Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Blog Tour: Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Title: Spin the Dawn
Author: Elizabeth Lim
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication date: 09 July 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Synopsis: 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 RenΓ©e Ahdieh.

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Wow, this was an Asian fantasy book done right. I loved so many aspects of this book and right from page one, it sucked me in. What stood out to me was the fact that this book seemed to have two very distinct parts but somehow seamlessly connected with one another. There was the competition in the beginning and later on, the quest to create three magical gowns for the would-be empress. There were adventure, familial ties, romance, and so much more.

My favorite part would definitely be Maia’s character growth. I loved reading about her family life, her background and her knowledge that despite her talents as a tailor but because she’s a female, she has little to no chance to inherit her father’s store. However, that didn’t stop her from dreaming and striving for something better. And when she entered the royal court to compete against others more experienced and older for the royal tailor position, I loved how determined and creative she was. As the book progressed, the fact that she continued to strive on and pick herself up despite obstacles including magical ones and backstabbing competitors just made me admire her all the more.

Another aspect I really enjoyed was how the author explored the role of women in a very male-dominated society. It was in this aspect that I really felt connected with the Asian representation because it was very similar to the society of ancient China. To be honest, other than that, I didn’t really get much of a sense of an Asian culture for most of the book because from what I understand, the land of A’landi seemed to have a very diverse group of people. Even the names of all the characters seemed to be incredibly diverse – there is Maia, Sendo, Finlei, Keton, Edan, Khanujin, etc. As you can clearly tell, the names all seem to be from very different ethnic backgrounds. In a way, I loved the diversity but at the same time, I did go into this book expecting it to be a Chinese inspired fantasy as that was what I had heard/read multiple times. That isn’t exactly the case and because of that, I did find myself not being able to really grasp the world in this book.

I also really, really enjoyed the magical quest that she embarks on with Edan in the latter half of the book. I loved how she had to go through these trials to obtain these magical items that she needed to fulfill the challenge to create the three magical gowns. And the romance that came out of that journey was really well done. I absolutely loved reading about this romance especially on Edan’s side. I loved how he liked to poke fun at her (not in a mean way) in the beginning and the journey to obtain the magical items really allowed the romance to fully develop as he became more open and was able to confide in her. I just enjoyed reading all of their interactions and dynamic with one another. Honestly, every time he had any sort of conversation with Maia, I just giggled to myself because it was just so adorable.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and cannot wait to pick up the sequel! The ending is definitely a cliffhanger and I want to find out what happens to Maia and Edan as well as a whole host of other issues. I will be eagerly waiting for the next book!



About Elizabeth:
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.

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🌟As you can tell from my moodboard, I took ancient China as my main inspiration because at the end of the day, I do picture it set in a somewhat of an ancient China world.  So I added a lot of ancient Chinese palaces photos as my main inspiration.  I also included a gorgeous pink silk cloth photo because it was supposed to represent Maia as a tailor.  πŸŒŸ

Prize: Five (5) finished copies of Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim (5 winners)
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  1. Great review! I love the book and the cover too :D

  2. I like the mood board! I'd like to see the Forbidden City someday!