I want you to know that some journeys have ends, but not this one. This one will change you. Irrevocably.
Title: Spin the Dawn
Series: The Blood of Stars #1
Author: Elizabeth Lim
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Length: 400 pages
Rating: 5/5 ★★★★★
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.
I loved this book, it’s even one of the few I read in just two days because I couldn’t put it down.
The world is set nalong fantasy-silk-road, where our main character learns the tailoring trade from her family. She is head-strong and loyal to her family, as the only daughter, she gets the task of taking care of all the males in her family but this doesn’t mean staying home cooking and cleaning. Maia takes care of the family business channeling all her heart into the clothes she makes, and when that’s not enough she goes out and tries harder.
When her father gets called to tailor for the emperor and is unable to go Maia knows that she could be a thousand time better than anyone else, she never doubts herself and that’s a great thing to see. Her whole journey is about trusting in your own abilities and getting even further than you thought. Sometimes, this means trusting others as well and learning to see past the front everyone puts up
Maia is a queen and she should totally kill the emperor and run away with her family and hot boyfriend. Her loyalty is a trait that defines her character even when her motivations aren’t perfectly selfless, she comes off as relatable because of how human and complex she is.
I love him and he deserves everything good. Sure, he’s shady at the beginning but I can see how he’d grow detached after so many decades serving cruel people. Still, he respects Maia completely, he even says that if Maia doesn’t want him he’ll back off and never talk about his feelings again (hey there, Mr Darcy). We even see him lose his powers to live a life with Maia and he doesn’t regret it for a second.
bitch-ass cry baby I didn’t like him, he is a great character and because he’s so well written I hate his guts.
Sanara was a complicated character for me, on one hand she had to get married against her will to someone she doesn’t like. On the other she decides to torture some poor tailors just to delay the inevitable… I want to see more of her in the next books and maybe get to know her a bit better
Female friendships are the best thing (even if one of them thinks the other is a guy). I loved Ammi because she was kind and just wanted to help.
The romance was well paced, we don’t get instalove and you can see them falling in love little by little as they interact. Even though Edan is a little shit when they first meet, he is never disrespectful towards Maia or mean to her. We so often see “dark and broody” as a straight up bully that this is like a breath of fresh air.
Maia’s family never once told her she couldn’t do what she wanted, in fact, they encouraged her to follow her dreams even when society wouldn’t allow her. Maia’s dad even tells her that the gods want her to become a tailor, that’s why they made her a woman so she could avoid the war.
The final task was magical and exciting but I also really enjoyed the first challenges, we could clearly see Maia’s talent and creativity shine through and just imagining the descriptions made me sit down with thread and needle to try them.
“A tailor’s worth is not measured by his fame, but by the happiness he brings,” Mama said
All legends have a spark of truth. Sometimes more than a spark.
It was a tale still being written.