Review: Spin the Dawn, Elizabeth Lim

There are no spoilers in this review.

Spin the Dawn, Elizabeth Lim

Publishing on July 9th, 2019 by Alfred A. Knopf Books For Young Readers.


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.

☂️ TRIGGER WARNINGS: click here to see them.

violence, death, loss of loved ones, blood, imprisonment, threat of sexual assault, some homophobic and ableist language, sexism.

☂️ DIVERSITY: All Asian cast (Chinese).



  • Spin the Dawn was one of my most anticipated reads of last year, obviously I went in with a lot of expectations, even more knowing so many of my friends loved it. I’m happy to say, I wasn’t disappointed.
  • The first thing that took me into the story straight away was the writing. Spin the Dawn is written in such an exquisite, incredible way I couldn’t help but be swept away. Everything came alive under the author’s writing and I loved it.
  • The characters won me over in a second, especially Maia, the main character. I loved her determination, I loved her growth, I loved how close and protective she was of her family, I loved her passion for her craft shining off the page, too and immediately rooted for her!
  • Edan was a second close favorite to me. I just lived for his and Maia’s dialogue and banter and I loved the growth of their relationship and their chemistry, too.
  • The world-building was really unique and wonderful, too. Inspired by Chinese mythology, it has magic, demons, ghosts, magical carpets and it was so lovely. Another thing I loved was how the author took us along on the main character’s quest and how vivid it all felt. The changes in the landscape, the magical quests with the sun, the moon and the stars… I felt like I was traveling along with Maia and Edan in this magical world and I loved it.



  • I hate writing this section when I can’t find, exactly, what is the thing that prevented me from rating this book higher. I had a great time reading Spin the Dawn overall and maybe it’s because I found the first chapter of exposition a bit long and was really eager for the action to kick off and the competition to get started? I’m not sure.



If you’re looking for a wonderful fantasy read, I’d recommend Spin the Dawn. Its magical writing, fierce characters, endearing romance and stunning world-building are perfect if you’re looking to escape for a little while into a magical world. I can’t wait for the sequel!

Final rating:  4 drops!

Did you read Spin the Dawn? Do you want to?

Do you have any recommendations of fantasy reads for me? Let me know in comments!





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Book blogger, travel blogger, writer. 📚 |🌍 | 💞 Writing & Communications Graduate. French. Living on love, wanderlust and ya books.

44 thoughts on “Review: Spin the Dawn, Elizabeth Lim

  1. I’m so glad you enjoyed this one, Marie! I just finished the sequel and the ending was ~phenomenal~. I probably liked it even more than Spin the Dawn (which I ended up giving 3.5 stars to, anyway). And the covers are sooo gorgeous.

    I get you on the exposition though; there was a lot less action than I expected and Maia’s narrative would go on and on at times, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oooh this was one of my most anticipated reads of last year because the whole premise + Chinese mythology + gorgeous cover was just *chef’s kiss*

    I think I ended up giving it three or four stars as well, but I’m happy you enjoyed it! It’s always wonderful when a highly anticipated read turns out great ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This has been on my tbr for a while !! I have *literally* only heard good things about this book so I guess I have to read it super soon haha this book sounds so wonderfully magical and this was such a good review! Long expositions are a bit of a turn off in books for me too, I like when stories just go straight into it

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I haven’t read Spin the Dawn yet but I really want to since everyone has been raving about it. The plot sounds amazing and exactly what I’d like. 💙 // As for fantasy reads, I can recommend The Kiss of Deception series by Mary E. Pearson.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m so glad you enjoyed this one! It was one of my favorites from last year (or early this year? I can’t remember 😂). Mulan is my favorite Disney princess, but I loved how this book added so many unique elements to the original story. Really hoping Unravel the Dusk is just as good!

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  6. that aesthetic you created made me want to read this so badly! this sounds like a beautifully spun story and i’m so excited to read about the mythology elements and the exquisite writing style. 😊❤

    and i definitely understand what you mean about not being sure what you didn’t enjoy!! i’ve felt the same way when i rate books lower than 5 stars yet don’t know what caused me to them a lower rating! 😅

    Liked by 1 person

  7. So happy to see another Spin the Dawn fan! I don’t know anyone else who has read it and loved it. Lim’s writing is so vivid and beautiful, it was hard not to fall in love with it and the characters!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ahh so happy that you loved this, Marie! Soon the Dawn was my one of my favourites last year. I loved the relationship between Maia and sedan. And that cliffhanger 😭 Can’t wait for the sequel.


  9. I’m glad you enjoyed this one! I was really looking forward to reading this when it first came out but I held off because of all the hype. I guess I was intimidated. It’s great to hear that it didn’t disappoint you, though. 😀

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  10. i’m so happy you loved this one, marie!! the writing and the worldbuilding were definitely highlights for me with this book — they were just so exquisite. the magic especially was so beautiful to me, with amana’s dresses! i hope you love the sequel as much as you love this one, and great review ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  11. ahhhh I’m so happy you liked it!! I also had a great time reading Spin the Dawn, and I’m so so glad, because I definitely had high expectations and I was a bit afraid of being disappointed … Not the case! I wasn’t the biggest fan of Edan at first but their interactions were always the best hahahah

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