawn Reviews

  • Brittney ~ Reverie and Ink

    Wow what a ride!

    This book was really fun, and there's so much I loved about it.

    First of all, I have to rave about the world building. I loved everything about it - deeply woven culture meets beautifully artistic magic. Really cool folklore and mythology. I'm DYING to see some fan art! Honestly, this alone made the book worthy of five stars. I never wanted to leave the world. And the story - pitched as Mulan meets Project Runway - totally fits. The first bit gave me definite Mulan vibes! But th

    Wow what a ride!

    This book was really fun, and there's so much I loved about it.

    First of all, I have to rave about the world building. I loved everything about it - deeply woven culture meets beautifully artistic magic. Really cool folklore and mythology. I'm DYING to see some fan art! Honestly, this alone made the book worthy of five stars. I never wanted to leave the world. And the story - pitched as Mulan meets Project Runway - totally fits. The first bit gave me definite Mulan vibes! But then the story takes on a TOTALLY new direction. In fact, I'd say it changes directions several times, and I definitely wasn't complaining (more below).

    We start with Maia, who in order to save her sick father and provide for her family, takes her father's place by dressing like a boy to meet the Emperor's summons. At the palace, there's a competition to be come the Emperor's tailor - but the tailor must impress his fiancé first. But as the plot progresses, it becomes so much more. One thing after another, and all the sudden, Maia is thrust on a journey to craft three impossible dresses - one made of the sun, another of the moon, and lastly, one made from the blood of stars. (And don't worry - she isn't going on the journey alone. Wink wink.)

    I did like the characters. Maia has the biggest heart - and she's tough! I especially loved Edan though. Some of you saw my status update - in the beginning, he totally felt like a baby Darkling! He's the Emperor's Enchanter, and has a soft spot for Maia. But as you learn more about him, he becomes more and more unique. I loved trying to figure out his mysteries! The only issue I had was trying to follow some of the character's motivations at times, but I'll admit I was pretty under-the-weather while reading this, so it might have just been me being a bit delusional.

    I will say this book reads a bit younger - perfect for teens (which is the intended audience). So much of YA these days feels way older, but this one felt very appropriate for the audience. It reads very clean (meaning it's easy to follow) and the main character actually acts like a teenager (and I don't mean that in a bad way at all)! Honestly, this book was a breath of fresh air.

    ~

    ~

  • Anissa

    One word: WOW.

    This book is pitched as Mulan meets Project Runway but it was really so much more than that. I loved it!

  • Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    July Owlcrate Box! Click on the link below the pic to see all of the goodies!

    I loved this so much, it went to my favorites list!

    Animation: Arthur Redhawk

    Let me tell you people!

    When I read this was a cross between Project Runway and Mulan, I immediately put hitting that pre-order button aside. I'm not into those two descriptions. BUT, I saw it on Netgalley and thought I should take a chance.

    is nothing like wh

    July Owlcrate Box! Click on the link below the pic to see all of the goodies!

    I loved this so much, it went to my favorites list!

    Animation: Arthur Redhawk

    Let me tell you people!

    When I read this was a cross between Project Runway and Mulan, I immediately put hitting that pre-order button aside. I'm not into those two descriptions. BUT, I saw it on Netgalley and thought I should take a chance.

    is nothing like what I was thinking in that part of the description!

    This book was everything for me. Let me try to keep this simple without any spoilers. Hmmm....okay, Maia is a tailor in her own right, but girls are not allowed to become tailors. <-- What?! I was like, are you for real?! Anyhoo, her dad was a famous tailor but since Maia's mom died he's not the same and he has become sickly. (I mean we all get old right?) So Maia is the one running the shop and doing all of the mending. Maia has three brothers but things happen to them so they are not doing any kind of tailoring.

    THEN, one day some dude shows up saying Maia's father has to come to try out to become a Royal Tailor to the Imperial Majesty. We all know that's not happening...soooooo.. Maia pretends she is one of her brothers and goes up against some other men (some whom are real jerks) to try to win the spot of Royal Tailor. Maia is not just doing this for herself, she wants to get money to her family.

    All kinds of shenanigans ensue and even some people trying to kill people! Geez!

    Maia befriends Edan who is the Lord Enchanter and he's a bit of something else too. I wish I could tell you. I might come back with a spoiler section =) Edan takes a liking to Maia because he knows her secret and she's a good person; she has some magic too!

    They end up on a quest to seek these amazing things to make dresses out of for the Imperial Majesty's soon to be wife. She doesn't want to be his wife but that's how it goes in these arranged things. Anyhoo, this that and the other happens. I was so happy and then I was sad because I'm not sure what the future is going to hold AND I don't have the next book yet!? Do I want to read the next book? I'm afraid! If I'm still alive, I will be reading it!

    I love Maia and Edan so much and that's all that matters!

    Happy Reading!

    Mel ♥

    *Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for giving me a digital copy of this book to read.*

  • jessica

    wow wow wow. i am truly blown away by how amazing this story is. the book blurb does this a slight disservice by pitching it as a cross between mulan and project runway. not because it doesnt have those elements, but because this is SO much more than that.

    the story is captivating with enthralling writing and charming characters. oh my gosh. edan is one of the wittiest characters i have read in a while. his banter with maia is such a delight to read. from start to finish, i was entertained with

    wow wow wow. i am truly blown away by how amazing this story is. the book blurb does this a slight disservice by pitching it as a cross between mulan and project runway. not because it doesnt have those elements, but because this is SO much more than that.

    the story is captivating with enthralling writing and charming characters. oh my gosh. edan is one of the wittiest characters i have read in a while. his banter with maia is such a delight to read. from start to finish, i was entertained with every page.

    but what really impressed me is the blend of cultures. the world is an array of different people and traditions and i love how this captures that so well. this story richly mixes the folklore of both east asian and middle eastern cultures and creates a vibrant setting, perfect for maia and her adventure. i love how this didnt just stick to one, like most stories do, but expanded beyond that. it made for quite an enchanting world to read.

    i am so desperate to get my hands on the next book - if only i could find my own enchanter to make it happen!

  • may ➹

    Hey so uh quick question.....who thought they should leave me on my own to figure out that the ending would end like: that and HURT like: that.

    Spin the Dawn follows Maia Tamarin, a female seamstress who is struggling to support herself and her father after her brothers went to war. When her father is invited to the Emperor’s palace to compete for the position of the royal tailor, she takes his place and dresses as a boy.

    Maia takes on several other magical tailors, meets the alluringly m

    Hey so uh quick question.....who thought they should leave me on my own to figure out that the ending would end like: that and HURT like: that.

    Spin the Dawn follows Maia Tamarin, a female seamstress who is struggling to support herself and her father after her brothers went to war. When her father is invited to the Emperor’s palace to compete for the position of the royal tailor, she takes his place and dresses as a boy.

    Maia takes on several other magical tailors, meets the alluringly mysterious enchanter, and

    to retrieve the laughter of the sun, tears of the moon, and blood of the stars. Throughout all this, she must keep her identity a secret and learn how to use the magical scissors her grandfather passed down to her.

    The most striking thing about Spin the Dawn is

    . Even just “the laughter of the sun, tears of the moon, and blood of the stars” is so beautiful and metaphorical, and the rest of the book is just as stunning. This is definitely one of those cases where the writing is just as pretty as the cover!!

    As much as I love the writing, I love Maia even more. She’s just

    . She risks everything by posing as a boy to become the royal tailor, and she never gives up even when given an impossible task to complete. She’s determined to do whatever she can, in order for her loved ones to survive, and it’s so beautiful and inspiring to read.

    Edan, the enchanting magician that Maia meets, is also a character I adored! Their (flirty) banter back and forth was so much fun to read, and I loved the two’s dynamic. I also just really loved his backstory—sassy brooding magical characters are 100% destined to be my eternal weakness.

    And of course,

    . I honestly don’t know how else to describe my feelings about it besides my own wise words:

    Edan: you make me remember a part of myself I’d forgotten

    me:

    I just really loved their relationship, and it especially killed me at the end of the book! I do want to say that there is a weird age difference (as in, he’s like 500 years old, and she is… not), and some people found that to be an issue for them. I personally wasn’t that bothered by it, but still wanted to let you all know!

    I don’t normally talk about worldbuilding in my reviews, because it’s not something I really notice unless it stands out, but

    . I really loved the incorporation of magic and demons and ghosts, and even a magic carpet. The book is inspired from Chinese mythology, and while I don’t know enough Chinese mythology to have recognized it in the writing, I know it means a lot to Chinese readers and I’m happy that it was included.

    The themes in this book were also very strong. Of course, the significance of family is emphasized, with how determined Maia is to help her family survive, and that made me so happy to see. And it’s also about

    , chasing the ambitions and dreams that only men have been allowed to have before her.

    Also, can I talk about the ending? I’m going to talk about the ending. I was not expecting it at all, and as much as it destroyed me, I loved it? From the way the book ends, and from what I read of the second book from an excerpt in my ARC, the sequel is sure to be dark, and I am extremely excited.

    If it wasn’t obvious, I truly loved this book. It’s gorgeous, inside and out, and so enjoyable to read that I didn’t want to put it down. If you’re looking for a

    , I highly recommend this!

  • Lily ☁️

    I am actually speechless,

    . 🌙✨

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  • Azrah

    meets

    was accurate indeed.

    Maia Tamarin has a dream of becoming the Imperial Taylor of A’landi. Growing up in a family of taylor's she definitely has the skill but as a girl it would be improper and all she can do is to make sure she marries well.

    Maia has endured much tragedy due to the war. Her father is broken and their family shop is failing, with little options left Maia is almost put in the position of having to take up the proposal from the bakers gross son when a roy

    meets

    was accurate indeed.

    Maia Tamarin has a dream of becoming the Imperial Taylor of A’landi. Growing up in a family of taylor's she definitely has the skill but as a girl it would be improper and all she can do is to make sure she marries well.

    Maia has endured much tragedy due to the war. Her father is broken and their family shop is failing, with little options left Maia is almost put in the position of having to take up the proposal from the bakers gross son when a royal messenger comes with a summons from the Emperor.

    A summons for her father who is too sick and grief stricken. She poses as her brother and takes the place of her father. Maia decides that this is

    . Her chance to prove that she could be a Master Taylor despite her gender, her chance to help support her family.

    At the palace Maia is shocked to discover that she was not the only taylor summoned. What ensues is a competition for the Master with the best skill.

    The first half of the book went surprisingly fast. The pace was great and there was never a dull moment. I didn't expect the competition to move so quickly.

    The second half of the book was packed with even more action as Maia goes on a journey and I was completely hooked and invested in Maia's story.

    It took me a while to connect with the other characters but in the second half my love for Eden, the Lord Enchanter, grew.

    Something I couldn't get over was the unrealistic-ness of how Maia could pull off pretending to be a guy. I'm sorry but how in the world do you manage to always remember to speak in a deep voice? And for that matter how in the world is that deep voice even believable?

    I loved how the clothing was described, it made me wish Maia could make something for me.

    I think this book ended off well, and I am most definitely looking forward to the sequel. I am filled with anticipation for what is install for Maia and Edan and I would love to learn more about Lady Sarnai.

    Buddy read with

    🌷

  • Clemlucian (🏳️‍🌈the villain's quest)

    (Yes, cunt Clem is back and I'm about to burn the house down.)

    |

    and non-gender conforming folks, welcome to another episode of

    , staring Spin the Dawn and yours truly. Please take a seat, grab yourself a drink, and hold on tight to your grandma’s underwear....because shit is about to get serious.

    Some random girl from the north of somewhere (I can’t, for the life of me, tell you where) likes to sew clothes in he

    (Yes, cunt Clem is back and I'm about to burn the house down.)

    |

    and non-gender conforming folks, welcome to another episode of

    , staring Spin the Dawn and yours truly. Please take a seat, grab yourself a drink, and hold on tight to your grandma’s underwear....because shit is about to get serious.

    Some random girl from the north of somewhere (I can’t, for the life of me, tell you where) likes to sew clothes in her dad’s old sewing shop. Apparently, her dad used to be famous and, 20 years later, some random dude--who we never see again--knocks on her doorstep and requires the father’s presence in court to participate in some competition to become the royal tailor. But the dad can’t go because he’s a drunk and the daughter can’t go because she’s not a man, so she disguises herself as her brother and impersonates him in court. She wins the competition and becomes the royal tailor. Now she’ll have to keep the charade of her being a man...and she’ll be under threat of being executed forever!

    So, we need to talk about this trend of having the main character in Asian fantasy having to “crossdress” to survive, but who never questions their gender identity because it’s so outrageous to even think gender identity can be fluid or not cis. I’m not saying that I want every crossdresser to be trans, I just want the perception of one’s gender expression to be discussed in novels.

    This trend is just an example of how unoriginal this book is. I’ve read 5 fantasy YA like this already in 2019 and I can’t, for the life of me, differentiate them from one another.

    The worldbuilding. One word:

    It’s non-existent. If my bestfriend hadn’t told me that this was an Asian fantasy, I wouldn’t have known. I can’t say where this book takes place. What kind of government it has. What religions are represented (or invented). How the magic works. Who are the gods. What kind of creature exists. Why are the two sides at war… Nope, I have literally no clue.

    The characters. I dead-ass caught myself calling Mia by the name Alina for the majority of this book (the love interest being the disgusting Mal obvi). That goes to show how well developed the characters are. Whenever the female character showed a bit of personality she either passed out or needed saving. Seriously, we’re being told that Mia is “so strong and smart”, but all she does is sleep, complain, and gush over some random hobo.

    The romance.

    Just kidding. I have rarely been more turned off in my entire life. It was as if I was reading the script of the worst Lifetime movie ever made. The cringiness of the dialogues broke the levels of the awkwardness of

    (the movie). I had chills during some of the dullest and impersonal romantic dialogues I’ve ever read in my life.

    Here are some examples:

    And many more that I can’t even look at without gagging.

    In other words, just because you can write one word after the other doesn’t mean that you should write a book. (Maybe I should start to listen to my own advice.)

  • Melanie

    This is honestly the best cover I've ever encountered and holy shit the blessings.

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  • Chaima ✨ شيماء

    sounds interesting but I need this book for reasons that have everything to do with the cultivated vanity that’s reserving my space in hell.....I mean just look at THAT COVER.

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