ARC Review: Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

SpintheDawnSpin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Published by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers on July 9, 2019

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy

Pages: 416 Format: eARC Source: NG

4.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

I acquired this ARC from the publisher through NetGalley. This does not impact my thoughts and opinions in any way.

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.


Elizabeth Lim’s Spin the Dawn had me intrigued from the moment it used Project Runway as a comp title and let’s just say this book totally holds up on that end. With a competition to be imperial tailor to a challenge to create legendary dresses, this novel has all the sewing and imagination that I wish I had when it comes to creating clothing. The author’s attention to detail in this as well as every other aspect of the book puts it a cut above the rest.

This is most apparent when it comes to characters as Lim breathes life into Maia, Edan, and the rest. To Maia, family is everything and when the opportunity to provide for them comes along she does everything in her power to pursue. She’s skilled beyond measure in tailoring and the pressure of performing while also hiding that she’s a woman weighs on her greatly.  I enjoyed how Edan wove into the story; first as the court magician, then the slowly blossoming friendship to something much more. They complimented each other super well.

Overall Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim was a beautiful piece of storytelling with wonderfully crafted characters. Maia’s journey, first to the emperor’s palace and then to find magical elements, is one fraught with peril and growth where the reader not only gets to know her but Edan as well. What stands out the most though is the exceptional writing that evokes such majesty and the fairytales of old. I absolutely recommend picking this one up!

Are you excited for Spin the Dawn? Enjoy unique fantasy stories?

Let me know in the comments below!

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