Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Wednesday, August 28, 2019


by Elizabeth Lim
Series: The Blood of Stars #1
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, YA
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: July 9th 2019
Source: Bought
Star Quotient: ★★★★1/2
Kiss Factor: ✷✷✷✷

What a creative and captivating tale Spin the Dawn was! I have to thank Heidi for putting this book on my radar with her very convincing review. I took my sweet time reading this book, but it was because I truly wanted to savor every word of the story. I haven't read a YA fantasy novel this enjoyable in a very long time.

This is a book that is all about its female protagonist and her journey, and it was one that was easy to get on board with because Elizabeth Lim paints a heroine who was compelling in every way. Maia, the heroine of Spin the Dawn, has to be one of my all-time favorite heroines. She is a rare heroine whose strengths lay in her emotional maturity. She has had to deal with a lot of loss at an early age with her mother's passing, then her two brothers to the war. Then, her only remaining brother returns from the war with wounded legs and with her father gravely ill, the situation looks bleak for her family. When her father, an ex-royal tailor is summoned to the Palace to tailor for the Emperor's bride-to-be, she can't let the opportunity pass by. Disguised as her brother and along with a pair of magical scissors her father gifts her, she departs on a life-altering journey that tests her strength and resilience. Upon arriving at the Summer Palace, Maia realizes that she has to compete with many other talented and superior tailors while maintaining the guise that she is her brother. Maia's character is one that will appeal to many readers. She has a kind heart, but it was the way she handled every obstacle that came her way that made her endearing. Her strengths and weaknesses made a heroine easy to root for.

At the Summer Palace, Maia becomes acquainted with the intriguing Edan, the Lord Enchanter, who with his magical abilities quickly figures out that she is in fact a girl. Though it begins with irritation, the two forge a bond that eventually develops into an achy and torturously good romance. I really enjoyed Edan's personality. He is full of snark, humor, and arrogance but not in an unappealing way - he was actually quite amusing. His incredible powers are also fascinating and the more readers get to know about his origin, the more you grow to love him. Edan and Maia's romance in Spin the Dawn is one of my favorites. It has a bit of a hate-to-love vibe, which we all know I'm a gigantic sucker for. The constant bickering, the mild annoyance of each other, and the eventual ugh-i-just-want-to-kiss-you feels are so entertaining. I just wanted to squish them together and force them to make out. I could die! My heart certainly shipped these two and I will cry and yell if anything happens to them!

Spin the Dawn's world building was equally heavenly. It can be easy to get lost in the worlds fantasy authors craft, but Lim's world was smoothly crafted. The magical systems, the history, and politics all were not only easy to comprehend, but they were engaging. All of that made the world in Spin the Dawn very picturequese and realistic to me. I could actually visualize all the bits and pieces Elizabeth Lim described. Then, there was the plot itself. It was a two-parter with the first half focusing on the competition to win the spot of the Imperial Tailor, and the second half focusing on Maia and Edan's treacherous journey to find the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of the stars, to make the three dresses the Emperor's bride-to-be demands of her. While I enjoyed both parts of the book, it was the second half that bowled me over. We are introduced to a rich mythology and we face demons and creatures as Maia battles them. It's also this part of the journey when we begin to truly comprehend just how brave and capable Maia is.

Spin the Dawn ended on a note that shattered my heart, but my body is absolutely ready to face the pain that Elizabeth Lim is going to deliver in the second book. This is truly one of the most magical and well-written books of the year for me. I don't always say this but the tagline of "Mulan meets Project Runway" is very accurate for this book, so if either of those appeals to you, pick Spin the Dawn up immediately!

What are some of your favorite most creative YA fantasy books you've read?
Let me know in the comments below!

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