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ARC Review: Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars #1) by Elizabeth Lim

Summary from Goodreads:

Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping YA fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.

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.

Steeped in Chinese culture, sizzling with forbidden romance, and shimmering with magic, this young adult fantasy is pitch-perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas or Renée Ahdieh.

Release Date: July 30th 2019


I’ve been reading more and more of my 2019 ARCS. I’ve been noticing that the majority of 2019 releases I’ve read have been 5-star reads for me. It makes me excited even more this new year and the great novels coming out!

What I Loved:

Cover. I’m not the only one who adores the cover, it was the main reason I requested the ARC on netgalley. It is a stunning cover. I’m already planning on getting a copy for my shelf when the hardcover comes out and buying it as a gift for a few people. 😀

Plot/World Building. I knew that I would love this new world Lim has crafted when I saw the beautiful map at the start. It was so fleshed out and unique that I fell completely in love with this world and the story. It is compared to Mulan and others but I felt it was more original than a retelling. 

Magic. I loved the magic system Lim created and even found myself wanting more or at least more magic done by the main character. I enjoyed the fact that parts of the magic were explained, mainly Edan’s magic while Lim’s magic was still left a mystery for the next novels in the series. 

Pacing. It has been a while since I picked up a novel and managed to nearly finish it in a single day. I found the pacing worked really well. Even the middle, where the setting/main story changes drastically but I never felt like the pacing was slow. It was action packed pretty much from the start. 

Characters. I enjoyed the novel solely follows Maia Tamarin and did not have other points of view. She was a great main character who was easy to connect with by the end. The main love interest, Maia’s family, and other side characters were well-crafted too. I enjoyed how the main antagonists of the story were not just straight up evil, they had motivations for their less than great actions.  

I recommend checking this great new YA Fantasy release, it has amazing characters and stunning world-building. 


5 Stars Out of 5 Stars


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