Review – Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

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Title Spin the Dawn

Author Elizabeth Lim

Description from Amazon

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 enchanter, 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.

Initial Thoughts

I basically said it all in my hype post, but I’ll gladly say it again.  This book is a dream book for me.  Project Runway and Mulan — I can’t even think of two things I’d want to read about more than these.

Favorite Character

Edan — his banter with Maia was perfect and I’m really hoping to see some chapters from his POV in the next book.  I also want to know more about his back story.

Some Things I Would Have Liked to See (Because I Liked Them in the Original Stories)

  • Tim Gunn — I really wanted someone to come in and say “Designers, make it work!”  I’m ok with not getting that here, but I wanted it to happen.
  • Mulan’s crew of soldiers — I also was surprised that the whole story pretty much revolves around Maia and Edan.  I guess in a way, her brothers represented Mulan’s friends but they weren’t featured very prominently and that disappointed me a little bit.  Maybe in the next book, she’ll find some new friends to fill those rolls.

Something I was Glad to See Changed

  • I really liked that Maia took her brother’s place in the competition.  It felt more realistic than when Mulan stood in for her father.

Series Value

I loved this book and the ending.  I can’t wait to see what’s next in Maia’s story.  There are tons of unanswered questions and potential places the story can go.

Final Thoughts

I loved this book!  I can’t say that enough.  Even though it ended on a semi-cliffhanger (which I normally hate), I absolutely loved everything about this book.  It had references to some of my favorite things, had a great storyline, and witty banter between the main characters.  I couldn’t ask for more.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Recommendations for Further Reading

  • To Best the Boys by Mary Weber – if you liked the girl entering a boys competition element of this story, definitely check out To Best the Boys.  The main character enters a competition to win a scholarship to study science (in a society where girls are not permitted to).
  • Defy by Sara B. Larson – if you liked the elements of a girl disguising herself as a boy check out the Defy series.
  • The Traitor’s Kiss by Erin Beaty – this is another story that has a ton of Mulan vibes.  Give this series a try if you liked the Mulan element of Spin the Dawn.

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