Monday, April 20, 2020

Review: SPIN THE DAWN by Elizabeth Lim

Rating: 4/5 stars

The gorgeous cover is what first drew me in, like everyone else, to this book, but the premise also caught my attention. It was pitched to me as Mulan meets Project Runway. Now I don’t know anything about Project Runway except that it’s about fashion, but I’d say that’s an accurate comparison.

Maia Tamarin is the daughter of a master tailor, and as such, she has learned the craft herself. When her Baba is invited to the Summer Palace for a chance at becoming the new Imperial Tailor, Maia knows if he or one of his sons don’t go, their family will be shunned and their already suffering shop will lose all hope of surviving. So Maia has a plan: her Baba is too old and sick to go and her brother can’t sew, so she will impersonate her brother Keton and go to the palace in his place. This is where the Mulan references come in, and I’m a huge fan of Mulan so I was excited to see the similarities.

Spin the Dawn is divided into two parts. The first half of the book is the competition for the Imperial Tailor, and the second half of the book is a quest. Maia is tasked with crafting three dresses: one from the laughter of the sun, one from the tears of the moon, and one from the blood of stars. She has to journey across the land to find the materials to make these dresses.

I loved this book a lot—the premise, the execution, the characters, all of it was amazing.

I love that Maia was accompanied by the high enchanter, Edan, and that they developed a friendship and then a relationship throughout the book. Although, I will say that the relationship became the forefront of the plot by the end of the book compared to the beginning and the middle of the story when the competition and then the quest were the main plot. I don’t have an issue with a plot that becomes all about the romance, but it did seem to fall into some overused YA tropes that I’ve seen, so that was a little disappointing. Overall not a complaint though; I did like Edan a lot and I’m very curious to see what’s going to happen in the next book after the ending of this one.

I also love the magic in this book, particularly Maia’s magic scissors that can cut and even embroider any fabric and create grand designs. I think it would be so cool to have scissors like that! Basically all the magicial portions of this book made me so happy. And the idea of making dresses out of pieces of celestial objects is a really cool idea that I personally haven’t seen before.

Overall, I really enjoyed Spin the Dawn and can’t wait for Unravel the Dusk to come out later this year. This series has a fun premise, great characters, and unique magic. Definitely a standout book for me.

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