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This novel blew me away. The writing is beautiful and almost poetic. The descriptions carry you away and you become completely enthralled in the novel. The descriptions of the garments and clothing created blew me away. The author commands words in a fantastic fashion. The characters are interesting. The story is simply engaging. It just kept getting better every single chapter I read! I could not put this book down! I am eagerly awaiting the sequel and could not recommend this book enough.
With a beautiful start, this had my heart from the prologue. And I can’t help but want to completely and utterly root for Maia and contain so much faith for her! I enjoyed the story in its entirety but I really loved the scenes between Maia and Edan.
The book is divided into parts and the first part deals with the ‘Project Runway meets Mulan’ vibe, and then it branches out after that and becomes a quest that is a perilous journey to try and deliver the ‘unobtainable’ to make the intended of the Emperor satisfied. [I have sympathy for her but I still dislike her lol]
[I really enjoyed this book, and I am aware of the conflict and issues that some have had with it, I was mindful of that while reading.]
Spin the Dawn is sold as Mulan crossed over with Project Runway. As a fan of both of those things, I was eager to give this one a shot. Maia's father is summoned to the Emperor's court to compete to become the royal tailor; two of Maia's brothers died in the war and the third was severely injured. A competent seamstress, Maia picks up her grandmother's shears and answers the call, dressed as a boy. At the palace, Maia competes with tailors with years of experience whilst struggling to hide her true identity. But one man in particular - the court sorcerer - seems to see right through her...
I liked Maia. She was sympathetic and earnest. What I was surprised by, was how only the first third of the plot really resembled Project Runway, the actual contest aspect of the book. The rest of the novel focuses on Maia's epic quest to sew the three dresses of legend: one with the laughter of the sun, one with the tears of the moon, and the last with the blood of the stars.
One thing I'm not a fan of was the Edward Cullen-esque romance. A man who is hundreds of years old who goes after a young girl, tells her it's better if they aren't together, and then she pines after him loads until he is gracious enough to kiss her. Ew. Also they've known each other about a month and they're fantasising about having several kids. YA style.
I liked the Project Runway style competition, the focus on sewing, the borrowing and new adaptation of the Mulan story. I liked how easy this was to read, I just thought it needed a bit more work and a love interest that wasn't five hundred years old.
The cover of this book is stunning and the cover alone would get five stars from me, but the rest of the book? Not so much. I'm honestly struggling to know what to say in my review of this book because I honestly just don't have that much to say. I didn't feel connected with this book at any point and never really felt sucked into the story.
I largely like Maia, I think she's an interesting and complex character but there was something missing for me about her. She is meant to be a strong independent woman but she spends so much of her time relying on Edan to get her out of trouble that it sort of contradicted itself. So much focus of this book is spent on their romance and I think this is largely where it lost it for me because I wasn't invested in them as a couple. Edan becomes intrigued with her because... she's a girl pretending to be a boy? or because he knows there's magic in her veins... honestly not sure which he knew first.
I literally felt at points like I was watching Project Runway; yes I get it's meant to be like that but it felt like it was pulled from the script of the show and felt so off balance to the rest of the book. I think there is a good concept behind this book, but if we took away the Princesses stubbornness and attempts to delay her wedding there literally wouldn't be a book in the first place. There are no other conflicts that lead to the events so it just kind of leads them wanting....
I didn't hate this book at all and definitely think it has potential but I was constantly waiting for that wow moment to hook me in and it just never came. I think the romance overtook the plot and ruined it for me.
I DEVOURED this in a single day. Honestly it was so beautiful and I knew right from the outset that I would love it. I have to thank Elizabeth Lim for writing such a beautiful YA novel - and even better for making it the first in a series!! I have found difficulty in finding YA books that I enjoy in recent times. But this hit all the right notes. Maia is such a likeable protagonist and I love the arc that she went through as a character. I love love LOVED Edan and the way his relationship with Maia developed from curiousity to protectiveness and beyond. I loved the whole world and how the author made each scene so vivid and real. Five stars. Can’t wait for the next one.
Elizabeth Lim has spun a wonderfully magical tale that slowly reeled me in and has left me wanting more.
Inspired by Mulan, this is the story of Maia, who poses as her brother in order to become the Imperial Tailor at the Royal Court. There she must compete with other renowned tailors to secure her place. Competition is fierce, and Maia faces many challenges. She also becomes drawn to the Royal Enchanter Edan and must fight to hide her secret.
The story really comes into its own when Maia and Edan must go on a journey across the land. I loved the myths and magics that Lim brought to life here and this journey really caught my imagination.
There was so much depth and emotion put into the relationships in this story, especially between Maia and her family, which I loved. As for that ending....just wow! I cannot wait for the second part of this duology to release next year.
This is a well written book that really brings alive a mythic, fairy tale land with a very much Chinese slant.
But the heroine’s inability to pay attention to advice drove me batty. She is the kind of ‘spunky’ heroine who is given simple and sensible instructions, disobeys, gets into trouble as a result; and then makes exactly the same mistake fifty pages further on.
The quality of the writing and the story make me want to read the sequel, but I can’t stand to spend anoher afternoon shouting at my Kindle.