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July 8, 2019

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim ~ a Review

by MK French

Maia Tamarin can sew better than any of her three elder brothers, but she lives in a world where the most she can hope for is to marry well. Though her family is currently in reduced circumstances, a royal courtier demands that her father present himself at court for a competition to be the next royal tailor. She was the one to keep the family shop afloat for years, so she cut her hair and dressed as her ailing brother. Her dreams are to become the Master Tailor for the court to elevate her family's honor and prove she has the skill it takes to do the job. This is only the beginning of a journey fraught with magic and court intrigue.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

SPing the Dawn
July 9; Knopf; 978-0525646990
audio, ebook, print (416 pages); fantasy
As the beginning of a series, there is a lot of world building based on Chinese culture here. It doesn't feel forced at all and unfolds naturally as Maia describes her early life with her family before the war came that claimed the lives of her two eldest brothers and maimed her third brother. There is such love and hope in her, as well as pride in her skill to sew, weave, knit, spin, and dye the threads in the colors she needs, as well as painting and designing. The first section of the book is the part that the official summary describes as being like Project Runway. Twelve tailors from across the empire have to compete for the honor of being the royal tailor, and there is backstabbing and intrigue from the start. In addition, the court magician Edon sees through Maia's disguise.

The second part of the novel is the journey to obtain the necessary materials in order to create the three dresses from myth for Maia's final challenge: one from the sun's laughter, one from the tears of the moon, and one from the blood of the stars. There is a fragment of truth to the old tales of myth, as well as necessary magic to even get those items. Edon and Maia grow closer, as most readers would expect from the start, but the path to love is as complicated as Maia's to become the royal tailor. Magic and legends are real here, and I can't wait to see how the rest of the series goes.

Buy Spin the Dawn at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and golden retriever. 

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  1. This book popped up on my feed last week. It looks really interesting.

    Book Confessions of an ExBallerina

  2. It's such a fascinating read, I devoured this book and wished there was more of it!