Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars #1) by Elizabeth Lim – A Fantastic Fairytale (Review)

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim 5 Star Review Caitsbooks

*Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions in this review are my own.*

Overall: 5/5 Stars
Characters: 5/5
Setting: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Plot and Themes: 5/5
Awesomeness Factor: 5/5
Review in a Nutshell: Spin The Dawn is a fun, fast paced fantasy. It was pitched to me as Mulan, Project Runway, and a hint of Aladdin, and honestly, that is the best way to describe it. 

“Artisans such as you are soldiers in times of war.”

[Related: Interview with Elizabeth Lim, Author of Spin the Dawn]


// Content Warning: Violence, Death, Assault, Alcoholism, Animal Death, War Themes, Murder //

Release Date: 7/9/2019
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 387

Spin the Dawn follows Maia, the only daughter of a skilled tailor. When her father is summoned to compete in a competition to become to Imperial Tailor, she disguises herself as a boy and takes his place. However, winning the title of Imperial Tailor is harder than she could imagine, as she must balance her secret, sabotaging competitors, and the impossible task granted to her. 

“‘I, too, once journeyed beyond the stars’ 
‘What did you find?’ 
His voice turned lethally soft. ‘That it’s just the beginning.’”

Read more for my thoughts on Spin the Dawn!

Writing & Setting

I absolutely adore the writing in this book. Elizabeth Lim has a gorgeous writing style that adds to the fairytale feeling of this book. Her prose is beautiful, but not too flowery. She describes the setting well and builds the characters and their relationships beautifully. The world itself is well built with a fascinating mythology and plenty of history interwoven into the fantasy aspects. It’s the perfect mix of grounded to reality yet completely magical and fascinating.

“Ask me to spin the finest yarn or thread, and I can do it faster than any man–even with my eyes closed. Yet ask me to tell a lie, and I will stumble and falter to think of one.
I have never had a talent for spinning tales.”


Spin the Dawn is a fast-paced book. There is constant action to the point where I literally could not put it down. I tried and failed (and lost a couple of hours of sleep because of it). It’s split into parts, focusing on the competition and an epic journey. Typically, traveling in novels bores me, but despite the journey taking up a large part of the book, there was always something interesting going on, or a trial to undergo, which made the pages fly by. 

“‘What keeps you up at night?’ I asked. ‘You’re never in your tent.’
A cloud passed over his face. ‘Demons and ghosts.’ With a faint smile, he added, ‘And not having enough books to read.’”


The main character, Maia, is great. She loves her job, which isn’t something often emphasized in YA, and her passion is something I really admired about her. She’s also a very strong character, who is determination, loyal, and kind. I just really liked her.

There was also a great emphasis on her relationship with her family. After the war ended, her family was left in pieces and I love that Elizabeth Lim didn’t shy away from the tragedy and the pain it brings. The romance aspect was really well done, and absolutely adorable while still feeling realistic and earned (definitely not a case of insta-love here, thank god). 

Edan, the court magician, is fascinating. He’s mysterious, powerful, and always has the best banter with Maia. I can’t wait to learn more about him!

I also found myself really interested in Lady Sarnai even though I probably shouldn’t. I’m really curious about her story, and that of the Emperor, and where it will lead in the sequel. Did I mention that I’m dying for this sequel?? Because I need it.

“I want you to know that some journeys have ends, but not this one. This one will change you. Irrevocably.”


Pros- Fast paced, cute romance, fascinating world
Cons- sequel please?? I really, really need it
Overall- 5/5 stars. 
Spin the Dawn is an utterly addictive read that will captivate you and give you dreams of dresses painted with the blood of the stars.

*All quotes are taken from the ARC and are subject to change*

So, are you excited for Spin the Dawn’s release?

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4 responses to “Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars #1) by Elizabeth Lim – A Fantastic Fairytale (Review)”

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