Today I come with a very exciting (but quite long) post! I am thrilled to be a part of the Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim blog post, hosted by Caffeine Book Tours. The blog tour started this past Monday with Shealea’s launch post. The particularly exciting thing about this tour is that it is the bloggers taking part are All-Asian, the majority being Chinese or Chinese-American!
It is really special to have been chosen to be on the Spin the Dawn blog tour because of this. Thank you, Elizabeth, for writing Spin the Dawn, Shealea, for organizing the blog tour, and Knopf Books for Young Readers, for providing copies of Spin the Dawn to giveaway (see the end of this post)! Title: Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars #1)
Author: Elizabeth Lim
Release Date: July 9, 2019
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA Fantasy
Content Warnings: physical disability (paralysis), war, descriptions of the dead, violence
*Note: I received an e-ARC of this title from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Being a part of this promotional blog tour has not affected my thoughts presented in this post.
SYNOPSIS (from Goodreads)
Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping YA fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.
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.
What really stood out to me about Spin the Dawn was its eloquent storytelling. There are so many beautiful quotes in this book like “I have never had a talent for spinning tales” and “All legends have a spark of truth.” The story flowed very naturally, and I found myself getting pulled into the strong imagery and the world that Lim built. I particularly enjoyed the descriptions of the creations Maia made, especially the dresses!
Speaking of worlds, the protagonist, Maia, lives in a world inspired by imperial China in which this world never gave girls any chance. They were mostly shoved into the domestic sector and told to stay there because it was their duty and the only option available to them. Maia constantly battles with this expectation which was juxtaposed with her decision to compete in the search for the new imperial tailor (in disguise, of course). She sets out to the world–and to herself–that she can.
Personally, I really enjoyed reading the (relatively brief) tailor competition and the different challenges the tailors faced. I always almost expecting that this plot point would take up most of the story, but I was surprised to find out that this barely scratched the surface! Maia had many more trials to face.
I am a bit of a sucker for a character that is surrounded by mystery, and in Spin the Dawn, this applied to many of them, yet only some of the answers to the mysteries are revealed by the end of the novel. This further provoked my curiosity about the characters and the situations they find themselves in by the end of the novel, so I will be anticipating the second book!
Another thing I loved about Spin the Dawn was that it has some of my favorite tropes: one that happens later in the novel but when the characters just have to pretend that they are each other’s significant other when ~technically~ they are not😏. I think I may have been cackling just a little bit at this part. If this is in a book, a movie, or a (c/k) drama, then I am set.
I also was very fond of the how the story’s center often revolved around Maia’s love and dedication to her family, regardless of how broken up it was. As a reader, I know exactly what drove her actions, and I just really liked the importance of family in the novel.
For me, the only downside of the story was the romance. There was a point that I loved the romance because they kind of hated/mistrusted each other but there was still this really strong tension between them that I definitely favored. But then there was a moment that I did not. To be fair, I am growing out of the kind of romance usually portrayed in YA, so this bit is entirely my own reading preference. I am just not a fan of the whole “I will sacrifice myself because I truly love you” when the characters are 17-years-old.
In the end, I really had no idea where this story was going, so I enjoyed the ride! I was often pleasantly surprised, and a lot of my notes on my kindle are “yay” or “well well well” (in a good way, of course). As I said before, I am looking forward to the second book, especially since Spin the Dawn has a sneak peek of the second book’s first few pages!
As a proud bookstagrammer, I could not pass up the chance to feature a creative photo of this book! This was one of the toughest photos for me to create but with my (sort of) friend, Photoshop, it worked out much better than I was expecting!
Since you cannot see the entire cover in the photo above, here it is in ALL its glory! It was really great to see Chinese characters having adventures (not always good ones, though) in a story steeped in Chinese tales. If you preorder Spin the Dawn (before July 16, which is a week AFTER Spin the Dawn is officially released!), you can get these incredible character cards created by Kat Adara where Maia, Edan, Lady Sarnai, and Emperor Khanujin are so unapologetically Asian!SPIN THE DAWN AESTHETIC
SPIN THE DAWN QUOTE GRAPHIC
Once I started creating this quote graphic, the whole idea came to me very fast! I knew I wanted simple since the photo (from Unsplash) speaks volumes itself.
This graphic idea took me a little longer to figure out. There was a lot more moving pieces around and trying things that did not eventually work out. But, sometimes, the more difficult ideas wield the best results✨
Note: all the photos I used for the aesthetic and the graphics came from Unsplash, which is a place to find freely useable images without having to worry about copyright issues. This site is a great resource!
Check out these other amazing blogs and their posts for more Spin the Dawn love and content! Shealea’s launch post for the blog tour has all of the information as well plus links!
These bloggers have already posted their content:
- Shut up, Shealea – blog tour launch
- Book Freak Revelations – review, creative feature post, aesthetics/moodboard
- Happy Indulgence Books – review
- READING (AS)(I)AN (AM)ERICA – review
- Snow White Hates Apples – review, creative photos, excerpt, favorite quotes
- Star is All Booked Up – review, creative photos
- BookwyrmBites – review, favorite quotes, own playlist
- Holed Up In A Book – review, aesthetics/moodboard
- Librae Paints Pages – review, aesthetics/moodboard
- mybookcastle – review, aesthetics/moodboard, creative feature post, excerpt, favorite quotes
- The Sparrow’s Perch – review, own art, own quote graphics
- Artsy Draft – review, creative photos, excerpt, own graphics
- Caitlin Althea – review, excerpt, favorite quotes
- Literaery Adventures – review
- Moonlight Pages – review, favorite quotes
- Read By Tiffany – review, aesthetics/moodboard
- Beyond Secret Pages – review, creative feature post, own quote graphics
- Crowing About Books – review, aesthetics/moodboard, creative feature post, own quote graphics
- Lyrical Reads (me!) – review, aesthetics/moodboard, creative photos, own quote graphics
- String of Pages – review, creative photos, excerpt, own quote graphics
- Utopia State of Mind – review, own quote graphics
And you can anticipate these:
- Author Interview on Shut up, Shealea
- Hana Book Review – review, creative photos, own quote graphics
- Phantom Paper – review, aesthetics/moodboard, creative feature post, own quote graphics
- R E A (D) I V I N E – review, excerpt, favorite quotes, own art
- Unputdownable Books – review, creative feature post, creative photos
- Wavy Pages – review
- Forever and Everly – review, aesthetics/moodboard, creative photos, favorite quotes
- The Quiet Pond – review, creative photos
- Read at Midnight – review, own art
- The Ultimate Fangirl – review, own art, own quote graphics
- Your Tita Kate – review, aesthetics/moodboard, creative feature post, creative photos, favorite quotes
*Also join the Twitter chat with #CBTTC at 9 am EST / 9 pm PHT!
| FIND SPIN THE DAWN & PREORDER FOR BOOKISH GOODIES!|
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Elizabeth Lim grew up on a hearty staple of fairy tales, myths, and songs. Her passion for storytelling began around age 10, when she started writing fanfics for Sailor Moon, Sweet Valley, and Star Wars, and posted them online to discover, “Wow, people actually read my stuff. And that’s kinda cool!” But after one of her teachers told her she had “too much voice” in her essays, Elizabeth took a break from creative writing to focus on not flunking English.
Over the years, Elizabeth became a film and video game composer, and even went so far as to get a doctorate in music composition. But she always missed writing, and turned to penning stories when she needed a breather from grad school. One day, she decided to write and finish a novel — for kicks, at first, then things became serious — and she hasn’t looked back since.
Elizabeth loves classic film scores, books with a good romance, food (she currently has a soft spot for arepas and Ethiopian food), the color turquoise, overcast skies, English muffins, cycling, and baking. She lives in New York City with her husband.
| FIND ELIZABETH |
Want more SPIN THE DAWN and other surprises? Tune into the Twitter chat hosted by Caffeine Book Tours on July 7th at 9 a.m. EST or 9 p.m. PHT! This chat is spoiler-free, and there will be two (2) finished copies of Spin the Dawn that will be given away! Note: this giveaway will be U.S. only. Make sure to use #CBTTC to participate!
SPIN THE DAWN BLOG TOUR INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY
The blog tour is giving away three (3) finished hardcover copies of Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim thanks to the generosity of those at Knopf Books for Young Readers! Note: this giveaway is open internationally!
CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!
Until next time,