WHOOO BOY! Time to meet Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim, a YA romantic fantasy. The folklore and legends in this world feel so real. And I don’t mean just because they turn out to be true…
About Spin the dawn:
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Title: Spin the Dawn
Author: Elizabeth Lim
Series: The Blood of Stars #1
Pub. Date: July 9, 2019
Publisher Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genres: Fantasy, W/M, Young Adult
Goodreads Amazon|| B&N|| TBD|| iBooks|| Google Play
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.
IMHO: spin the dawn
I watched Top Model in the first couple of seasons and never seen Project Runway beyond memes & gifs, so I was nervous about the comparisons and honestly, didn’t know how such a competition would work out in print.
All my fears were unfounded. There’s plenty going on between all the different players with magic, cheating, and backstabbing ruthlessness. Plus the second half is the grand adventure outside the palace, which really changes it up.
“I dread reaching the end of my story, for it is full of knots that I haven’t had the courage to cut free.”
Okay, I know I just railed about the girl disguised as a boy trope with Crown of Feathers. Here’s the difference: she was taught a bit about being a boy from a boy, and she didn’t get away with it. It was also a much shorter time frame without such intimate or close contact.
There is a slow burn romance with a cursed magician that starts with frustrating sparks, sparring banter, and ends,…well….
“As you wish, Master Tamarin.” He winked at me. “As you wish.”
The only similarities between Maia and Mulan…
is that they runaway to disguise themselves as boys to help their family. Mulan is much more physically active and thwarting violent threats, while Maia’s more about poverty and desperation and a bit of revolutionary ego.
“You’re used to being underestimated, so you want to prove yourself. Don’t let that be your crutch. Accept help when you need it.”
The would-be empress Sarnai is not pleasant, to say the least. But I admire the hunting prowess and only wearing the skins of your own kills. There’s definitely something interesting brewing there. And if someone says they hate yellow, don’t fucking use yellow!! I’m sorry that’s just RUDE and selfish uncompetitive nonsense. That is not how you play to win.
The only thing I can’t cheer about is people acting like an accidental disability is the end of someone’s life and then a sudden cure “fixes” them. I can’t say it’s wrong since I’m not personally wheelchair mobile, and maybe something I’m missing makes a difference. But I wouldn’t go in expecting or hoping for good disability rep personally. YMMV.
“Then I ran down the steps, my heart heavy with Amana’s blessing and my arms spread wide with hope–that tomorrow would spin a new dawn.”
Holy shit that ending! No joke or hyperbole when I compare it to The Bone Witch‘s. Such a twist with impeccable timing and resonance. I can just hear the drums and feel the rush thinking back on it.
I’m really excited to find out the reason behind the civil war, more about the to be empress, and what other myths turn out true next. And WTF is the emporer’s real deal.
Recommended for Fans of The Bone Witch, & Crown of Feathers.