ARC Review: Spin the Dawn

I received an advance e-book copy of Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Let me start off by saying THANK YOU! I adored this story and let me tell you why!


Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

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.

First off, the blurb at the top of the Goodreads synopsis:

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.

Totally accurate. This is definitely Project Runway meets Mulan and it is AMAZING. My favorite thing about this story is that it is not what it seems. I assumed it would just be Maia avoiding being discovered as a man during the trials, but so much more happens and it is epic!!!

One of the most interesting things in the story is the magic system that Lim builds. Most people in the world don’t have magic, but it’s revealed that magic was a more prominent aspect in people’s lives. Certain people still can possess and use magic, but it’s limited to very specific people. Lots of other stories have this type of element, but the way Lim uses this in the story is the unique part that I liked so much. She doesn’t make it the important part of a quest, but a hinderance to the people who possess it since they are used and abused. It’s sad, but it’s new.

Another thing I liked about the story was the characters. Maia herself starts off very timid and obedient then slowly evolves into someone more confident and self assured, which I love to see! Her personality grows every page and helps her become a stronger person – I love positive character growth. Then there’s Edan – my favorite character in this story. The enchanter is another person we see a large shift with over time. He goes from being a snarky, cocky person to someone who is caring, kind, and loyal. Less of a brooding bad boy and more of a reserved jerk? That’s the best way to describe it. Meanwhile, the other people we meet and most definitely not what they seem and it’s obvious there is something going on.

I thought the first half of this book was going to be the entire story, but a grander, more interesting story emerges. It’s so good! While I would love to see Maia kick butt during the competition, the whole second half of the story changes everything. It adds so much more to the growth of Maia and Edam – and the story.

Overall, I would give this a star.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.png/5 stars. There is nothing in this book that I wasn’t a fan of. The imagery is beautiful, characters are enchanting, and the storyline shoved me from my seat onto the page. It was … magical!






If this book sounds interesting, check out We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal. 




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