My whole life, I’d been told what I couldn’t do because I was a girl. Well, this was my chance to find out.
It’s finally here! Today is my stop for #SpinTheDawnTour that hosted by Shealea @ Shut Up, Shealea on Caffeine Book Tours! Thank you, Shealea, for selected and trusted me as one of the lucky bloggers that got to participate in this wonderful tour! I’m so excited for my stop because today, I’m going to e̶m̶o̶t̶i̶o̶n̶a̶l̶l̶y̶ share my review (well, more like a gush), some excerpts from the book (that will make you add it immediately to your own TBR), some wallpapers that I designed in honor of this debut release and of course (🥁🥁🥁) the international giveaway! So, stay tuned ’til the end of this post!
Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
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.
Title: Spin the Dawn| Author: Elizabeth Lim | Genre: Fantasy • Young Adult | Publication Date: July 9, 2019 | Format: eARC | Source: NetGalley | Read for: Goodreads Reading Challenge 2019, Year of the Asian Reading Challenge 2019 (current progress) | Links: Amazon • Book Depository (Affiliate)
[su_spoiler title=”→ Trigger Warnings!” style=”simple”]Death, death of loved ones, sexism, violence.[/su_spoiler]
Ask me to spin the finest yarn or thread, and I can do it faster than any man—even with my eyes closed. Yet ask me to tell a lie, and I will stumble and falter to think of one.
One of my immediate reaction when I finished Spin the Dawn is that it was truly a magnificent fantasy retelling, even for someone who doesn’t read as much fantasy such as myself! So, if you’re usually not a fan of fantasy tale, but you’re looking forward to expanding your reading and going out of your comfort-reading-zone, I couldn’t recommend this enough!
Spin the Dawn is a mesmerizing fantasy retelling of Mulan mixed with Project Runaway from debut author, Elizabeth Lim. Starring Maia, a young girl who born into a family of tailor and aspired to be one. Not just any regular tailor, but the best tailor in A’landi and eventually become the imperial tailor. Here’s the deal. Girls are not supposed to be tailor, just because. So, fighting this sexist tradition while also trying to save the remains of her family after the war, the day an imperial messenger came to her house to invite her unwell father to become the imperial tailor, Maia stepped in and disguised herself as her only remaining brother, Keton and her journey started.
This is where it would begin. Where I would restore the honor to my family’s name. Where I would prove that a girl could be the best tailor in A’landi.
Oh my gosh, how do I even started? I just freaking love everything about this book! Starting with the plot itself and how this book pitched, I’m always in for everything competition and quest-related, especially when it involves a badass female protagonist with a noble mission. This book divided into three main parts, the trial, the journey, and the oath. All three delivers a very different atmosphere and intensity, yet everything blends in and completed each other perfectly.
During the first part, I couldn’t help but amazed with the incredible worldbuilding, thanks to Lim’s magical hands. As I mentioned previously, fantasy is not something I usually read because I often stuck just when the story started, because I was getting overwhelmed with every little detail thrown in my face in such a short amount of time. But with Spin the Dawn, Lim really took her time to build a realistic yet magical universe. I can practically imagine everything so vividly, while also take pleasure in Lim’s enchanting proses and words. Character-wise, Maia is a strong main character that you couldn’t help but root for. Her tragic past and her pure ambition turned her into a character that won’t be so easy to forget.
Although I wish that the first part could be longer, as I found myself to enjoy the competition between Maia and the other eleven tailor master, the initial encounter between Maia and Edan, and the glimpse of interaction involving Lady Sarnai and Emperor Khanujin himself, the second part delivered more action pack to the story and it was intense. I enjoyed Maia’s journey and how her relationship with Edan started to grow stronger. My favorite thing about this part is that we got to learn how the magic works in this story, including how it works on Edan. The back and forth witty banter between these two made me swooning too hard!
“Will you be able to find your way back?” “To you, always.”
The third part is obviously the hardest to read, that lead us into the ending that made me internally scream “I need the second book right at this very second!!!”. Overall, I just had a freaking good time with this book and I couldn’t recommend it enough. The compelling and magical universe of Spin the Dawn combined with such strong characters and even stronger plots mixed with a solid #ownvoices rep, will give you a one of a kind reading experience.
About the Author
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.
[su_spoiler title=”→ Read excerpts!” style=”simple”]I had three brothers once.
Finlei was the oldest—the brave one. Nothing frightened him, not spiders or needles or a flogging from Baba’s cane. He was the quickest of us four children, fast enough to catch a fly with only his thumb and a thimble. But along with his dauntlessness came a craving for adventure. He despised having to work in our shop, having to spend the sun’s precious light sewing dresses and mending shirts. And he was careless with the needle, his fingers constantly bandaged from pricks and his work marred with uneven stitches. Stitches I would unpick and redo to save him from Baba’s lectures.
Finlei didn’t have the patience to become a tailor like Baba.
Sendo had patience, but not for sewing. My second brother was the poet in the family, and the only weaving he loved was of words, especially about the sea. He would tell stories about the beautiful garments Baba could sew, with such exquisite detail all the ladies in town clamored to buy them—only to find they didn’t exist.
As punishment, Baba made him sit on the pier behind our shop, unraveling thread from silkworm cocoons. Often I stole out to sit with him, to listen to his tales of what lay beyond that never-ending horizon of water.
“What color is the ocean?” Sendo would ask me.
“Blue, silly. What else?”
“How will you be the best tailor in A’landi if you don’t know your colors?” Sendo shook his head and pointed at the water. “Look again. Look into the depths of it.”
“Sapphire,” I said, studying the ocean’s gentle crests and troughs. The water sparkled. “Sapphire, like the stones Lady Tainak wears around her neck. But there’s a hint of green … jade green. And the foam curls up like pearls.”
Sendo smiled. “That’s better.” He wrapped an arm around my shoulders and hugged me close. “One day, we’ll sail the seas, you and I. And you’ll see the blue in all the world.”
Because of Sendo, blue was my favorite color. It painted the white of my walls when I opened my window each morning and saw the sea glittering in the sunlight. Sapphire or cerulean. Azure. Indigo. Sendo trained my eyes to see the variations in color, to appreciate the dullest brown to the brightest pink. How light could bend something into a thousand possibilities.
Sendo’s heart was for the sea, not for becoming a tailor like Baba.
Keton was my third brother, and the closest to me in age. His songs and jokes made everyone laugh, no matter what mood we were in. He always got in trouble for dyeing our silks green instead of purple, for carelessly stepping on newly pressed dresses with dirty sandals, for forgetting to water the mulberry trees, and for never spinning yarn fine enough for Baba to knit into a sweater. Money slipped through his fingers like water. But Baba loved him best—even though Keton didn’t have the discipline to become a tailor.
Then there was me—Maia. The obedient daughter. My earliest memories were of sitting contentedly with Mama as she worked the spinning wheel, listening to Finlei, Sendo, and Keton playing outside while Baba taught me to roll Mama’s thread so it wouldn’t tangle.
My heart was for becoming a tailor: I learned to thread needles before I could walk, to make a line of perfect stitches before I could talk. I loved my needlework and was happy learning Baba’s trade instead of going out with my brothers. Besides, when Finlei taught me to spar and shoot arrows, I always missed the target. Even though I soaked up Sendo’s fairy tales and ghost stories, I could never tell one of my own. And I always fell for Keton’s pranks, no matter how often my older brothers warned me of them.
Baba proudly told me I was born with a needle in one hand, a pair of scissors in the other. That if I hadn’t been born a girl, I might have become the greatest tailor in A’landi, sought after by merchants from one coast of the continent to the other.
“A tailor’s worth is not measured by his fame, but by the happiness he brings,” Mama said, seeing how disappointed Baba’s words made me. “You will hold the seams of our family together, Maia. No other tailor in the world can do that.”
I remembered beaming at her. Back then, all I wanted was for my family to be happy and whole like this— always.[/su_spoiler]
But wait… There’s More!
It’s only Day 3 of #SpinTheDawnTour, so don’t forget to check other’s fun posts! You can see the completed schedule below! There will also a fun Twitter on the last day of the tour, so make sure to join if you want to have a fun, spoiler-free discussion with the others!