Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Title: Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars #1)
Author: Elizabeth Lim
Publisher: Knopf
Release Date: July 9th 2019
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

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 loved Spin the Dawn. I thought the story was engaging and I’m all about an adventure with a strong Fairytale vibe.

So I know the description pairs it as Project Runway Mulan but I thought it took a lot of pieces from many different Fairy Tales. Yes it’s a girl who is disguising herself in order to bring honor to her family, when her father can not but I felt the story really held its own. I wouldn’t call it a retelling at all.

I loved the competition of the Tailors because that always brings its own court drama and intrigue. Of course you never know who to trust. Trust No One but I am also happy to see that some of the other tailors were indeed honorable. As much as I did enjoy the challenges my favorite part of the story is the final challenge.

There is a fairytale by Charles Perrault called Donkey Skin and in the story the girl has three dresses. One of the Sun, one of the Moon and one of the Sky. When I was a girl, i desperately wanted the dresses. I loved the entire idea of them. What I love so much about Spin the Dawn is that not only does it have similar dresses but it also includes the journey to make the dresses. I will always love a book with journey to achieve tasks. I’m not sure why but maybe it’s the Fairytale lover in me. Especially when it helps relationships grow stronger like that of Maia and Edan.

I think we see a lot of Maia’s strength and love of her family in the first part of the story. I think when she embarks on her journey though is when she truly shines. She wants to prove that a woman can be the imperial tailor that her skill is not based on gender and maybe catch some glory. Her heart is great and I love how she grows as a character and sees how to find real happiness in protecting those she loves.

I also really liked Edan’s character as well. Plus his affection for Maia is so sweet and only gets better as they grow closer. Ah I loved reading the parts where they interact.

I actually really like Lady Sarnai as well because she is also having to struggle with a role she was born to. She just wants a chance to show herself the same way Maia does. That doesn’t mean she needs to be cruel but at least you can see where her anger comes from.

So that ending. I have to say that if the story ended at where it ended and there was no more books. I would be happy with it, that sounds weird and not super happy. Just that sometimes decisions lead us to not a perfect ending but we don't regret the decisions....I guess. I’m also very happy that this is book one of The Blood and the Stars series.

This is also one of those books where after you read, you look at the cover and think. Ohhh yes yes! I see now!

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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About Jen

I love books, tea/coffee(by the gallon) and sour candy. I wear my nerd badge with pride and have two children ages 5 and 3 that keep me on my toes.
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