Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
Reviewed by Sam!
*We received an early copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. We’d like to thank Elizabeth and Knopf for the opportunity! This book comes out on July 9th and you can get it here!**
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.
Synopsis from Goodreads
What I drank prior: Had dinner at a new restaurant with boozie milkshakes and mine was the booziest. Plus also two weekend-pour sized glasses of wine when I got home. Spoiler alert: it’s not the weekend. Not the drunkest I’ve ever been but I’m feelin snarky so it counts.
Spoiler-free Overview: this is an Asian inspired Mulan meets Rumplestiltskein meets allll the other fairy tales. We’ve got our main character Maia, the tailor’s daughter. In this time, tailors are all men, women are seamstresses. Anywho, her family in trouble cause of the #war, and her dad gets invited to go to the emporer’s palace to be the imperial tailor but he sick so Maia goes in his place, dressed as her brother. She gets there and it’s a cray cray competition thing and this GUY Edan is a sorcerer and he’s there. Ya know. Bein broody AF. Story goes: win the competition or get found out and die… so yeah.
Spoiler-free Thoughts: I adored this. It was a perfect, light fantasy read. The mix of stories was (were? No… mix is the singular. Was) excellent. I cannot wait for the next one.
Characters: We really only have two main characters, Maia and Edan. Their angst banter gives me life.
- Maia: she is super well rounded. I understand her motivations and damn… she is just so fun to read.
- Edan: our brooding YA hero. He’s mysterious, sorta. I don’t really know his motivations but damn can he make you swoon. Minor character trope I don’t enjoy is the uber protectiveness but what are ya gonna do? No one is perfect.
Plot: This book is def plot driven and predictable to a point. In the middle it takes a seriously unpredictable shift and then again about 2/3 in. So you may think you know how it’s going to end but you don’t. I can promise you that.
Writing Style: it’s really really good guys. For a light YA fantasy, the writing style definitely takes you places. I particularly enjoyed the scenes where she’s creating something. The author is real good at reminding you how flipping hard it is to be an atrist.
World Building: I thought it was one thing and then it definitely wasn’t. Which was a pleasant surprise. I will def be reading book 2.
What to pair it with: Frose. No, Linz, not cause I just had some super delish Froze at dinner… but cause it’s got some liquor and bite to it but is also frozen and refreshing and exactly what you need on a humid stressful day after work.
Rating: 3/5 shots.
COMMENT DOWN BELOW: Gimmie allllll the fairy tale retellings please thanksssss
Until next time, we remain forever drunkenly yours,