Review – Spin the Dawn

Spin the Dawn book cover


Spin the Dawn


The Blood of Stars #1


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.


3.5stars rating

Well, I really do have to say this was a pleasant surprise! 😀
As this was the first book I’ve read by Elizabeth Lim, she is now on my list of authors I’m following.


Set in a fantasy world steeped with magic and Azian vibes, I could just forget all my worries and fully immerse myself in the story thanks to clear and detailed writing. I got information about the world gradually, so there wasn’t any information dump, and it helped that Maia was sometimes as clueless as I was 🙂

Character development:

Maia Tamarin, daughter of a renowned tailor has pretty much run their shop for years. Unfortunately, she lives in a world where women can only hope to get a good marriage, but never to amount to something like… a tailor with her own shop. We walk alongside her as she goes to the imperial court, as she battles the other master tailors for the position of imperial tailor and as she goes on her adventure to find the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of the stars.
She grows so much during her journey, yet for some parts stays maybe a bit too naive. She is a heroine you cannot root for, as she is the underdog in a court that would pretty much eat her alive. But still, you hope (and get a tad emotionally invested) that she succeeds.
Edan, the man I think we all want to meet (or at least I do!). An enchanter who has noticed our Maia and who finds her intriguing and a worthy cause to help. When he accompanies her on her journey he will find a whole other side of himself, the question is… is that a good thing? (of course, it is!!)
All other characters were well fleshed out and were real and believable. I think Ammi brought a sense of normality with her that was much needed and appreciated.

Pacing & Flow:

The book starts off nice and slow, we get to know the characters and the lay of the land. As soon as the second part starts though, a lot more action and suspense is added. It didn’t feel boring or too rushed, though… I really do think that each part could have been fleshed out a bit more (maybe even made into separate books as each part had more than enough to tell). I read the book over several days, enjoying my time reading but not like ‘omg I neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed to know what comes next’ 🙂

The book itself:

The book was well written with no (noticeable) errors. There is no sex described (if that is important to you).
The book is 392 pages long, spread over 37 chapters and written from Maia’s point of view.

Final Thoughts:

I started this book not really knowing what I was getting in to even after reading the sample chapters.
The blurb stated it was a mix of Project Runway meets Mulan, but I got a lot of Aladin vibes instead.
The first part had me all over the moon and smiling the sweet smile of someone watching young love. The second had me curious and clutching my Kindle and the last… well I’m not spoiling that for you 😉