Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
Releases: July 9, 2019
All I have to say is WOW. This was a phenomenal book and I couldn't put it down. It's the Mulan meets Project Runway story that I never knew I needed! I will gladly accept the sequel anytime now!
Before I get too excited, here's a short summary of the book: After five years of a long, bloody war, the Emperor has created a truce with his enemy by promising to marry his daughter. A young tailor, Maia Tamarin, enters the Emperor's competition to be his Imperial Tailor, the chance of a lifetime and the opportunity to bring honor back to her family name. There's only one problem: she's a girl, and a Master tailor is only for males. Disguising herself as her brother, Maia travels to the summer palace to compete against Master Tailors from all over the Empire. With the Emperor's Enchanter keeping an interested eye on her, Maia must sew better than she ever has before. When she is given the final test to sew three magic dresses, with the help of a pair of magic scissors gifted to her by her father and the magic of her new Enchanter friend, she just might make it out alive.
The writing is wonderful and I easily lost myself in the world that Lim created. The characters are wonderfully written and I found myself cheering for Maia from the moment I met her. The Project Runway-like competition of the tailors was fun and exciting--a twist in the story that I really enjoyed! Mulan may have fought in a war to bring honor to her family, at least according to Disney, but Maia Tamarin fought sneaky men, barbarians, and magical beings.
The Enchanter, Edan, made my heart do a bunch of fluffy things and you know how much I love that. I love the relationship he builds with Maia--it's playful and fun, and it brings out the best in both of them. Learning about Edan's past and what it means to be an enchanter really brought his character to life.
The settings and descriptions are rich and colorful, a perfect fit for a story about a tailor. The lush, Chinese-inspired culture and scenery were enough to make me want to travel to the places of their origins. With the publishing world really pushing for more diversity in characters, authors, setting, etc., this is a great way for people to see how those books are important in creating so many great books!
I absolutely adored the characters, the love story I didn't really see coming, and the bravery of the female protagonist. She's the powerful character we need to be reading more of!
Pick this up on release day, July 9th, or preorder now. I promise it will be the best decision you make all day!