Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
In Spin the Dawn Elizabeth Lim creates an enchanting and magical world, which blends Chinese fairy tales and the supernatural.
Maia’s father is called to the Summer Court to become an Imperial Tailor, a job offer not to be refused. When it becomes obvious that he is in no state to work, Maia disguises herself as her older brother (females are not allowed to become tailors) in order to try to turn her family’s fortunes around. Once at Court it transpires that Maia must compete against the Empire’s most talented and experienced tailors for the position. The Great British Sewing Bee this is not and the other tailors will stop at nothing to eliminate the competition. With the help of a pair of magical scissors, given to her by her father, and the intriguing Enchanter Eden, Maia is able to hold her own.
This is a book of two halves. The novel starts at a fast pace and we are quickly drawn into the high stakes competition and the suspense of court life. I loved these scenes the most. Viewed through the eyes of Maia, a tailor and artisan, the court and its inhabitants are really brought to life, full of vibrant colour and sensory detail. The second half of the novel slows down with a journey, as Maia is given a seemingly impossible challenge to complete; but it is no less exciting for it. A romance blossoms and if you are a fan of the enemies to lovers storyline, you will enjoy this section.
This book has broad appeal: a charming romance with a strong plot and credible characterisation. I’m already looking forward to the next instalment. Suitable for all year groups.