STARRED REVIEW
July 2019

Spin the Dawn

By Elizabeth Lim
Review by

Maia knows she’s the best tailor in the empire. But with two brothers dead in the Emperor’s wars, her family’s once-renowned tailor shop is in financial ruin at the beginning of Spin the Dawn, Elizabeth Lim’s debut novel. One day a messenger brings news: The Emperor needs a new imperial tailor for his betrothed, Lady Sarnai, and is holding a sewing competition. Dressed as a boy and carrying her grandmother’s scissors, Maia travels to the palace.

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Maia knows she’s the best tailor in the empire. But with two brothers dead in the Emperor’s wars, her family’s once-renowned tailor shop is in financial ruin at the beginning of Spin the Dawn, Elizabeth Lim’s debut novel. One day a messenger brings news: The Emperor needs a new imperial tailor for his betrothed, Lady Sarnai, and is holding a sewing competition. Dressed as a boy and carrying her grandmother’s scissors, Maia travels to the palace.

While tailors puzzle over creating jackets out of paper and shoes out of glass, gossip and sabotage threaten to destroy contestants’ chances. And what is it about her grandmother’s scissors that captivates Maia? Could magic, long dismissed by Maia and her people, actually be real?

And if the contest weren’t already difficult enough, Lady Sarnai issues a final challenge— sew three legendary dresses ascribed to the goddess Amana. The first dress is to be made from sunlight so pure it can be spun, the second from moonlight so dense it can be woven and the third from the blood of stars. Accompanied by Edan, the court enchanter, Maia sets off to somehow acquire these celestial materials. But ghosts and demons haunt her path, as well as both friendly and unfriendly human travelers. On the journey, Maia will find adventure, self-discovery and maybe even love.

Reminiscent of the tales of Rumpelstiltskin and Cinderella, Spin the Dawn will leave readers eagerly awaiting next year’s sequel, Unravel the Dusk.

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Spin the Dawn

Spin the Dawn

By Elizabeth Lim
Knopf
ISBN 9780525646990

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