Review: Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars #1)

Title: Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars #1)
Author: Elizabeth Lim
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: July 9, 2019
Rating: ★★★★


Goodreads 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 Renée Ahdieh.


This book is a great introduction to this new series.

This story started out as a type of Mulan story. Maia’s father is selected as a master tailor to go to the emperor, but he is unwell. Only him or his sons could go because women can’t be tailors. Maia dresses up as her brother and goes to the palace to compete in a competition to become a royal tailor. I thought this was going to be the whole story, so I was surprised when the competition ended so quickly. The rest of the story followed Maia on a journey to get special materials to create mythical dresses.

The only thing I didn’t really like about this book was the romance. It felt a little forced to me, because it seems like it can’t work out. I hope it works out better in the next book.

I’m curious to see what happens in the next book, because this story felt complete to me. I’m not sure where the plot is heading, but I’m excited for it to continue.

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Reflection by Elizabeth Lim

A Dress for the Wicked by Autumn Krause

Have you read Spin the Dawn? What did you think of it?

5 thoughts on “Review: Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars #1)”

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