Books Like This: The Nine Kingdoms Series (books 1-3), House of Salt and Sorrows
For People Who Like: Romance, quests, adventure, magic, fantasy
*Mild Spoilers Ahead
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 can prepare 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.
Spin The Dawn is the first book in the Blood of Stars series, written by Elizabeth Lim. This is the first book I've ever read from Elizabeth Lim and I have to say, I was very impressed. A long, long time ago I wanted to be a fashion designer and I think that's one of the reasons I was so interested in this book. And of course, I also couldn't resist the fantasy and the romance.
I loved almost everything about this book. The MC was very family oriented (which is amazing), and she's also really independent and stubborn. And I was obsessed with the dynamic between her and Edan. I was so satisfying to watch their relationship change and blossom over time and to see them grow as people because of their relationship. (I also have a weakness for the author constantly describing feelings through the love interests' eyes.)
One thing that I didn't like in the book was the fact that the quest that Maia and Edan have to go on only happens because of a princess not wanting to marry the king so a truce can be made with their countries and a war can be stopped. I mean, she's selfish enough to risk her people dying so that she doesn't have to marry the king. That detail really annoyed me. And now we have to see Maia and Edan suffer when the princess's end goal wasn't even accomplished.
Also, the book felt really fast. The author stuffed the competition and the quest into one book and I think some things could've taken more time to go over. It does convey a sense of urgency even though the quest alone was supposed to take 2 months.
Elizabeth Lim is a great writer. I loved the character development, the details that really helped me imagine what everything (people and places included) in their world looked like. The characters were really well developed. Although the whole "centuries older guy falls in love with young girl" plot has been used plenty, I still liked it and I think it was made different and more unique because Edan is an Enchanter who has more to him than Maia thinks at first.
Overall, it was a really great book and I would recommend it completely. It kept my attention and made me lose track of time more than once. :)
Congratulations Elizabeth Lim, and I wish you luck on all of your future endeavors.