Book Review

Spin the Dawn (ARC) : Book Review


Spin the Dawn

Author: Elizabeth Lim

Publication Date: July 9, 2019

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Pages: 416

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers

SYNOPSIS: 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.


Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me an advanced copy to early read and review. All opinions are my own and are not influenced by this opportunity.


My review is simply this: read this book.

Spin the Dawn is an epic tale of love and loss and a lot of magic and gorgeous clothing and so much action. I absolutely loved this book and can’t wait to have my final copy in my hands so I can proudly display it on my shelf.

Maia is the heroine I didn’t know I needed. She is not your average fantasy girl running around with a sword being the best at something she never had any training in. Maia is the best tailor in the land because she worked hard for it. She learned from her father and developed such a devoted passion for sewing and for being the best at her craft it was hard not to marvel at her. I loved watching her skills develop and seeing her become more confident in herself and her abilities as the story progressed. She had a true character development arc and it worked so incredibly well with the story.

Let’s also take a minute and talk about Edan. Oh my poor sweet boy, how I love you so. He is such a tortured soul and also the greatest cinnamon roll to ever roll. His backstory broke my heart and his demeanor makes me want to give him the warmest hug and never let go. He was another character I absolutely loved watching develop throughout the story. His development never felt forced, more just a compliment to what was happening around him.

The story itself is a god damn treasure. I have never read something quite like this. This book is dubbed as Project Runway meets Mulan and it more than delivers on that front. The sewing in this story was a delight to witness, seeing Maia work and grow as a tailor was incredible. Any fashionista would love reading this story simply for the beautiful clothing! What also took me by surprise is there is quite a bit of traveling in this story which I generally find lackluster in a Young Adult fantasy because they tend to drag and nothing ever happens until they reach the destination. That didn’t happen with this story, the journey was my favorite part! We were able to see so much of this beautifully crafted world and it captured me so intently I couldn’t put the book down! When I did have to finally close it I came back as soon as I possibly could to continue this marvelous story!

This story is absolutely for you if you like a setting that’s a little unique but still a spin on an old favorite, tons of witty banter, broody and complicated characters, and incredible world building. One of my favorite reads of the summer!

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Bookishly Brittknee

16 thoughts on “Spin the Dawn (ARC) : Book Review”

  1. I liked this more than I thought I would, but not nearly as much as you did. I had a lot of issues with the romance. I felt like Edan FELT so much older than Maia did maturity wise and I felt like the writing was tell and not show. It didn’t feel authentic to me. I’m also not a huge Mulan fan, but I LOVED the first part of the book– which I didn’t expect to, and HATED the second part– which I expected to love. When the book rested on the characters I felt like it dragged. I really didn’t like the romance, but LOVED the court scenes. So I had a lot of mixed feelings. I gave it 3.5 stars, and would still recommend it because parts of it I really enjoyed.


    1. Aw see I really loved the romance. Edan was my favorite character and I just want to give him a big hug. Everyone views romances differently though so I understand your opinions on it. I think I’m the opposite of you though because I liked the second half more than the first which honestly surprised me because I’m generally not a fan of traveling fantasy stories!

      Liked by 1 person

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