Spin The Dawn – Elizabeth Lim

The gorgeous cover of Six Crimson Cranes caught my eyes at my favourite bookshop (the only decent one in Brisbane sigh…) and thus I was introduced to Elizabeth Lim. I actually thought Cranes was book 3 of The Blood Of Stars series and of course I should start the series from the beginning so I purchased Spin The Dawn instead, oops!

I have recently read my first Asian Fantasy, The Poppy War, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Learning about a whole genre of fantasy rooted in my culture has been a glorious awakening. When I read on the back cover that this is a Mulan-style adventure- a tale all Asian little girls grew up with- even though it says it’s a cross with Project Runway- a show I have no interest in- the little girl in me was intrigued so who am I to deny her, right?

This is the story of Maia Tamarin, the youngest daughter of a reputable tailor, a prodigious seamstress who aspired to be the imperial tailor at a time where girls were only good for marriage. This was when the Mulan inspired 代父從軍 “take father’s place” plot came in though the Project Runway style challenge only spanned the first part of the saga.

What ensued was a grand adventure across the land to seek the laughter of the sun, tears of the moon, and the blood of stars in order to make 3 magical gowns for the future Empress.

There were magic, myths and legends, danger, trials, triumphs and kissing, lots of kissing!

The amount of too-sweet-though-not-nauseating teenage romance took me by surprise. Sure, the teenager in me giggled along but the 45-year-old woman grew tired of it quickly. Then I remembered this was a YA novel after all. I subsequently found out in the acknowledgement that the romance was intentional so…

It was a bit tiresome for me though I suppose it did serve the purpose of demonstrating the depth of the love the characters had for each other.

What I did enjoy even though I’m not a fashionista was the gorgeous couture gowns and there were magical gowns aplenty in this tale. The author’s wonderful description of these made it super easy to materialise them in one’s imagination, and they were glorious.

There were also demons and did I mention magic? If you’ve read my previous reviews, you’d know I totes have a penchant for the supernatural. The way the magic and myths worked in this book was very much aligned with the stories I grew up with. It was obvious the author also grew up with these same stories and that made for an endearing reading experience for me. I had a marvellous time reading this book.

The best thing about my mistaking the order of these books is that I now get to dive straight into the sequel!

You can start your own adventure and grab your copy of Spin The Dawn here*.

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With Love and Positivity,


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