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Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

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.


Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim Was fantastic. This was definitely one of the best books that I have read this year. It had a bit of a Mulan vibe to me in the sense that the daughter has to pretend to be a boy to bring honor to her family and to save her father. That is where the comparison ends.

I didn’t know I needed this book until I read it. Spin the Dawn follows Maia. Maia, is the daughter of a tailor. She has picked up her father’s trade and does most of the work for their small business. Her three brothers were sent to fight in a war. When the war was over, only one brother returned home alive. Her one surviving brother is now a cripple. When a palace representative comes knocking at the door requesting Maia’s father to go to the palace or one of his eligible son’s. Maia takes matter in her own hands and goes to the palace as a boy. Upon leaving, her father gives her a pair of scissors that were from her grandmother. He tells her that they never worked for hi but maybe they would work for her someday.

Once at the palace, Maia discovers that this is a competition on who is the best tailor to win the job in the palace. Then people start getting sabotaged including Maia. Maia is trying to keep her identity a complete secret. It seems like at any moment she will be caught. One night Maia picks up her grandmother’s scissors and accidentally discovers that they are magic. For the rest of the competition, Maia tries super hard not to use these magic scissors of hers because she wants to win fair and square even though everyone else is also using bits of magic.

The second half of this books is completely different than the first half because Maia goes on a very dangerous adventure. I have to say that I wasn’t expecting this as much. I really enjoyed the change of pace and what Maia had to do to accomplish her tasks. I feel like I have already said too much. Spin the Dawn. I loved the characters, the setting, and the plot. I think Lim did an amazing job with this book and she is one amazing writer. She is able to draw you in so fast and care about Maia. She is able to make the reader feel sympathy for her and to route for her. The last thing I wanted was for Maia to fail. This book kept me on the edge of my seat. I also really enjoyed the love interest. I am anxious to find out or learn more. It is going to kill me to wait for book two. Definitely pick up Spin the Dawn because I think this is what every fantasy reader is missing on their self.

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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