“Spin the Dawn” by Elizabeth Lim
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
A gifted tailor in disguise.
Three legendary dresses.
The competition if a lifetime.
On the fringes if the Great Spice Road, Maia Tamarin works as a seamstress in the shop of her father, once a tailor of renown. She dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for us to marry well.
When a royal messenger summons her ailing father to court, Maia poses as his son and travels to the Summer Palace in his place. She know she her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to save her family from ruin and achieve her dream of becoming the imperial tailor. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.
The competition is cutthroat, and Maia’s job is further complicated by the unwelcome attention of the court enchanter, Edan, who seems to see straight through her disguise. But nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three gowns so dangerously beautiful, it will take a quest to the ends of the earth to complete them…
Don’t let the comparison to Project Runway turn you ways from this book. It’s only a small [but fun] part of the story.
Relationships are the best part of the story. Maia’s relationships with her brother(s) was very sweet. I don’t have brothers but I felt the interactions were very true to life and genuine. You could feel the love. Even Maia’s relationship with Edan grew on me. What started as annoyance bloomed beautifully into respect and eventual love. It didn’t feel rushed or out of place. I loved their banter.
I didn’t totally love how the story felt like two different books. The first part of book about the tournament for imperial tailor was thrilling and interesting. It ended up being such a small portion of the story when the summary made appear that the competition would be a bigger deal. Then our characters are sent on a long journey (which I always enjoy) to collect elements from (supposed) stories to create 3 legendary dresses. I think it was the right move because I ended up loving the journey more than the competition.
As usual, I want to know more about this world! I loved the bits of world building that came through and would have loved to see more. Give me more legends!
Thrilling adventure! Can’t wait for more.