Series: The Blood of Stars #1
Published by Knopf on July 9th 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
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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 received this book from the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review and forms part of the ‘Spin the Tour’ blog tour hosted by The Fantastic Flying Book Club.
Spin the Dawn caught me by surprise. It’s Mulan meets Project Runway which meant two things: excitement over what essentially is a Mulan retelling and a loss of that excitement when I realised the central theme would be clothing. If there is ever a ‘type’ of Young Adult book I avoid like the plague, it’s the ones where clothing becomes a core part of the storyline. But like I said, Spin the Dawn caught me by surprise. This book was so much more than clothes. It was a book about magic, love, family, quests, freedom, compassion.
In this sweeping fantasy, Maia Tamarin has a dream of becoming the Imperial Taylor of A’landi but her gender works against her. The Imperial Taylor must be a man. In the aftermath of war, Maia’s father, a renowned tailor in his own right, is summoned by the royal court to compete for the title of Imperial Taylor and clothe the Emporer’s new bride. Sick and decrepit, Maia’s father is unable to make the journey leaving one solution: Maia decides to pose as her brother to protect her father, save the Tamarin name and save her family from poverty.
What starts as a Mulan retelling quickly becomes something more, something other. Mulan’s world is reimagined into something completely new in this brilliantly vibrant and well executed world woven expertly throughout the narrative. You can feel the magic being brought to life on the page.
Readers will fall in love with a certain enchanter, and his mysterious and sassy ways. He was definitely the highlight of this book and made things a lot more interesting. I’m intrigued to see how his story-arc pans out in the next book… (just please don’t kill him).
All-in-all, it was a fun and fast-paced read and the romance will leave you a puddle of emotion. If you love Renée Ahdieh, then you’ll love this!
About the Author
Elizabeth Lim grew up on a hearty staple of fairy tales, myths, and songs. Her passion for storytelling began around age 10, when she started writing fanfics for Sailor Moon, Sweet Valley, and Star Wars, and posted them online to discover, “Wow, people actually read my stuff. And that’s kinda cool!” But after one of her teachers told her she had “too much voice” in her essays, Elizabeth took a break from creative writing to focus on not flunking English.
Over the years, Elizabeth became a film and video game composer, and even went so far as to get a doctorate in music composition. But she always missed writing, and turned to penning stories when she needed a breather from grad school. One day, she decided to write and finish a novel — for kicks, at first, then things became serious — and she hasn’t looked back since.
Elizabeth loves classic film scores, books with a good romance, food (she currently has a soft spot for arepas and Ethiopian food), the color turquoise, overcast skies, English muffins, cycling, and baking. She lives in New York City with her husband.
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