The fantasy I was swept away with: Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim (Book Review) @PRHGlobal #partner #Fantasy

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim book cover

GIFTED / Not many fantasies get me invested so much as Spin the Dawn has, and I proudly bring you my review for this book today.
Spin the Dawn was published on July 9th 2019 by Knopf Books for Young Readers and it has 392 pages.
I want to thank the team from Penguin Random House Global for sending me an e-galley of this novel (in an exchange for an honest review).


About the book:

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.



First of all, let’s take a moment to admire this gorgeous book cover, because (in my humble opinion) it is one of the most (if not the most) beautiful covers of 2019.
And the best part: it pictures perfect the story that’s in the pages.

Spin the Dawn was one of the best fantasy books I read in general (but keep in mind, I haven’t read many of them).
I love how it was pitched as Mulan meets Project Runaway, because that is a perfect description, and overall I think a lot of effort was put into this book as a product, and I feel like it deserves even more recognition then it got.

I love how the world building was presented to us readers very slowly, step by step, and I can say I understand most of if, which is not often the case when it comes to fantasy.
This world was inspired by Chinese mythology and folklore. I am not familiar with it to be perfectly honest (but I would like to learn about it) and I can’t say how accurate it actually was or was it authentic, but from the standpoint of view of a reader who read this book as an entertainment tool, I can say that I really enjoyed every aspect of Chinese mythology and folklore, and I even learned something I didn’t know before (even though I think that wasn’t the goal of the novel).

I liked Maia as a narrator. She was not only likeable but also really easy to connect with.
The story is written in first person.

In this book women have almost no rights and are treated as property (like it was the case in the past), and I feel like Maia represents one of first females who opposed that.
I hope in next books more women will follow her steps.
Even though this is a fantasy, and we live in time when women have so much more rights then those in this story, it was still easy to understand and even identify with these women to some point.

We can say that the book has two main parts: an introduction to the world and characters, and the second, the journey.

I liked the second part so much more then the first one, because I already was so invested into the story, but also because we get to see some love development in it.

My favorite part of this whole master piece was love connection between Maia and her love interest. I understand why it could be controversial to some because he is much older then her (even though he doesn’t look that way) but I ship them together to the moon and back.

The last thing I’ll mention will be action scenes that were pretty intense, but as it usually happens to me when it comes to fast paced action and fight scenes, my brain turned off at some parts and left me confused.
I don’t know why is that, but it feels like my brain can’t process it when so many things happen all at once.
Thank God there are always slow parts after them where you can see the aftermath once again.

Overall, I really enjoyed Spin the Dawn. The more I think about it, the more I appreciate it.

I would highly recommend this one to ya fantasy lovers.

rating 4,5 hearts


  1. I think for fans of fantasy this book would be brilliant. The plot sounds good and the cover is beautiful. However as you know I don’t like fantasy books. But if this could be made into a Disney film, I imagine it would be very popular. Great review Irena.
    Amanda xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I completely adored this book as well! And the author was a doll to interview! The only thing two things I was really upfront about in my review is that I had neither watched Mouilin Rouge or Project Runway lol and that to me, it was the younger side of YA. This isnt at all a knock, just something readers should know going in.

    I also LOVED the dark pulse pounding end.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Aww thanks!!!! It was the first time I’d ever asked and you never know…. I mean it isn’t like I went through the publisher or editor or agent. And some say no which I completely get! I’m not a site with some super huge following. LOL… so I completely get it when someone says no. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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