Spin the Dawn

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 16 Jul 2019

Member Reviews

I heard that it was pitched as a Mulan retelling, but that's really only because Maia disguises herself as a boy to enter the trial. I felt like it had perfect world building but still stayed really easy to read and accessible. The first half of the story was faster than I wanted since I wanted to see more of the competition. I was glad to see that the second half was a journey and the growth to see the relationship between Maia and Edan.
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Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim is an enchanting YA fantasy novel that is beautifully written with a great plot and a strong main heroine.
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Spin the Dawn follows Maia, a girl who dreams of being a tailor in a world where girls aren’t allowed to hold professional positions. This novel is fine. Honestly I find these reviews the most difficult to write because there’s nothing particularly memorable that makes me excited, nor is there anything particularly awful that makes me frustrated. I enjoyed reading it well enough but it didn’t leave much of an impression.

Let’s start with the character of Maia. To be honest she’s a bit of a blank slate. Yes she’s the one girl willing to fight back against the patriarchy, but I think she perfectly encompasses why I’ve often felt so unenthusiastic about these type of plots. It’s not progressive or revolutionary to declare “women should be allowed to have jobs” and it’s not a type of discrimination that most anyone in a first world country can relate to. Now I love Mulan as much as the next person – it’s one of my all-time favourite animated movies – but what made her so relatable was that she didn’t join the army to prove women can fight, she did it to save her father. While Maia does want to protect her family to an extent, it’s definitely more about proving her abilities as a tailor. That’s fine but it’s not as relatable or emotionally charged.

One thing that did pique my interest was the concept of Maia being a tailor, which seemed like a unique premise. Now I know why. As much as I adore novels there are some things that just don’t translate well in a written format. You usually don’t read novels where the protagonist is focused on developing their singing voice because as much as you describe lilting high notes and an angelic vocal tone, it’s not going to have the same impact as listening to an incredible singer. Similarly, trying to describe Maia’s incredible sewing skills just doesn’t have much of an impact on the reader, especially if you don’t have much experience in fashion. Whenever she talked about a dress with layers all I could imagine was an incredibly puffy monstrosity - obviously not the image the writer is going for. A beautiful dress is really something that needs to be seen to have the desired impact.  

While the world-building in this novel is pretty minimal overall, I didn’t have a problem with it. Not every novel needs to incorporate a vast world with a multitude of lands and cultures. Since this novel remains a personal journey for our main character, I felt the level of world-building was tonally consistent with the type of story the author was trying to tell. I critique a lack of world-building when the author tries to write in large-scale events such as wars without adequately developing the setting of the novel, but that wasn’t really the case here.

Now I said that the world-building is tonally consistent, but otherwise this book has a huge tone problem in my opinion. This novel is basically split into two sections: the first part follows Maia at court as she competes to become the imperial tailor, the second part encompasses her journey to find three special ingredients that she needs to sew three magical gowns. The writing in the first part of this novel didn’t frustrate me so much as it confused me. I believe the protagonist is around 18 years old, however the first part read like a middle-grade novel. The heavy-handed foreshadowing is not the type of writing I would expect in an older teen novel. For example, before Maia leaves home her father gifts her a pair of scissors.

“I was about to rifle through my things for my brushes when the bundle with Baba’s scissors caught my eye. Out of curiosity I unwrapped it …… aside from the sun and moon engraved on the shanks, there was nothing special about them. Besides, I didn’t need an extra pair of scissors, so I rewrapped them and shoved them under my cot.”

How much do you want to bet there’s something special about them? Honestly until the last quarter of this book I don’t think anything will take you by surprise because of very obvious hints such as the above. You’ll easily guess the “secrets” about the emperor and the court magician Edan. You’ll also probably guess some of the events of the novel from the melodramatic opening chapter – I really don’t know why that was included. Furthermore, the “backstabbing and lies” at court are not that complex and are again predictable. It wouldn’t be a problem if this was a novel for younger readers, and I genuinely feel that with some reworking this book could have been quite a strong pre-teen novel, instead of the average teen novel that it is now. I’m thinking a Gail Carson Levine meets Neil Gaiman adventure. 

The second half of the novel brings in more mature themes which is where the big tonal problem comes in.  The events that occur closer to the end of her journey are definitely YA level content, which really clashes with the juvenile tone of the first half. I did enjoy the events in this half but in all honesty the demons/spirits just felt like a mediocre version of Sabriel by Garth Nix. The author should have reworked one half of the book so that the level of writing and content is consistent.

At the end of the day, if you are intrigued by the premise of this book I think you will be fairly satisfied but it’s not particularly memorable. I will say I liked the darker tone of the cliff-hanger so I might tune in for the sequel. It seems like it is setting up an interesting adventure.
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*scheduled for March 28th, will update with links at that time



❝ "Seize the wind," I whispered. "Don't become the kite that never flies." ❞

I know it's very early in the year, but I can easily say that I see Spin the Dawn being in my top 10 reads of 2020. This young adult fantasy retelling inspired by Mulan is magical, has well-developed characters, great romance, and a great plot!

Maia's family has been ripped apart by the war and her only hope of saving what's left of it is to restore her family's reputation as one of the best tailors. And, she could finally achieve her dream of becoming the imperial tailor to the emperor if she's not outed as being a girl before the competition is over.

The premise of the story definitely pulled me in right away. I love retellings and Mulan, and as far as retellings go this is one of the more creative ones. I loved the reimagining of Maia (Mulan) as a tailor and how the magic scissors (and magic in general) were woven into the story.

❝ "You are my oath now, Maia Tamarin. And you'll never be free of me." ❞

I loved the idea of the competition, and was really looking forward to the different challenges! Sadly, compared to everything else, the competition was really short-lived. I wanted there to be more so I was a little disappointed that we didn't get as much time in the palace as I expected; however, the story really made up for it!

The story pleasantly surprised me with a twist of having Maia and Edan hunt down the components to create the three legendary dresses. The journey was so much fun and was where we really saw the character development. I love the way Maia and Edan's relationship developed. Their alliance developed naturally and slowly. I liked how protective Edan was and how he never stopped believing Maia was capable of great things. I also totally loved the romance angle because it was sweet and didn't overpower the story.

The story was full of magic and adventure and I loved every page of it. As for the pacing, it was pretty steady. I never felt like it really slowed down. And the ending was such a huge twist! It made me all the more excited for the next book.

All in all, Spin the Dawn blew me away with its stunning writing and creative storytelling. I highly recommend it, and can't wait to start Unravel the Dusk!
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I really enjoyed this book! I loved the Mulan and Project Runway aspect of this book! And I liked the completion aspect of it. I thought it was fun. I did wish she had dragged out the competition portion a bit more but overall it was fun! I cannot wait to check out the second novel! This one left me wanting more! I want more of that romance! Gah! It was beautiful lol
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I tried to get into this, I really did. It just did not hit that hard for me. I did not see any "Mulan" character traits in the main character. It didn't seem at all what the premise was, I think of it more like the old children story The Emperor's New Clothes. I think this really lacked the "culture" aspect that I expected it to have. I can't speak for those of Asian ancestry, but I wouldn't be particularly thrilled with the attempt on this book.
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Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim just floated to the top of my favorites list.

A…MA…ZING!!

24

Did you ever watch that TV show on Fox?

My wife hates it. But it was my favorite show back in the early 2000s.

There’s never been another show that’s had quite the effect on me that 24 did. I discovered the show when the series was on Season 4 or 5.

So, naturally, I picked up the DVDs of the previous seasons at my local Rental Store (Yes, those existed back then) to catch up.

24 was so addicting I found myself staying awake until 2 or 3 AM to watch “just one more episode.” I had to get up at 6 AM, but by gosh if I wasn’t determined to watch another one.

That’s Spin the Dawn for me.

It normally takes me about 5 days to read a book on average. I read Spin the Dawn in under 36 hours.

So what about Spin the Dawn was so addicting that I couldn’t put it down?

The book starts off unassuming enough.

I knew nothing about Spin the Dawn going in aside that it was a Mulan retelling.

The story begins with Maia Tamarin, a lowly tailor’s daughter in a male-dominated society. Her three brothers go off to war, two are killed, and a the third is gravely injured. This sends her Baba (father) into a spiral of grief that thrusts the family business onto Maia.

But there’s one problem.

Women are not allowed to run a business.

So she silently operates in the background claiming the work was completed by her father. Which works for a time until her father gets a summons to become the next Imperial Tailor for the Emperor himself.

Her father is in no condition to go and to deny the summons would bring great shame upon the family. They’ll accept any male from the house, though.

So Maia goes and pretends to be her brother.

Are you seeing the Mulan yet?

It’s so much more than Mulan, though. I think Spin the Dawn is a mash-up of TWO retellings, but to reveal the second story would spoil the plot. I will just say it involves a certain gold bracelet.

That’s going to have to be enough for you.

Maia thinks she’s already been selected as the imperial tailor until she arrives at the palace and discovers 11 of tailors that have also been chosen.

So what happens?

They have to duke it out in a competition to see who is truly the best tailor in all the realm.

I love competition subplots.

As soon as I reached this part of the book, somewhere around Chapter 3 or 4, I instantly fell in love.

What follows is a flurry of deception, intrigue, scheming, magic, and so much more.

I wish I could go more in-depth into what awaits you if you read Spin the Dawn, but to say any more would be spoiling the story.

Yes, Spin the Dawn has a competition subplot, but it’s so much much more than that.

There is romance in Spin the Dawn. And the introduction of the characters involved does happen very early on. But the romance subplot itself does not being to show fruition until around the 60% mark.

It might start earlier and I’m just too dumb to have noticed, but that’s when it started to take off for me.

How this story ends and what happens is so absolutely driven by the romance of the story that you must pay attention to it.

There is no way whatsoever that you could predict the way this story would go from the first 25% of the book.

If you love books that keep you guessing around every turn, Spin the Dawn is for you.

If you love competitions, Spin the Dawn is for you.

Love romance? Spin the Dawn is for you.

But I think what is most fascinating to me about Spin the Dawn is the way the author takes a simple profession like sewing, and makes it an exciting and exhilarating story.

Spin the Dawn gets a very strong 5/5 stars from me and will easily sit at the top of my favorite reads of 2020.
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Spin the Dawn was pitched as Mulan meets Project Runway and if that doesn't have you immediately interested, then I don't know what will. I had so much fun reading this and I was hooked from the first page. Elizabeth Lim is an amazing author that will have you turning the pages rapidly to find out what happens next! I'm so excited for the sequel and it cannot get here fast enough!
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Aside from being a page turner with just the right amount of romance, culture and action, Spin the Dawn is also a story that evolves from one part to another. This book isn't simply a story about a girl going through challenges to reach a goal, it's about a girl going through challenges to reach multiple goals and I am greatly appreciative of how this story has been executed. The writing is convincing and I could easily imagine myself in Maia's shoes. I really liked the ending of the earlier version of the ARC I read. Sure, it was a little too neat—too 'happily ever after' despite other parts, but I think that it was deserved. Though, I'm not saying that I don't like the ending in the finalized version of the ARC. I find it more realistic and it had a stronger impact on me compared to the previous version.

Also, I find the visual imagery Lim has woven into this tale gorgeous. However, despite the convincing and beautiful writing, I find the world building a little poor. I got so confused imagining the world even with the help of the illustrated map because my initial (and continued) impression of A'landi, the country Maia resides in, is that it's a fictional version/variation of China despite it's not Chinese-sounding name. Which means I pictured the large majority of society to be of Chinese descent—that the culture and religion and everything else to be Chinese in any way and degree. Instead, A'landi through the eyes of Maia appears to be teetering between a melting pot of sorts and a fictional Chinese land.

Now, I'm not saying that this notion of it being a melting pot isn't great. It allows the book to be of greater diversity and it has the potential to provide many various layers of complexity into a story (such as conflicting religious views, conflicting cultural upbringings and more). As a Malaysian Chinese, I can actually picture how A'landi as a melting pot would look like, and how characters whose physical appearances are not or only minimally described, would look like from their name. Unfortunately, names here are confusing, making it difficult for me to have a concrete image of the Spin the Dawn world.

Before I continue, please understand that this opinion is coming from someone who didn't read the entirety of the book synopsis before getting a copy (the first paragraph was already enough to convince me!). This means that I wasn't aware of Maia's name, much less her full name. You see, I believe names in stories identify specific individuals and things, and they are inextricably linked to their identities. A name can make or break something, especially when little to no other description is given regarding that something.

So, when you combine that lack of knowing plus the fact that I've already pictured A'landi as a fictional Chinese land. That before I've even read the book, I've already pictured Maia as Chinese because the blurb mentions Mulan and the cover art shows a pale Asian. This resulted in my confusion when I learnt of the names. According to the internet, Maia is of Hebrew origin. Her last name 'Tamarin' is also of Hebrew origin whereas the names of her brothers (Finlei [Gaelic], Keton [Canadian], and Sendo [Japanese, American, Scottish or English]) are of other origins. They don't sound or feel like they belong beside 'baba' and 'mama' which I read in Mandarin, and they do conflict a little with the "feeling" I get from Chinese culture. Moreover, it's gets all the more confusing when you consider the names of other A'landi locals such as Emperor Khanujin and Calu, Lady Sarnai and the shansen.

This conflict aside, I find myself in love with a lot of aspects in this book—like how it's more Mulan than Project Runaway, and how I can relate so well with Maia because of cultural similarities. She's not a weak, damsel in distress waiting to be saved by others, though she's not afraid to need help as well. She gets stronger as the story progresses, and I enjoy seeing her character develop. Besides that, I caught many allusions, references and more to other legends, myths and fairy tales and figuring out which was which made reading this book all the more fun.

In some ways, Spin the Dawn is the kind of fairy tale-like story I wish I read about while growing up. Not because Maia is a hundred percent the kind of person I'd like my younger self to grow up becoming like (she's great, don't get me wrong!), but because my younger self and perhaps others like me, desperately needed to see that being Asian—that being all that I am, is not 'lame'. That although we don't often see ourselves represented in Hollywood, every inch of us is just as beautiful and desired and we don't need to lose any part of our identity just to be 'better' or more 'accepted'.
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Overall, the plot and themes of this book were really good. I love a good fairy tale, and Spin the Dawn had all the elements necessary for a successful one. It had a strong, determined main character you could unfailingly root for, a hostile environment or competition which she has to overcome, and help from a pair of magical scissors. From the competition to become Imperial Tailor, the story moves on to Maia overcoming the trials of her last challenge, which is to weave the three dresses from a famous legend about a goddess.

One of the things I loved the most about Spin the Dawn is how it addresses the theme of women struggling to make their way in a man’s world. Not only does the book show very clearly how Maia struggles to maintain the secret of her gender, but it also makes a point of showing how even wealth and privilege is not a shield against misogyny, vis-a-vis the character of Lady Sarnai. What I find particularly interesting is how ultimately, Maia and Lady Sarnai aren’t all that different, no matter how vast the gaps in their stations in life. I personally think that, had they not been on opposing sides of an extremely polarized political conflict.

Another interesting aspect of this book is its portrayal of how disparate perception of work is when it’s done by men as opposed to other genders. Maia and many other women are capable of all the other skills shown off by the master tailors in the book, but their work – ordinary and unpaid – is seen as women’s labor. Only when it’s elevated to a higher, and more importantly, paid, level is it now work that should be done solely by men. It’s a highly nuanced and introspective look at gender differences when it comes to labor, and one I highly appreciate.

The writing of this book is almost utterly flawless. It’s simultaneously lyrical and straightforward; practical and poetic. While easy to read, this doesn’t at all diminish the impact of the story. For me, Spin the Dawn perfectly straddles the line between charming and thought-provoking.

However, I did have a few critiques on the writing that prevent me from giving this book the whole 5 stars. For one thing, I found the transition from the competition to be Imperial Tailor toward hunting for the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of the stars utterly jarring. It made me feel like this was supposed to be two books rather than one. Although I appreciated both parts of the book, I personally didn’t feel like they worked together to form a cohesive narrative. I went into this book expecting full-on political intrigue and court shenanigans, so I must admit, I felt a little shortchanged when Maia wins halfway through the book and is sent on a quest very quickly.

Another thing I had a problem with is the magic system, which, for me, doesn’t make sense. I remember going over Edan’s explanation on how magic works several times just so I could try to understand it, but unfortunately, I could still make neither head nor tail of it. The rules are not clearly defined and are sometimes contradicted from one scene to another.

Other than that though, I think Elizabeth Lim is an excellent writer. The descriptions of the gowns, shoes, jackets, and shawls that Maia and the other tailors craft for Lady Sarnai and Emperor Khanujin are magnificently detailed, so much so that you could actually draw and make them in real life if I had a head for that sort of thing. The way that the kingdom of A’landi and its surrounding territories is shown in the book is lush and evocative enough for the reader to very clearly see. If you’re looking for a book that will whisk you away to fantastic locations and make you dream of extraordinary clothes, definitely pick this up.
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3.5 stars

I did enjoy the majority of this book, but had some issues with the pacing of the romance. This wouldn't have been as much of an issue for me if the romance hadn't dominated the second half of the book. It was still a solid read, and I'm looking forward to the sequel, albeit hesitantly.

Thanks to Random House Children's and NetGalley for the eARC.
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The story is captivating with enthralling writing and charming characters. Oh my gosh. Edan is one of the wittiest characters i have read in a while. His banter with Maia is such a delight to read. from start to finish, I was entertained with every page.
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What makes this book different from all of the other books that I have ever read is the heroine. Maia is a tough and resourceful character that fights for the people that she loves. this was a beautiful book to read because Lim's ability to write beautiful imagery; so vivid was her imagery that I felt like I was actually there.
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Between this book and the recent teaser that Disney dropped, I have so many nostalgic feels for Mulan. As soon as I finished the book, I fished out my Mulan DVD and basked in all the feels. Having said that, even though the synopsis makes the book sound like a Mulan retelling, I would say it is a very loose comparison. Spin the Dawn can be divided into two acts, and while the first is very Mulan-esque, the second act of the story is a very different yet equally amazing journey on its own, and the book takes you along a ride with an ambitious protagonist and a stunning romance.

Spin the Dawn is the story of Maia, a girl who dreams of becoming the imperial tailor. In a land where only men are celebrated as tailors, she takes the place of her brother and disguises herself as a man to partake in a contest that strives to select the next imperial tailor. As she faces each challenge, she is made to embark on a magical quest and falls in love with the most infuriating yet caring boy she has ever met.

The story is so rooted in Maia’s ambition, and I loved that. She never steers away from what she wants, and even when some of her illusions and dreams shatter as she learns more about the enchanting world she is a part of, the spirit of her ambition never fades. I loved how hardworking she was, and how the book took the time to describe her work process. My mother is a seamstress, and I grew up sitting next to piles of satin and silk while she sew the most beautiful clothes. I have seen the calluses in her hand, and have seen the magic that scissors and needles do. I felt like I was taken back to my childhood and the passion Maia had for her job was so inspiring.

Every time the book described one the clothes Maia made, I could it envision it front of my eyes. The writing is so vivid and descriptive, and as we leave the palace and go on a journey with Maia through desert lands, caves and magical realms, Elizabeth Lim’s writing bring everything to life. In the second act, Maia is made to go look for the laughter of the sun, tears of the moon and blood of stars. Each quest is thrilling and kept me on the edge, especially the last one, which gave me the chills.

The romance in this book is so beautiful. Maia and Edan have the most adorable banter, and I loved that Maia took her time to trust Edan. The romance initiates with friendship as it blossoms into love, and the slow burn made my heart sing. It is sex positive, their relationship is so much rooted in mutual trust and respect, and I shipped them so hard. They made me smile and almost made me cry, and I can’t wait to see what the sequel has in store for them.

The book is not without its faults though. The pacing is great – I felt like it was such a fast read – but the interesting pace in the first act was not necessarily the same in the second one. The quests were interesting, and I loved the development of the romance throughout the journey, but at times the book slowed down. I also felt like some secondary characters were not developed enough or simply did not need to be there. My biggest problem with the story is that Maia pretended to be her disabled brother, and I was really uncomfortable when I read about how she was pretending to limp and use a cane. I just did not think it was necessary, and I know that I would not be flattered to see someone pretend to have my disability by any means.

Having said that, I loved everything else about Spin the Dawn, and if you are interested in East Asian folklore and myths, love quest stories and prefer romance heavy fantasies, then definitely give this a go! The book is clearly written as the first in a series, and had a very intriguing ending that has left me in anticipation for the sequel.
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This is a wonderful start to a series combining Mulan with Fashion Runway. I loved the descriptions of her magical scissors and of the tasks as well as the gorgeous dresses she combines. It also has elements of the version of Cinderella and the magical tree that gives her 3 dresses (probably my favorite of the versions). The main character is feisty and strong and willing to do whatever to protect her family, as well as struggling to find her own voice and what she stands for. A must read and am looking forward to the sequel!
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Netgalley gave me an eARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.

DNF @ 50%. I may have to finish it, though, because I apparently requested book 2 before I read this and received it, so I have to decide whether I'm the best person to review this book.

Woof. I was so excited for this book. I mean, look at that STUNNING cover! Also Mulan is deeply deeply important to me! The idea of the tension revolving around clothes-making was really cool! But yikes, was I disappointed from the first page.

The first chapter is so full of awful tropes, falsely building tension by being in the future and needing to ~save the MC's lover~ and honestly it was bad, bad writing. I decided I would give this book a chance, though, and kept reading.

Others have talked about the questionable fake disability and the homophobia, so I won't dwell on it here. But that came up for me as I was reading. The homophobia is a LOT. The disability is at least a little more understandable, but... not great.

The pacing was ENTIRELY too fast. We needed more time on the first half of the book, where the competition was happening. The eliminations of the other contestants were too fast. Maia didn't feel like she did anything worthwhile. Why was she so opposed to the scissors, especially once she learned it only brought out her natural talents? She was way too trusting of others, and others were way too trusting of her—the queen-to-be basically spilled her entire plan to an absolute stranger! I cannot tell whether the emperor's magician is like 5 years older than Maia or 20! Maia herself is such a whatever character; I liked the idea that her family knew she was going off, but that also happened so quickly that it felt meaningless. Really, the pacing is what made me put it down; it was breakneck, where it could have benefitted from more interiority. 

I put it at 3 instead of 2 stars because after the first chapter the writing gets SIGNIFICANTLY better, also because whenever I review YA books I think about the actual target audience and whether they would like this. I think as a teen, I would have thought this was okay. So: three stars.
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Thank you for the eARC

How can you not love this book? Gais, this is the best 2019 reads ever! I love the story, the characters, the plot and the writing. It was such an amazing read. Looking forward to the sequel! *I’m so excited!*
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I'm so mad at myself for putting this one off for so long, because I loved it! 

This book is described as Mulan meets Project Runway-which is definitely is for the first 150 pages-but then becomes so much more than that. I loved the blending of cultures and mythologies in here, and the main myth about the sun, moon, and stars was just so enchanting. 

I also absolutely adored the romance, which isn't something I normally say. Maia and Eden just have such good banter with each other, and I loved how their relationship progressed to the point where it actually made sense when they told each other 'I love you.' 

Elizabeth Lim's writing is fantastic as well, and I can't wait to see how she progresses in her upcoming books!

Overall, I loved this book, and I have no idea what I'm going to do until July when the sequel comes out!
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Updated: 12/12/19: Still to date... THE BEST DARN BOOK I"VE READ IN 2019!

This book is more than words on a page. It's a journey, a truly enchanting journey! One I never wanted to end! 

Who knew that when you combined eastern mythology, fairy tale retelling, and Elizabeth Lim, you could get a story just as good (if not better) than the original Disney production? 

WOW! Talk about spellbinding! This book was like a scissors edge scrapping over my every emotion. There was never a respite from the incredible journey Maia was battling wholeheartedly through. Her self-determination and perseverance was raw and extraordinary. I loved every heartbreaking, breathtaking moment of it! 

Project Runway Meets Mulan... SPIN THE DAWN is better than anything you could imagine. 

How could I not fall in love with this book? With it's enticing forbidden love and impossible challenges, Elizabeth Lim created a masterpiece. 

When our heroine, a gifted artistic tailor inherits magical scissors, little does she know what challenges she will face. Disguising herself as a boy in order to compete with the most talented tailors in the empire, Maia must push her talent and skill beyond her own expectations of what she can achieve. 

Some may think this is all the story has to hold... a competition to become the emperor's new tailor. But, in fact, a mysterious palace, sabotage, lies, political espionage, and the need to determine friend from foe will continue to threaten Maia on her epic fantastic journey. Can the moon, sun, and stars align for Maia, or will her sacrifices, blood, sweat, and tears be for not?

Some people are disappointed when the story doesn't do the book cover justice. They will find they have nothing to worry about with Elizabeth Lim's wonderful retelling.
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I completely enjoyed this first installment book! While laced through with familiar fairy tale themes and common tropes, the way they are combined along with the author's creative and beautiful writing style creates a wonderful fantasy book that I simply could not put down!

Part Mulan (dressing as a boy to save her ailing father), part East of the Sun, West of the Moon (traveling to the ends of the earth to complete an impossible task), but mostly a fun original story full of twists, turns, magic unusal, and unexpected true love.  I highly recommend this book for fans of YA fantasy, fairy tale retellings, Mereceds Lackey, or Margaret Rogerson.

I cannot wait for book 2!
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