Hello everyone! Welcome to the 5th day of the Spin the Dawn blog tour! I’m so excited to be a part of this! In my post, I will be sharing my review on the book, a short discussion feature, and some of my calligraphy for quotes from the book. First, here is some information on Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim.
Title: Spin the Dawn Author: Elizabeth Lim Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers Publication date: 09 July 2019 Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
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.
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.
Prize: Three (3) finished copies of Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim (3 winners)
And lastly, please join us in the #CBTTC Twitter chat hosted by @CaffeineTours on July 7. There will also be a giveaway for the Twitter chat participants with 2 copies, US only.
- 9:00 AM Eastern Standard Time (EST)
- 9:00 PM Philippine Time
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5 stars)
Maia Tamarin is a tailor and takes the opportunity to serve the emperor, but she must pose as a boy to compete for this position. Doing so, she catches the attention of Edan, the court magician, and things further complicate when she is to make three dresses from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars.
First off, Maia is such a great protagonist, and her character arc is a developed and interesting one—she changes so much throughout the novel. I definitely love that she’s a tailor (an artist!) which is something I haven’t seen in any YA fantasy book. However, Lady Sarnai is probably the most interesting character in this book. Although we don’t get to see her much, she’s complex, very real, and mysterious.
Maia and Edan’s relationship is refreshing to see—they care for each other and have entertaining banter. Edan is not like a lot of other stereotypical love interests, Maia doesn’t describe him as handsome every few seconds, and they work well together. Edan accompanies Maia on her journey, but it’s also recognized that she must do the difficult parts on her own. However, I am pretty picky with romance subplots, so I didn’t fully enjoy it because it went from “we’re not friends” to “I love you” pretty quickly.
The setting is refreshing and unique, although I would like to have seen more worldbuilding with things such as customs. The plot is also a strong point. It’s slow in the beginning, but I still can’t say that the plot is bad. The author literally had me wondering what is going on—the writing captures you into the plot and characters.
Overall, Spin the Dawn is a solid read, and I would highly recommend it.
ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
The Importance of Unique Elements in Books:
I am a pretty big advocate for uniqueness in books, and especially since I read YA fiction, I love to see books that don’t follow the typical tropes and are actually different from the other popular books. This repetitiveness just makes some novels boring and not worth the read.
However, one of the ways Spin the Dawn challenges this is Maia’s occupation—a tailor. I have read so many other YA fantasy novels where the main character is some sort of “chosen one,” an assassin/warrior, or someone of royal blood. I think sometimes, it’s great to have a break from all the physical fighting, even though it is very entertaining. I have yet to read about fantasy musicians, cooks, scientists, or the like.
Another element is the setting. Oh man, I have seen so many books set in medieval Europe or something similar, with characters that have the same way of life when it comes to culture. Although I don’t think I’ve read enough diverse books in my life so far, I appreciate being able to see myself in what I read, with familiar elements of setting and culture, especially in Spin the Dawn.
For both of these quotes, I used Procreate for the background. For the text, I wrote it by hand and imported it to my computer, then photoshopped it on top of the background. The “~ Elizabeth Lim | Spin the Dawn” is a font.
“Day after day and night after night, she spin the dawn and unraveled the dusk.”
“I dread reaching the end of my story, for it is full of knots that I haven’t had the courage to cut free.”
Thanks for reading! Make sure to stop by these wonderful blogs for the rest of the blog tour!