I was provided with an eARC of Spin the Dawn, courtesy of NetGalley, in exchange for a fair review. Spin the Dawn is written by author Elizabeth Lim and is her second novel.
There is a lot of buzz about this book in the Bookish World, and so I was super excited to get access to an eARC for review! The description totes this as “Project Runway meets Mulan” and I am allll about that! But this really doesn’t begin to describe the awesomeness of this story, so go into this expecting so much more! I’ll explain further below with as few spoilers as possible – since the book hasn’t released yet! But first, let’s get a summary!
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.
This synopsis is courtesy of Goodreads!
It’s really only the first third of the book that focuses on the Project Runway/Mulan bit, with a dash of almost Rumpelstiltskin. I started off feeling like things were moving WAY too fast. If this book was about a competition to be the Imperial Tailor, why were we down to only two competitors only a few chapters in? And that’s when things got all sort of awesome!
After the competition, Maia is commanded with an impossible task thanks to the total b*&%$ that is the Emperor’s betrothed. From then on, the rest of the book pulls in strong Aladdin vibes, with a little Swan Princess, and some dashes of other fairy tales!! Maia is an awesome MC and I loved her. She’s extremely talented and will do anything she can to help her family. She’s rather outspoken, which doesn’t hurt her boy disguise at all, and doesn’t back down. HOWEVER, as awesome as Maia is, the real star of the show for me was Edan.
Edan is the Emperor’s Enchanter and has such a rich backstory that we slowly get to learn as he and Maia become closer. He gives me some SERIOUS Numair and Farmer (from Tamora Pierce’s Tortall books) vibes, and that made me love him even more! I can’t say too much without spoilers, but know that he is awesome and there’s no possible way not to adore him. I am on-board the Maia/Edan ship and ready to set sail.
All in all, this story is filled with twists and turns, impossible tasks, trying quests, plenty of magic, and a little bit of romance to round things out. I could not put it down and finished the entire book in a single day! I cannot wait to have a final copy in my hands and have no doubt one (or more) of the big subscription boxes will feature it (Anissa from FairyLoot has already left a glowing review). Add this to your “Want to Read” lists and be prepared to fall in love!
Spin the Dawn releases on July 9, 2019. You can pre-order a copy here!