The only opening line needed to hooked me in : Project Runway meets Mulan.
Well, I do not know much about Project Runway. I don’t even know what is a Project Runway before this.
Did you just say Mulan??
Count me in.
1. Spin The Dawn (The Blood of Stars, #1) by Elizabeth Lim
Genre : Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Page : 392 pages
Published : 9th July 2019
— Blurb —
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.
— Mini Review —
“Seize the wind,” I whispered. “Don’t become the kite that never flies.”
I have always love Mulan. And having this book which got the similar ambience to Mulan is just lovely. To be honest, I’m not quite sure how to review this book. Spin The Dawn has been one of the most captivating reads for me and I love the book. Truly. But, rather than a distressing heavy fantasy reads that plays with your feelings 24/7, for me this book is more into the-perfect-escape-reads vibe. The only fantasy book I’ve read that actually brought calmness out in me.
The thing about this book is, there’s nothing too overwhelm and there’s nothing too underwhelmed. I simply read this book because the narrative is so so good and I could. not. stop. reading. I’m savouring the book like savouring jugs of water after being deserted to Sahara. There is something about the book that can always hooked you right in. But again, rather than fantasy, it’s more like reading a captivating story.
But I still love the book though.
“All legends have a spark of truth. Sometimes more than a spark.”
2. Unravel The Dusk (The Blood of Stars, #2) by Elizabeth Lim
Genre : Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Page : 368 pages
Published : 7th July 2020
— Blurb —
The thrilling sequel to SPIN THE DAWN, a magical series steeped in Chinese culture.
Maia Tamarin’s journey to sew the dresses of the sun, the moon and the stars has taken a grievous toll. She returns to a kingdom on the brink of war. The boy she loves is gone, and she is forced to don the dress of the sun and assume the place of the emperor’s bride-to-be to keep the peace.
But the war raging around Maia is nothing compared to the battle within. Ever since she was touched by the demon Bandur, she has been changing . . . glancing in the mirror to see her own eyes glowing red, losing control of her magic, her body, her mind. It’s only a matter of time before Maia loses herself completely, but she will stop at nothing to find Edan, protect her family, and bring lasting peace to her country.
— Mini Review —
“But hope was a valuable weapon, and we were sharpening its every edge.”
I’m sooo excited to start this book and yes, I’m scared to start this because things are getting complicated and much more unpredictable. In this second book, the characters are growing inside of me and like finally, I found several malice characters I hate despite me being cool (yet slightly offended) in the first book.
To be honest, everything comes as a blur to me despite having finished this book days ago. It’s good, contains much more action and much more feelings but for me, Spin The Dawn wins my heart. The first book offers a mild ambience while this second book are much more darker, much more intrigue and politics but actually the issues just go revolves back and forth.
I usually love epic fantasy theme with the actual battles in it, but I do not know why I prefer Spin The Dawn rather than Unravel The Dusk. For me, Spin The Dawn creates deeper impression on me. However, the story is still as captivating as ever.
And I found this particular plot in the book is unique. Usually, the main characters takes it all but in this book, I can’t shake off the feeling that sometimes, the main character feels more like a second lead. Only for short moment though, since there are this one specific character that is more grandeur than the main herself (fun fact, I never really did like this character although I know many must love her.)
But overall, it’s an entertaining sequel for Spin The Dawn.
“Death did not frighten me as much as it once had.”
Talking about Mulan, we all know how empower and inspirational Mulan can be. And in this duology, not only they successfully transferring Mulan element to the story but they managed to keep them in check and make a proper development for the story.
This duology is practically screaming “women’s right” from the beginning until the end of the series. Spin The Dawn show the mild issue of how woman was prejudiced even if they possessed better talent than man, some are accepting the way it is but some are trying to fight for places although deep inside, there’s a small part of them that notice it won’t make much changes. But they’re willing to try.
In Unravel The Dusk, women’s empowerment is even thicker than ever and it was delivered so well. This topic is not bombarding the book, but it was told subtly inside this captivating story and that makes it beautiful and heartfelt.
This book implies magic. And it did include magic but again, it stays in the balance line of not being too overwhelm and not being too underwhelmed. Thinking about it now, this book is not about discovering magic because the magic was basically existed already and they didn’t show the process of how one managed possessed magic.
It’s all about living in a world that turns out to be magical. However, the magic is another favourite elements of mine. It was being written beautifully and being carried out dotingly.
Oh c’mon. We all know there MUST be romance in the book.
I’m not sure if it’s okay for me to say this (please do not take this as your guide to read the book. If you do wish to read the book, please carry on) but fun fact→ I never really ship the main character and her love interest. Maia and Edan. AT THE BEGINNING.
Because I never think they’ll be an item at first and their relationship flourished more like friendship rather than possible love interest. Halfway through and I finally realized like okay. So this is the couple. And keep going on reading without much care about them? I like their relationship a lot but I do not know why it does not appeal much to me.
I started to ship them when I nearly reach the end of Spin The Dawn. And I must admit Edan is one of the sweetest guy I’ve known in literature world. And together, they are just too sweet to be missed.
Spin The Dawn and Unravel The Dusk
If people are going to ask about my opinion on this book, I’m going to say I’m very satisfied with this duology and I am quite loving the books especially Spin The Dawn.
This duology made a strong impression that I won’t forget. I might forget how the story goes and the details that follow but I will not forget about the main character– Maia who loves tailoring so much and those three impossible gowns : the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars.